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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Last Stand
Farmington, UT

"don't drink that water in Magna. You'll be sorry. We've got bottled water and it's costing us a fortune"

I have bottled water in my house. Have for 10 years. I buy it in the reusable 5 gallon bottles. Costs me less than $10 per month for my family of 5. How much do you want to bet that this Magna resident spends 10 times that amount on McDonalds every month?

Salt Lake City, UT

Re rifleman:

It's estimated that Kennocott is responsible for up to 25% of SL county's emissions, that's way too high and they can and should do better than that. It's been documented and menioned in this article that their tailings ponds are seismically unstable. If those ponds were to fail in a major earthquake that could be catastrophic to Salt Lake and kill hundreds of people, they need to fix that.

There are many more things that Kennocott could do better and they need to start doing them. I'm not suggesting that they shut down, I just want them to be more responsible for their actions and be a better neighbor. They have done a lot yes, but because they are located right next to a major metropolitan area they need to have higher standards they need to do more.

Provo, UT

I actually owe my life to Kennecott- one of my parents grew up in McGill Nevada, a true company town if there ever was one. That mine closed down, decimating the economy, which still has not recovered. We live in the West, and mining is integral to it's history and who we are. The mines usually were here first, and just like the Kuhni situation, moving into an area with an already existing facility and then complaining about that facility is just plain bad manners, to be nice. It's like living in Vegas and wanting to get rid of the casinos because they offend you.


This is not an anti-mining or even an anti-Kenecott article. There is nothing said about shutting anything down or jobs going away. This is about being responsible and taking care of the community you rely on to do business in. This is about not making already not so good things worse. There are other options. Many mines ship their tailings to safe locations away from populations. Many use rail systems. Will it cost more money? Maybe, but isn't the health and safety of the community worth it?
As far as the comment about going to Magna council meetings........isn't it just a plain conflict of interest that the operating costs of the council or councils are paid for by Kenecott?


Many residents in Magna are relatively new. Most of these people had no clue what they were living next to, in regards to the tailings pond. They just think its something that belonged there narurally. No idea what is held inside and the possible dangers. They need to know the risks and then they can decide whats okay with them. Good article, very informative and highly accurate. Nice Job Amy!


How long has Kennecott been there mining copper? Over 100 years. If you buy a house in Magna, you have to be aware that it is a copper mine, will be a copper mine as long as it is productive and there are certain risks living that close to any kind of mining operation. It is one of those "Let the Buyer Beware" things.

Federal Way, WA

The big thing I felt was missing in the article was where are the comments from the others that live in the city of Magna. Why focus on just this one family that's complaining? Where are the others with their statements? And I was thinking, if these families just don't like it, why are they living there in the first place knowing the mine is next door? Regulations are necessary for economy/environmental balance and I think in this case, Kennecott has gone and done more as they can for the community to doing the right thing as best as possible and economically possible. Like some say, if some environmentalists had their way, our cities would all be decimated economy wise. And for what purpose accomplished? The Zero-Defects facade has damaged many good companies and continues to do so. Accept the balances and if you can't, don't move in that area. Pretty good article, but it leaves a lot of things out that would have answered questions I had such as what are others saying?


The mine is actually not in Magna.....and relatively, not even close. Its the tailings pond that is in Magna. Yes, buyer beware. Pretty sure though that home builders aren't going to tell potential buyers...'you are right next to a tailings pond that could breach and drowned you in tailings or leak into the ground water...oh yeah you could possibly be breathing tailings dust too.' People really just dont know....and for the record, there were people and homes in Magna BEFORE the tailings pond as it exists today.

Reasonable Person
Layton, UT

Many homes were sold in Magna, and that big "mountain" was not divulged to be tailings.

It was through the hard work of activists that Kenndcott started ameliorating the tailings dust that blew through Magna and other parts of the valley.

WHY is it too much, to ask that the company behind "green building" Daybreak treat Magna residents with equal respect?


I have lived in Magna since 1996.In fact I live near 8800 W and 3500 S, which is pretty close to Kennecotts gates and smoke stacks.I don't know what Mr. Norcross and Ms. Haggart are going on about, but I do not feel threatened in anyway by Kennecott or it's mining processes. I have seen great improvements out here since we have lived here and I have seen Kennecott's dedication to taking care of the environment. The water tastes fine and the air smells and looks great. As a decendent of miners and the Bingham's, I am proud to live in a mining community. I don't know why people can't enjoy what makes this communnity great.


