A landslide at one of the Rio Tinto's largest copper mines in the US has extended further into the pit and caused greater than expected damage to equipment, resulting in a temporary shutdown of operations at the site.
The landslide, which occurred at Bingham Canyon Mine on April 10, has left debris extending from the top of the mine to its floor, causing huge damage to equipment, reports Reuters
Rio's subsidiary Kennecott Utah Copper, which operates the mine, said in a statement that all employees were safe and accounted for and have been evacuated from the mine location.
According to initial reports from Kennecott, a movement was identified within the mine by company experts who took immediate actions before the occurrence of the slide, reducing the impact of the incident.
The mine's north-east wall has slipped over a millimetre every day, which increased to up to 5cm per day on the day of the landslide.
Following the landslide, the Mine Safety and Health Administration ordered the company to stop work until further notice and has blocked entry to the mine.
Kennecott's officials said in an emailed statement that the company does not have information regarding the magnitude or impact of the slide, reported Reuters.
The company is awaiting federal approval to send experts inside an open-pit copper mine to evaluate the damage caused by the massive landslide.
Bingham Canyon Mine is an open-pit mining operation extracting a large porphyry copper deposit south-west of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the Oquirrh Mountains.
It has been in operation since 1906 and has a pit over 0.97km deep, 4km wide and covering 770ha.
In June 2013, Rio Tinto announced its plans to invest $660m over the next seven years to extend the life of this mine to 2029 from the present 2018.
Image: Bingham Canyon Mine is an open-pit mining operation extracting a large porphyry copper deposit south-west of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the Oquirrh Mountains.