Utah has one of the biggest open-pit copper mines in the world. It deals with a particularly large volume of lead compounds.
A recent annual record by the EPA states that Utah ranks at second place out of fifty six states and territories across the country for total toxic releases every square mile. Alaska was ranked first. In 2013, the toxic release inventory by EPA stated that Utah held nearly 12.7% of the total of such releases across the nation, having the majority of which comes from the mining industry.
The Kennecott Utah Copper mine, power plant, and concentrators added the most to the list. It acquired the top 3 positions for the state, which was followed by U.S.
Mr. Kyle Bennett, a spokesman for Rio Tinto, stated that the TRI is all about making the system transparent wherein people live and assisting them to be aware of what businesses surrounding them are doing. They are obligated by EPA guidelines that once they pick up rock and dirt and move it to another place, it should be reported.
Bennett also stated that in 2013, activity at the mine were increased as it worked to get better from an immense landslide after which it was kept non-operational for some time. Kennecott operation of Rio Tinto mines around 340,000 tons of overburden and 188,000 tons of copper ore every day, hence Mr. Bennett said that the trace materials add up over time.
Further he added that in 2013, they shifted more material than they did in 2012, so the concentration of constituents in the material was larger.
Utah has 185 facilities, which report to the TRI of EPA, in which twenty three of them document new methods to reduce toxic releases.