The Bingham Canyon Mine was the first open-pit copper mine in the world. Initiated in 1904, it remained the most productive of all the low-grade copper mines which soon appeared. Today it still yields about 14 percent of all U.S. copper production.
Bingham Canyon flourished as a scene of gold and silver mining from 1863 to 1893, In 1887 Colonel Enos A. Wall discovered and filed claim to the vast deposit of low-grade copper ore that was later to become the open pit mine. With the gold and silver mining still highly profitable, Wall’s efforts to finance a copper mining operation were unsuccessful, and in 1903 he sold the property on option to a group of investors who had become interested in the prospect through the efforts of Daniel C. Jackling, Jackling had previously investigated the property and has generally been credited with initiating and promoting the concepts for mining and processing the relatively “low grade” copper ore deposits that has since resulted in open pit copper mines being developed throughout the world. In 1903 the Utah Copper Company was organized and in 1904 completed the Copperton Mill.
From 1904 through 1982 the mine has yielded 1,585,936,689 tons of ore, from which 24,696,043,506 pounds of copper were, extracted. The immense output of this mine lifted Utah from the ranks of the minor copper-producing states in 1902 to fourth place in the nation by 1919.
- The mine is listed as a National Historic Landmark
- It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (#66000736) on November 13, 1966.
The Bingham Canyon Mine (open pit copper) is terraced into approximate 50′ levels with ramp access between levels. More terraces are added as the mine deepens. In 1983, the mine was more than 2.3 miles wide and a half mile deep, Waste dumps formed from the removal of over burden can be seen from Salt Lake City. Ore is removed from the mine by railroad cars whi.ch exit through one of three tunnels or from the edge of the pit. A visitor observation point provides a comprehensive view of the pit.
The boundary line is a rectangle that encompasses the mine pit and it’s interior. The perimeter of the mine pit is relatively fixed for the next 10 years.