Comments about ‘Amy Choate-Nielsen: In shadow of one of world's largest mines, Magna fights for its future’

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Published: Monday, Aug. 22 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

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Once again, mining is made out to be the bad guy in this phony David versus Goliath tale of a poor little town fighting for its future. Magna would not BE a town without the Bingham Mine it supports. Arguing that the mine needs to stop expanding, or even shut down, is tantamount to people moving next to airports and then complaining about airport noise. I can't also help but compare this article to the one on Eureka, a town fighting for its future against a government bureaucracy that wants to kill the town to save it.

Some would have us ban mining altogether, then we can all freeze in the dark. They have their priorities mixed up, because without mining we would be a poorer and dependent nation. This three part series should have been a single editorial where unsupported opinion and wild conjecture won't get confused for straight, serious news reporting.

Our economy is teetering on an abyss that will make the Bingham Pit pale in comparison; if we don't allow and encourage mineral exploration and extraction in UT and the USA, we will surely freeze in the dark. I support the Cornerstone Project.


What does this author have against mining? Yesterday it was about Eureka with an article filled with misinformation and now today about KCC. If it can't be grown, it must be mined!

Somewhere in Colorado, CO

When I was growing up, and had friends who lived in Magna...

When I drank the water in Magna, it tasted off and smelled like sewer water.


Nevermind that this mine provides thousands of families with jobs. If the mine didn't exist thousands of families would have a lot lower quality of life.
The reason this country is having such hard economic times is because the government and many misinformed/uneducated people are making it nearly impossible for productive people and companies to exist through excessive regulation.

Medical Lake, Washington

Its always a challenging dilemma. I know if it were me, I would be fighting against the evil "what-ever". But I also know what it means to struggle with employment, or the lack there of. This country is suffering in many ways, economically to be sure - we need to really give careful consideration before closing down yet another industry.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: juni4ling | 6:56 a.m. Aug. 23, 2011
"When I drank the water in Magna, it tasted off and smelled like sewer water"

The taste and smell of your drinking water had nothing to do with the operation of the Kennecott Copper Mine. It almost sounds like your domestic water system was cross connected with the sewer line. I guess that's where Crest toothpaste comes in handy.

Cindy W
Magna, UT

It's curious that the author of the article does not quote anyone from the Magna Town Council. Kennicot and the Town Council had NUMEROUS discussions on the issues raised. Did Mr. Norcross or Ms. Haggart attend any of them? If so why is this information not included in the article? This article raises more questions than it answers.

Oh and as a Magna resident (living just off of the ATK property) I can tell you that the Magna Water Company has made great strides in improving the drinkability of our water. I compared our last annual particulates study to the last one I got (from 4 years ago) in my old hometown in MN and the water here in Magna was cleaner than the water in MN. But that goes against the Valley lifers image of Magna and we can't challenge that now can we?

Saint Louis, MO

This typifies the difference between American and Chinese economic development. In China, this would not be an issue and decided by the central government. In America in most cases, the environmental issue is a front for socialistic control of industry. Phony clean-up issues are leading to more and more regulation in the lead-up to eventual takeover by the government. Just this week, there was an issue in Colorado in which two types of flowers on the endangered species list were keeping oil companies from drilling in certain areas. The argument then went to whether you have two species and not two types of flowers of the same species. The environmentalists were on one side and the oil companies on the other. You have two distinct views of the environment. One is a capitalist survival of the fittest mentality and the other is tending toward communism. There must be a middle of the road answer where companies have compassion for the environment and their workers. Multi-national companies have put a crimp in that compassion. In fact, China has a great deal of money and influence in most of them.

South Jordan, UT

True Magna water sinks or is stank a few years ago, but that is not because of the mine. Magna gets its water from other cities east of it. Water comes down from the wasatch mountains and ski resorts and travels west across the valley. By the time it gets to Magna it has been filtered through a bunch of different cities and it stinks. The mine has nothing to do with it.

Gilbert, AZ

Could neighborhoods that are adversly affected by the mine operations be bought up by Kennicot and torn down, creating a buffer between KC and the town?

Cedar Hills, UT

Complaining about the tailings pile in Magna is akin to when Novell and other companies purchased inexpensive land in East Bay, Provo, for their corporate offices, and then complained that the Kuhni's rendering plant that had been there for decades smelled bad, and had to be shut down.

