Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kennacott Utah Copper Mine

Yesterday was my BIG day. I was finally going to see what the big was about "that" copper mine I have driven past all my life! I got my steel-toed boots and hard hat ready, but then Kat burst my bubble by telling me we didn't actually get to do any mining on her field trip. Blast!!!

When I was about 5, we moved to Rexburg, Idaho. For holidays, we would drive from Rexburg to Provo to see our Grandmas and Grandpas. Well, back then, before people started traveling 80-90 MPH, it took about 21 hours to make that trip. The only highlight for me would be to drive past the copper mine. Not only did I dream about getting a lot of pennies from it, but it also signalled that we were almost to Grandma's house.
Boy, was I sad to learn yesterday that they don't actually take pennies out of the ground. But, it was all pretty darn amazing. Sadly, I think I was the only one out of 65 students and 8 adults, to be having a great time.

Look, they welomed, ME, personally!!! The copper mine has been around since the 1800's.

You can see Kennacott from space. Isn't that mind-blowing?

Ok, I must admit, I didn't realize that Kennacott was an "open" mine. Since I lived in Price, Utah growing up, I assumed all mining was done undergrown! Kennacott is 2.5 miles across at the top and .75 miles deep, and going deeper.

If you stretched out all the roads in the open pit mine, you'd have 500 miles of roadway - enough to reach from Salt Lake City to Denver.

Humongous trucks, 255 to 360 ton, haul the ore out of the mine. If you look closely it the picture above, you can see the huge trucks, being followed by a "normal" vehicle. Each wheel on the mammoth trucks cost $18,000-26,000 and only last 9 months. Below is a picture of one of the tires with a 4th grader standing beside it.

I must admit, I had a great time, but the kiddos were bored. I asked them if they would have rather been back at school doing work and they all resonded, "YES." Go figure!!!