View into the Abyss - a Collection of Favorite PitsTo give an impression of the size of a mining operation like Ok Tedi, examples are presented here as seen from space. For Ok Tedi, I did not find a proper satellite image. The satellite views are provided by NASA from their new ASTER program. The original images are very bulky, but if you have a quick internet connection, do not hestitate to click ASTER. Credit for these images to:
The complete ASTER image covers 30 by 37 km in the Atacama Desert, Chile and was acquired on April 23, 2000. The Escondida Cu-Au-Ag open-pit mine is at an elevation of 3050 m, and came on stream in 1990. Current capacity is 127,000 tons/day of ore; in 1999 production totaled 827,000 tons of copper, 150,000 ounces of gold and 3.53 million ounces of silver. Primary concentration of the ore is done on-site; the concentrate is then sent to the coast for further processing through a 170 km long, 9 pipe. Escondida is related geologically to three porphyry bodies intruded along the Chilean West Fissure Fault System. A high grade supergene cap overlies primary sulfide ore. The image is a conventional 3-2-1 RGB composite (text NASA).From the original scene, the mining area has been cut, still a file of 220 kByte. ASTER images consist of 15 m pixels, so the cut has a width of 15 km.
Bingham Canyon, Utah, USA, has been digged for 90 years, and still is productive. The pit measures 4 km in diameter, and 800 m depth, claimed to be the biggest in the world. The view is cut from two ASTER images of the region of Salt Lake City, one taken in winter, one in summer. Both views approx. 16 km width.
here's summer (440 kByte!)
update Dec 2003
more technical mine information