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Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Mine has temporarily shut down part of its operation after sensors detected movement in the ground.
Sensors picked up movement in the southwest corner of the open-pit mine about 9 a.m. Tuesday, said company spokesman Kyle Bennett. As a precaution, Kennecott shut down its operations in the lower part of the mine, which is located in the Oquirrh Mountains, until it is "confident that it's safe," Bennett said.
Bennett could not say how long the closure would last.
Bennett noted that movement is "infrequent, but not uncommon" in open-pit mines. At the Bingham Canyon Mine, the southwest corner is more prone to movement at this time of year, as the winter snows begin to melt, he added.
A massive landslide rocked the century-old mine on April 10, 2013, when more than 165 million tons of earth tumbled from the northeastern section and sloughed to the mine floor, six-tenths of a mile down. The landslide was so big, it triggered 16 small earthquakes, according to a study by University of Utah scientists.
At the time, landslide experts said the avalanche had all the signs of being North America's biggest one to date, not counting slides that happened before records were kept or those tied to volcanoes.