To Move A Mountain
Trucks At Bingham
Index For This Page
This page last updated on March 5, 2022.
(This is a work in progress; research continues -- these timelines focus on the companies and specific models of trucks used by Kennecott at Bingham.)
First use of trucks at Bingham mine
September 9, 1958
Kennecott awarded a contract to Western Contracting of Sioux City, Iowa, for the removal of 8 million cubic yards of overburden waste rock on the upper levels of the Bingham mine. The work was to start in mid October and be completed in about one year. An additional 17 million tons of waste rock was to be moved by Kennecott itself as part of its normal operations during the coming year. (Deseret News, September 9, 1958; Salt Lake Tribune, September 9, 1958)
Kennecott Copper contracted with Western Contracting Corporation of Sioux City, Iowa to begin stripping waste material from the uppermost levels on the east side of the Bingham mine, on the 'V' Level and above. The contractor had one Marion Model 191-M electric shovel at work filling a fleet of Euclid 50-ton rigid-frame rear-dump diesel trucks. A second Marion 191-M was due to arrive by December 1958. The ratio of waste being moved annually, compared to ore being mined was reported as being 2.2 to 1, or approximately 60 million tons of waste compared to approximately 30 million tons of ore. (Kennescope, November 1958, page 19)
December 7, 1958
Western Contracting, as part of its overburden removal contract with Kennecott, brought what was called the World's Largest Truck to the Bingham mine. The truck arrived in Utah on three railroad flat cars, and was to be assembled and ready for service by Christmas 1958. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 7, 1958)
The following comes from the February 1959 issue of Utah Oil company's Utoco Torch magazine.
A real giant, comparable to something out of a Paul Bunyan tale, is hard at work hauling 100 cubic yards of earth at Kennecott's huge Bingham open pit copper mine. It is the world's largest truck and is owned by Western Contracting Corporation. Western's head offices are in Sioux City, Iowa. They have the contract for stripping 8,000,000 yards of waste overburden from upper levels on the east and west sides of Kennecott's Bingham mine. The operation will take ten months to complete.
This is the second project the truck has been used on since Western's treasurer and equipment manager, Hubert Everist, Jr. created it. It was first introduced to the public last year at the Oahe Dam project near Pierre, South Dakota. The truck arrived in Utah on three railroad flatcars, which should give the reader an idea of its size. A few statistics might help. It has two supercharged 375 horsepower engines, giving it a total of 750 horsepower. It will carry a net payload of 165 tons, rolling along smoothly on its 18 "man-high" wheels. The huge truck stands 14 feet high, is 15-1/2 feet wide and 55 feet long. When the dump bed is raised, the top rears 45 feet in the air, as high as a four-story building.
To lift the immense steel bed with its enormous load of rock, a special hydraulic hoist mechanism is used. It is so powerful that the entire truck bed can be emptied in 15 to 18 seconds. Its empty weight is 78-1/2 tons; its designed total weight load is 199-1/2 tons; and its top speed is 35 m.p.h. At the present time the truck is moving 2,000 tons of rock per hour with the aid of a 13-yard 191-M shovel.
To keep the project going at full speed, Western has 120 employees working two shifts. The operation, directed by project manager Tom Speight, has been divided into two separate units, each with an independent complement of equipment built around a 50-R drill and a 191-M shovel. Supporting the giant truck and the two Marion 191-M electric shovels with their 13-yard dippers are two 50-R Bucyrus-Erie rotary drills; thirty 32-yard, 50-ton Euclid trucks; five Cat D9 bulldozers and five T-700 Galion motor patrols, plus other auxiliary equipment.
January 10, 1960
Kennecott announced an additional contract to Western Contracting for the removal of an additional 4 million cubic yards of overburden waste rock from the Bingham mine's west side. The previous contract in September 1958 was for the removal of 8 million cubic yards from the upper levels of the east side of the mine. (Provo Daily Herald, January 10, 1960; Bingham Bulletin, January 15, 1960)
April 30, 1961
Western Contracting had completed the removal of the initial 8 million yards of waste from the upper levels of the east side, and was preparing to move the trucks and shovels to begin removal of the added 4 million yards of waste material on the mine's west side. The equipment being moved included the fleet of 50-ton trucks, the special "World's Largest Truck" 150-ton truck, and the two Marion 191-M shovels with their 13-yard dippers that Western had designed and fabricated for its own use. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 30, 1961)
September 8, 1961
Kennecott announced an additional contract to Western Contracting to remove 6 million yards of overburden waste material from the Bingham mine's east side, and 6 million yards of waste material from the mine's west side. The previous contract for the removal of 8 million yards from the east side, and 4 million yards from the west side, was almost complete. The new contract for the removal of an additional 12 million tons was to be completed in about 14 months, or about November 1962. Each of the smaller trucks held 32 cubic yards (about 50 tons), and the larger single truck held 80 cubic yards and about 150 tons. Kennecott reported that during 1961 it had removed 73 million tons of waste material at the mine, with 21 million tons of that total having been moved by the trucks of Western Contracting. Kennecott stated that it was not practical to use its railroad system to remove the large amounts of overburden from the upper levels of the mine, and that the use of trucks had been found to much quicker and more cost effective. (Bingham Bulletin, September 8, 1961; Salt Lake Tribune, December 16, 1962)
February 23, 1963
Kennecott announced a $100 Million expansion project, to be completed by early 1967. The Kennecott board of directors had approved the expansion program on February 15, 1963. (Kennescope, March-April 1963, page 3)
- Ore production to increase from 90,000 tons per day to 108,000 tons per day
- Truck haulage to replace rail haulage in the upper two-thirds of the mine
- The top levels were to be converted to truck haulage beginning in September 1963, progressing level-by-level through 1966 down to the 'A' (6340) Level.
