COPPERTON — It’s not hard to see them.
Every day, big yellow dump trucks can be seen going up and down Kennecott’s main mining road at the Bingham Canyon mine. However, it’s hard to get a sense of just how big they are unless you stand next to one.
Each truck is about the size of a two-story house.
“You almost get used to the size of everything, which is kind of funny, and then I go back to the valley and everything else is just small and little in comparison,” said Russ Spaulding with a laugh.
Spaulding is an operations engineer with Kennecott and knows how important their dump trucks are. Without them, there would be no efficient way to haul ore dug from the mountain.
Kennecott’s 87 dump trucks carry roughly 127,000 tons of material per truck each year.
That material causes a lot of wear and tear on the trucks. Each truck bed gets replaced every eight or nine years.
"Mining is a very harsh environment,” Spaulding said.
Three of Kennecott’s dump trucks were recently due for replacement beds, and for as big as they are, workers came up with an idea that may be even bigger.
"Now we're putting more material in these beds than any of the others,” said Spaulding. “It makes more economic sense to do that type of strategy.”
It’s possible to carry more material because the new beds are lighter. They’re also bright pink.
"There's never been a pink truck in the history of the Bingham Canyon mine,” said Kennecott spokesman Kyle Bennett.
Engineers wanted a different color than the typical yellow to signify the three trucks that are carrying more material.
They could have chosen blue, green, or any color, but the company wanted to raise awareness for an important cause.
“Breast cancer is something that has impacted all of us in one way or another, and so it’s a cause we’re really passionate about and we wanted to support it,” said Bennett.
The thought of a pink dump truck at a mine site isn’t something you would have seen 30, 20, maybe even 10 years ago. Mining is typically an industry many people think of as manly and macho.
However, at Kennecott, those days are gone.
"Our business is changing,” Bennett said. “Certainly, it's been a male-dominated business for a long time, but we have women in all kinds of roles — heavy equipment operators, scientists, geotechnical experts, finance professionals, you name it.”
In the grand scheme of things, it may be just a color change. But, it's really more than that.
"With breast cancer, that's kind of a plague in this country, and by people being aware of it and thinking about it, they'll go and get checked and that's the best way to prevent deaths from that,” Spaulding said.
Pink dump trucks are just another way for the company to be practice safety — in more ways than one. And they’re definitely easy to see.
Contributing: Mike DeBernardo