Magna exists in large part because of Kennecott, and is affordable because it is right next to Kennecott. Even today, Kennecott and its suppliers continue to provide a good livelihood for many families in Magna and surrounding communities. Rio Tinto does an excellent job of protecting the environment and remediating the land that it disturbs, but mining is an inherently messy business...it is unrealistic to expect Rio Tinto to turn the Magna foothills into verdant forests and fields of wildflowers with cool brooks meandering through lush meadows.

And for those who are truly concerned about the environmental impacts of a copper mine, any guesses as to where the copper in the electric motors of your Prius or in the windmills at Point of the Mountain comes from?

Magna, UT

These comments and parts of this article tap into a bigger issue. Magna has a "perception" problem as a toxic wasteland, a social joke, and a governmental Bermuda Triangle.

The history of Magna is and always will be mining and extraction. Most of the inter-generational families here are descendants of miners, so the mining process is not the problem.

Its seems insensitive when a multi-national conglomerate like Rio Tinto uses its largess to sponsor development in Sandy, or builds an up-scale master community like Day Break in South Jordan (ironically touting its green environmental aspects, safety, and sense of community), while Magna which has historically borne the bulk of Kennecotts negative impacts, only gets a few Russian Olive trees, bigger tailings ponds, and declining property values.

Peter Coyotl
West Jordan, UT

Great series.

Often the interest of corporations (profit) goes against the interest of the nearby residents. Without a doubt, we need businesses to succeed so they can provide jobs for the residents of our community. We also need businesses to be responsible and proactive in mitigating the impact posed to our communities from any of their dangerous waste. Protecting the communities where they do business should always be included as a necessary cost of doing business, not an expense that should be avoided.

Reporting on the realities on the environmental consequences of having such a giant mining operation next to a growing major urban area is not anti-mining as some defensive posters suggest. Rather than become divisive, we should all share in the concern about businesses enacting safeguards to minimize the impact they have on the air we breath, the soil we plant on, and the water we drink. We are all impacted by it, no matter where one stands on the issue. It is not anti-mining to speak out about protecting the quality of our life and the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Salt Lake City, UT

Great reporting, Des News. Thanks for taking on big issues like this.

Salt Lake City, UT

I agree with many posters that Kennocott provides a lot to the community, but because of its size and proximity to not only Magna but the rest of SL county they need to do a better job environmentally.

The fact is if the community doesn't get involved stronger regulations will never get passed, and stronger regulations need to be passed. The mining industry has a long and storied history of being irresponsible and careless and it's up to the local communities to force legislation that makes the mine safer for all of SL county residents.

Kennocott shouldn't get a free pass because they create a lot of jobs and are worth billions of dollars.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: byronbca | 9:32 a.m. Aug. 23, 2011
"they need to do a better job environmentally"

I can give you examples of the hundreds of millions of dollars they've invested in making their operations more environmentally friendly. Could you give us some examples of what they 'need' to better?

I'd rather live in Magna than the showcase of liberal thinking ..... Detroit.

Saint George, UT

This Company Is Not American Owned.
Therefore they can do what ever they want.
They will get a free ride Tax wise,there can hire seasonal workers and not have to pay Over Time or benifits.

Silly Rabbit
Small Town, USA, UT

Ridgely well said, you covered everything I wanted to say..........

West Valley, UT

The environmentalists would put this nation out of business if they could.

A fine example, there are billions of barrels of oil waiting to be tapped up in Alaska, but we can't drill for it because it would "damage the environment".

What the environmentalists have failed to realize is that if this nation goes belly up because we have no jobs and must pay to import everything from nations who care less about their environment *(and we're really close to that point now)* there isn't going to be any entity around to protect said environment at all.

Protect places that are worth protecting, sure, but development and growth of industries obtaining natural resources MUST continue in order for this country to have a future.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Dustyredcliffs | 9:59 a.m. Aug. 23, 2011

Kennecott Copper has agreements with four unions: The United Steelworkers of America, International Union of Operating Engineers, International Association of Machinists and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Those workers get the appropriate overtime wages and benefits.

They pay taxes just like everybody else, and prior to it's demise they paid the hated police protection fee.

Can you site the sources for the claims you are making?

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