Utah State Mineral - Copper
Utah's State Mineral, copper, was enacted by the Utah State Legislature in 1994 (Utah Code). It is versatile and widely used due mainly to its conductive properties (heat and electricity). It is used in electronics, plumbing, transportation, and in alloys (a mixture of two or more metals). Most of the copper mined in Utah comes from Kennecott Utah Copper's Bingham Canyon mine in the Oquirrh Mountains on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. The Bingham Canyon mine is the one of the world's largest open-pit copper mine, measuring 0.5 miles deep and 2.5 miles wide. For perspective, one of the world's tallest buildings, the Sears Tower, is 1,454 feet tall and would reach only half way up the side of the pit. the mine has produced 12 million tons of copper since open-pit operations began in 1906. This production figure is eight times the total metallic mineral yield from the Comstock Lode, Klondike, and California Gold Rushes combined. The Bingham Canyon mine is an important contributor to Utah's economy.
The photo above is an air view of the Kennecott Copper Corp pit. The above information came from the Department of Natural Resources, Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.
- Copper Mining (Utah History Encyclopedia)
- Copper Mining Publications (Utah Government Digital Library)
- Copper Mining, The King of the Oquirrh Mountains (Utah History to Go)
- Utah's State Symbols - Copper (Utah Geological Survey)
Learn more about Copper
- Copper (Mindat.org)
- Copper Mineral Data (Mineralogy Database)
- Native Copper (Amethyst Galleries' Mineral Gallery)