Utah - Bingham Canyon Mine

State: Utah
Region: Salt Lake City, Oquirrh Mountains
Description: Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Mine is situated directly east of the Great Salt Lake in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The largest open pit mine in North America, Bingham has supplied more than 6 billion tons of rock yielding copper, gold, silver and molybdenum and not surprisingly, a tremendous amount of pollution. This one mine pollutes more ground water than any other mining company.

 

The Great Salt Lake is one of the most significant migratory habitats in the Western Hemisphere. The Bingham Mine is located within a couple of miles of the lake and has resulted in extreme damage to fish, bird and wildlife habitat, not to mention public health and safety risks. The federal government took action against Kennecott in 2008 for the release of hazardous and toxic substances including selenium and arsenic, both extremely harmful to aquatic life, wildlife and humans. The extensive groundwater pollution has rendered water undrinkable to thousands of Salt Lake City’s residents. The settlement agreement provided for Kennecott and the state to redirect all water contamination disposal into the Great Salt Lake.  Kennecott is now pumping highly toxic water and contamination flows directly into the Great Salt Lake.

Kennecott is seeking to expand the mine under the 1872 mining law; into recreational hiking areas, and into wildlife habitat, without resolving the current problems it is creating. An 8,000-foot mountain has been mined into what is now a 2 ½ mile wide giant hole in the ground.  When will our laws be reformed?

 


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