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South Valley Riverton Journal

$100 Million Mine Beautification

Aug 04, 2015 10:22AM ● By Bryan Scott

Rio Tinto

By Lewi Lewis 

South Valley - Rio Tinto Kennecott has begun a beatification process called “The Alternative View Construction Project,” a facelift of the Bingham Canyon Mine, enhancing the aesthetics of areas visible from nearly everywhere in the Salt Lake Valley and will provide “optionality for mine-life extension.” 

“This work will be similar to other large-scale construction projects seen across the valley each year,” Kennecott environmental engineer Zeb Kenyon said. 

More than a century of mining has taken place on Salt Lake Valley’s west side, the Oquirrh Mountains; the main pit has produced such an amount of valuable metal, it has been known as the ‘richest hole on earth,’ as well as one of the largest manmade ones. Mining has taken its toll on the mountainside.  

 “While this work will be more visible compared to what we do inside the mine, we are committed to minimizing impacts and maintaining all regulatory compliance,” Kenyon said. 

The Alternative View Construction Project is occurring on the south and east facing waste rock piles, a long-term improvement in the “appearance and performance of the waste rock piles and associated storm water management systems” by enhancing surface and ground water infrastructure. 

The material will be regraded at a slope, allowing for the regrowth of vegetation on the surface, Senior advisor of communications Kyle Bennett said in a recent press release.

Reclamation of the freshly placed material will supposedly create long-term benefits by improving the aesthetics of the base of the valley-facing west rock piles. The project also “provides optionality for mine-life extension work that could take the operation through 2029 and enable further reclamation of the historic waste rock piles.”

 “I’m privileged to be a part of this project because of the potential it affords for future reclamation and the optionality it provides to help us extend the life of the mine,” said Kennecott project manager Michael Piercy. “The investment in this project underscores the great potential that exists in this operation.”