Magmom.........ask someone what it was like in 1986....then guarantee me, we have to live through that again.Convince me how piling more tailings on the Magna corner of the tailings pond, which to this day is not considered seismically safe, a good idea??

Bountiful, UT

Solution? Move!

Roberts, ID

I have only one question for Mr Norcross. Why don't you move? Is there a law that prevents him from moving? We already have too many naysayers who scream about the harvesting of natural resources. We can't mine here or there or we can't drill for oil anywhere for fear of what this process will do to our environment. These are the same people that complain about the price of gas and other things that need these resources to make our lives better and more convenient.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: sbn70 | 12:36 p.m. Aug. 23, 2011
"Many residents in Magna are relatively new."

Reminds me of the people that move next to an existing airport and then complain about the noise.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Some of the above posters would have been wonderful slaves and serfs.
Gladly giving their fist born or whatever the King asked of them because after
all they wouldn't have a job without their Lords grace.

Asking someone to be responsible for the harm they do is NOT limited to individuals and citizens but your gloried Corporations too.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

The most toxic lake in the world
Its not really a lake, its more like an artificial lake. In fact, its the Berkeley Pit, a former open pit copper mine located in Butte, Montana, USA. It is filled to a depth of about 900 feet (270 m) with water that is heavily acidic. The pit is laden with heavy metals and dangerous chemicals, including arsenic, cadmium, zinc, and sulfuric acid. When the pit was closed, the water pumps at the bottom were removed, and groundwater from the surrounding aquifers began to slowly fill the pit. Since the pit closure in 1982, the level has risen to within 150 feet of the natural groundwater level.
In 1995, a large flock of migrating snow geese landed in the Berkeley Pit water and died, with 342 carcasses recovered.

Kennecotts way bigger...

Forbes: America's 10 Most Toxic Cities

9. Salt Lake City, Utah
Number of unhealthy air quality days (2009): 15
Pounds of on-site toxic releases reported: 130.4 million
EWG top water concern: Total haloacetic acids

We can do better, with Mike Lee and Energy Solutions we should be able to be the MOST Toxic.

Cindy W
Magna, UT

Lilljemalm - there is a buffer between the town proper and the tailings pond. It's called Highway 201. While the article did not state where Ms. Haggart lived, Mr. Norcross lives quite away out of the town proper. The vast majority of the town proper is south of the tailings pond (and with the exception of old downtown mostly up hill as well) and Mr. Norcross' property is north and east of the pond.

Go Big Blue!!!
Bountiful, UT

I always wonder about complaints from people that chose to live by something like an airport, mine, refinery and then complain about said airport, mine refinery etc.


First of all, Magna's drinking water is not an issue, it's perfectly fine. Everyone complains about it because it tends to be more "thick" in other words, hard water due to higher amounts of calcium. The issue relating to Kennecott is having the tailings leach into well water, which locals use for watering gardens, plants, etc. The tailings pond contains high levels of lead, arsenic, selenium and other inorganic compounds which are hazardous at high levels and should not be ingested.

This article is not anti-Kennecott. It is known that they do a lot for the community. One of the issues is, they are looking to start using the tailings pond closest to Magna again. I have personally been told by them that it is seismically unstable and that is why they have been working on its restoration, but now that copper prices are back up and they need that space they are just that easily going to reopen it? They know it is an issue and will cover miles of land with tailings if it were to fail. By the way, a large fault line runs right through that area.


"...worries about the air she breathes and the water she refuses to drink. She sees pieces of ash on the ground when the stacks are running, and once, last summer, she could hardly breathe from the smoke inside her home."

I also live in the same exact neighborhood, and I remember the one single day last summer where the stacks released smoke and steam for all of seven minutes. It was gone in ten. On the ground it was barely visible or noticeable.

As for the pieces of ash on the ground, that isn't from the stacks. That is from the backyard fires we here in Magna lite all summer long.

As for the water? The water in Magna is some of the cleanest in the country due to a new processing facility.

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