4 June 2021
The 31 May 2021 landslide at the Bingham Canyon mine
At 9 am local time on 31 May 2021 a large landslide occurred at the Rio Tinto Kennecott mine at Bingham Canyon in Utah, USA. This site is famous for one of the largest mining induced landslides ever recorded, and indeed one of the largest recent landslides in North America, in April 2013. Fortunately this landslide is on a far smaller scale.
Once again, geotechnical monitoring at the site identified the instability prior to the failure, allowing the operators to ensure that no-one was at risk.
Fox 13 has posted a pair of images of the landslide:-
I also managed to download a pair of Planet Labs images of the site, before and after the failure – these should be visible used the slider below:
The image on the left was collected on 28 May 2021 and the one on the right on 31 May 2021. South is towards the top of the images.
The images suggest that the main part of the landslide, on the right side in the slide in the pictures, was a wedge failure that appears to be quite deep-seated. There is a smaller wedge on the left side too.
In its statement to the NASDAQ, the operator of the Bingham Canyon mine has confirmed that operations continue to be unaffected by the landslide.
The mining industry is the most advanced industry in terms of geotechnical monitoring of slope deformation and failure prediction. Once again this event appears to have been a successful application of those technologies.
Planet Team (2021). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. https://www.planet.com/