An open pit gold mine in the Oquirrh Mountains above Copperton has received final approval from the Salt Lake County Planning Commission, but BP Minerals America isn't expected to starting mining gold before next March.

The planning commission had given its preliminary approval to the request in June, but asked the company to come back to get a final OK for the project after obtaining environmental permits from the Utah Division of Environmental Health and the City-County Health Department.Even with those permits and approvals in place, BP Minerals must submit its development plans to those agencies for approval before it can begin mining, said Melvin Muir, hazardous waste specialist with the City-County Health Department's Bureau of Water Quality and Hazardous Waste.

The project, known as the Barney's Canyon Gold Mine, is expected to provide 200 jobs and an $8 million estimated annual payroll. Company officials have projected gold production to be 70,000 ounces annually, with expected annual tax payments of $2 million.

The mine will use a sodium cyanide leaching process to strip gold from crushed ore. BP Minerals must meet environmental standards, including monitoring to assure no contaminants escape into ground water, as a condition of mine operation.

The company is also required to environmentally reclaim the area with native vegetation once the mine completes its projected eight-year production life.