Employees back at work after evacuation at Bingham Canyon Mine

Posted at 6:27 PM, Apr 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-06 20:28:31-04

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah -- Workers were able to go back inside the southwest part of Rio Tinto Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Mine Wednesday after an expansion in a wall there led to debris falling late Tuesday night.

No one was hurt in the incident, which began Tuesday morning when the mine's radar sensors picked up on movement from within a wall.

The company evacuated that area to protect the workers. Then, around 10 p.m. and again at midnight, debris fell. The total amounts to about 50,000 tons.

Kennecott spokesperson Kyle Bennett said they did not have to even clean that up because it was a small amount compared to 2013 when a landslide caused 165 million tons of debris to fall.

Tuesday's debris was entirely caught in the walls' catchment basin. No one was inside because it had been evacuated earlier.

"Movement in an open pit mine is infrequent but not necessarily uncommon, which is why we have a number of sophisticated systems," Bennett said. "That's why we have up to 800 trained eyes on the walls at any given time. And if they see anything that is of concern, they can let us know."

Bennett also said Kennecott re-opened the road they had shut off access to Tuesday morning.

The mine is running normally again. He also said in a few weeks they will be using drones for the first time to fly over the mine in order to collect more data from the walls.