Dell Garner, a truck driver at Kennecott, said he was told there will not be layoffs but workers could be reassigned to other duties. "They said they would work us," he said.
Landslides are a condition of the mine, Garner said.
"We're always looking for trickling of rocks. There's constantly little slips falling. It's just a common thing that happens. But this is a huge, probably the largest of anything that's happened in the mine," he said.
Garner called the volume of Wednesday's landslide shocking.
"We expected it to come down to the bottom and stop there, and not come clear through the entire bottom," he said.
Garner expects it will take some time to dig out and get back to mining copper. "All of that is waste materials," he said. "It's not ore."
The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining issues a permit to Kennecott for its operations. Division spokesman Jim Springer said the slide occurred in the permitted area.
"They do a good job of watching for that sort of thing," he said.
Springer said the division won't be doing anything special as a result of the slide, such as sending inspectors in to assess the situation.
Kennecott is the second largest copper producer in the United States, supplying about a quarter of the country's copper, according to the company's website. Bingham Canyon Mine is the largest man-made excavation in the world.
Contributing: Devon Dolan, Geoff Liesik
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