Just some comments on the pictures in the post below. The Kennecott Copper Mine is, by far the biggest open pit mine in the world. The site that is now a hole in the ground is almost 3 miles across. When they started mining this site instead of there being a hole that now exists there use to be a mountain. The Mormons who settled these parts knew there were minerals there as early as 1849, just after they settled the Salt Lake Valley. They chose not to start mining because the limited manpower available in the newly settled valley. They wanted the available manpower focused on growing food (a major source of cash here in the “crossroads of the West.) Additionally, the manpower needed to focus on building the infrastructure here in this new settlement.
In around 1905 they started to under ground mine this site. It was marginally successful. One of the local mining engineers came up with the idea of open pit mining this site. Most though it was going to be a failure. The problem is that the vein of very rich ore is probably only 1/2 mile across. (A great simplification.) They had to mine out a larger and larger hole to keep the sides of the mine hole from caving in.
Through inventions, equipment was developed to permit open pit mining to be successful. Open the first picture that Suzie has below. Look for the shelf with a lot of equipment on it. Click again on the picture to zoom in.
You can see as steam (actually electric) shovel loading a massive truck. The shovel can pick up 98 tons of ore with each scoop. The massive truck that it is loading can carry over 300 tons of ore. That a lot. The whole valley was littered with these massive trucks crawling at 15 miles per hour moving ore from this area of the mine. Look for these tiny looking trucks in many of the pictures. The only reason that these trucks are not any bigger than the mere 320 ton capacity is because they could not be able to transport the truck parts, tires, etc. by rail if the truck was any bigger.
On the same ledge as the big shovels (there are two visible) there are also one or two rigs that look like well drillers. These drills dig a row of 55 holes. In each hole 1000 pounds of a dnynamite. The blow up the dynamite and this breaks teh
This mine site is one of the biggest things that man has ever done. The great wall of China is certainly longer, but not more massive. It was a very efficient operation. The mine certainly didn’t spend a great deal on the visitor center. A very efficient operation.