- Western Contracting Corporation had been contracted to remove 8.7 million cubic yards of waste material at two notches or cuts at the 6800 (Yosemite Gulch) and 7000 (Castro Gulch) levels on the upper southeast side of the mine to allow access to future waste dumping grounds.
Truck haulage began in upper levels of mine, with removal of rails as truck haulage progressed. (Kennecott Historical Index)
"In the fall of 1963, a program was begun to increase production from 90,000 tons of ore per day, to 108,000 tons per day. because of the limitations of rail haulage, along with advances in truck technology, truck haulage will replace rail haulage for waste removal in upper levels of the mine."
A new truck maintenance shop was completed at the head of Yosemite Gulch, above Lark. (Kennescope, July-August 1966, page 4)
A total of 79 haulage trucks were in use at Bingham, including Dart and Haulpak 65-ton models, Lectrahaul 85-ton trucks, and Dart 110-ton tractor-trailer trucks. All rail and electrification on the east side of the pit had been removed down to the 'E' Level at 6536 feet elevation. On the west side, rail and electrification for waste removal had been removed, with the remaining ore haulage being done with trucks, which moved the ore down a new haulage road in Carr Fork to where shovels could reload the ore into rail cars. (Kennescope, March-April 1965)
By July 1966 the haulage truck fleet had grown to 80 trucks, including sixty-six 65-ton trucks, five 85-ton trucks, and eight 110-ton dump trailer models, along with a new experimental 80-ton model. (Kennescope, July-August 1966, page 4)
1967- Kennecott Copper, Chino Mine
In 1967 Kennecott Copper Corporation at Chino, New Mexico, conducted the first feasibility study and prototype test of trolley-assisted large mining trucks. The truck used was a Unit Rig Model M-100 with a 700 hp diesel engine, General Electric motorized wheels, and 24.00x49 tires. The testing indicated that the truck, carrying a payload of 123 tons up a 1,300 ft ramp at 7 percent incline, was able to increase its maximum speed from 6 mph to 13.5 mph by using trolley assist. The maximum voltage that could be maintained was only 634 volts and it was reasoned that a higher speed would have resulted if a higher trolley line voltage could have been supplied. (Truck Haulage Using Overhead Electrical Power to Conserve Diesel Fuel and Improve Haulage Economics (February 1981), by David M. Lake & William Brzezniak, General Electric Company. Presented at the 110th AIME Annual Meeting)
As part of an effort for the approval to increase production of waste rock and metal ore at the Bingham Canyon mine, from 150 million tons per year to 197 million tons per year, it was mentioned that there were 61 trucks operating at the mine. The trucks in service were having their engines replaced by cleaner engines, and their dump beds upgraded from 240 tons to 255 tons. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 15, 1999; Deseret News, June 27, 1999)
Kennecott began testing Caterpillar's newest 400-ton capacity mine truck. The new truck, numbered as number 310, and used only to haul waste rock, was the first of a pair that would be tested at Bingham Canyon, and one of 18 that would be tested at various locations around the world. Caterpillar planned on the new truck being commercially available in 2001. The two trucks being tested were to join an existing fleet of 65 240-ton trucks currently in service at the Bingham mine. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 29, 1999)
At the time of the opening ceremony of Kennecott's modernized plant in September 1988, the mine was operating with electric shovels with 27 to 30 cubic yards capacity (about 50 to 60 tons), and truck with 170 to 200 tons capacity. (Deseret News, September 24, 1988)
In a news story about improved communications at the Bingham mine, the story mentions that Kennecott Utah Copper was operating 85 300-ton haul trucks, and 12 shovels. (Rajant Corporation case study)
Truck Shops at Bingham -- Brief history of the truck shops at Bingham, including the Yosemite (1964-1986), Bingham (1986-2013) and Copperfield (2006-current) shops.
Current Truck Fleet at Bingham
A summary in 2012 at MiningTechnology.com shows a total of ten mining shovels at Bingham (seven P&H 2800 and three P&H 4100), along with 65 haulage trucks. (http://www.mining-technology.com/projects/bingham/)
- 53 Caterpillar 793B and 793C trucks (mechanical-drive)
- 2 Caterpillar 797 trucks (mechanical-drive)
- 9 Komatsu 830E trucks (electric-drive)
- 1 Komatsu 930E-2 truck (electric-drive)
There have been current reports during early 2021 that the Komatsu 930E trucks at Bingham could travel at 42 miles-per-hour when empty, and were getting loads of between 410 and 435 tons as a weekly average. Such loads bring the total truck weight to around 660 to 695 tons, or around 1,320,000 to 1,390,000 pounds.
Mining Truck Industry
In the decades between 1980 and 2000, unlike construction equipment, mining equipment continued to grow in size, moving from the 170- to 190-ton to the 240-ton truck, with the more than 300-tons in the offing. Six manufacturers -- Komatsu (Haulpak), Terex (Unit Rig), Caterpillar, Liebherr Mining Truck (Wiseda), Volvo Construction Group (Euclid), and LeTourneau -- were contesting for the large mining truck business. (William Haycraft, Yellow Steel, page 365)
Truck Roster Listings
The Unit Rig Story