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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Kennecott hopes project will change mountain color to green

By Alex Cabrero, Deseret News

Published: Sun, Aug. 31 1:29 p.m. MDT

 Some homeowners are concerned about a project on the Kennecott Copper Mine. They are concerned about the dust, noise and lights from trucks working on a reclamation project. Kennecott officials think most people won't notice the project until it is done in a few years.

Some homeowners are concerned about a project on the Kennecott Copper Mine. They are concerned about the dust, noise and lights from trucks working on a reclamation project. Kennecott officials think most people won't notice the project until it is done in a few years.

(Mike DeBernardo, Deseret News)

BINGHAM CANYON — The familiar yellow-brown color in the Oquirrh Mountains where Kennecott has been mining for decades will look more green in a few years.

Recently, a gray color has begun to appear near the base of the south side of the mine, where Kennecott Utah Copper dump trucks have been dumping rocks into a big pile.

“This is one of the bigger reclamation projects we’ve taken on over the past couple of years,” said Thiess Lindsay, principal adviser for land quality at Kennecott Utah Copper.

The plan is to build four large water catch basins in drainage areas, so that when heavy rainstorms come through, the water doesn't flow from the waste piles onto public roads and property.

“The material is all coming from the mine up above, and it will be hauled down on the road and all the truck activity will be up on Kennecott property,” said Chris Kaiser, Kennecott’s environmental manager.

Some residents who live closest to the project are concerned. Bill Coon, who lives in High Country Estates, an area west of Herriman, worries that the combination of dust, noise and lights coming from the trucks at night is going to be a three-year nightmare.

“I don’t know how they will do it, but they really need to control the dust during a dump; and how they do that, I have no idea,” Coon said.

Kaiser said Kennecott has a plan.

“We’ll have a water truck and a fugitive dust control plan to make sure the dust is controlled and the offsite neighbors aren’t impacted by that,” he said.

In fact, Kennecott officials think most people won't even notice the project happening until it's done and that brown color turns into green because of the trees and vegetation.

“In the long term, I think people will look back and be glad we did this,” Kaiser said.

The project begins next month.

Email: acabrero@deseretnews.com

Recommended
1. samhill
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 29, 2014

“'In the long term, I think people will look back and be glad we did this,; Kaiser said.”
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I certainly **hope** that is the idea. Much better than people looking back and wishing for the good'ol brown and dusty hills.

2. Laurels
Sandy, UT,
Aug. 30, 2014

I look at the Kennecott pit from my home in Sandy and have wondered how many years it will take for the Oquirrh Mountains to totally disappear. At least there are plans to leave the hills that are left green.

3. One opinion
west jordan, UT,
Aug. 30, 2014

I am so happy to hear a reclamation project will occur. I know that it can be done in an efficient manner so the dust is kept down and the mountains are somewhat restored. It is something that certainly needs to be addressed. It has always made me wonder where the naturalists were as the mountains were being destroyed. I don't think I ever saw a demonstration take place by the Sierra Club or the like. Each time I see another spot being decimated on the west mountains it makes me upset. The destruction is moving further north on the mountain now. The poor lovely mountains that used to be green and pleasant are so brown and ugly now and I hope this project works out very well!

4. Catherine Gardner
Hartlepool, 00,
Aug. 30, 2014

I visited my sister in Utah last August after being away for 16 years. I was so disappointed and appalled at the state of the Rockies in Utah. Are you demolishing them one by one? Kennecott was by far the most disgraceful sight! It reminded me of an old mining village in Wales where they had let the slag heaps pile up. It is indeed a very ugly sight. There was another one further down South which was being destroyed to either make bricks or provide cement for building I cant remember which one it was. Please stop destroying the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

5. Howard Beal
Provo, UT,
Aug. 30, 2014

A lipstick on a pig...