Produced by the Marion Power Shovel Company, this fascinating movie looks at copper and copper mining in the 1960s, when the American mines were at peak production and financial troubles loomed. The film looks at the future of mining, including the development of efficiencies to keep mines in business. Open pit mining techniques are shown, with a focus on the Southwest. At 2:00, Bingham Canyon and the Utah Mining Company pit (also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine) is seen. At 2:40, various open pit mines are seen which use either trucks or trains to remove ore. Although they are not named, it's likely that one of them is the Phelps-Dodge mine at Bisbee, Arizona. At 5:40, exploratory core drilling is shown. At 6:30, exploration programs are shown including at 6:43, an engineering team that maps mine development. Various drill systems are seen at 9:00, including the rotary drill. At 10:30, preparations are seen towards using explosives with the burying of dynamite and detonators for excavation. At 12:12, loading of explosives is seen with an emphasis on safe handling. At 14:51, a cage drill is shown in use allowing rocks to be drilled in the field (without being moved by shovels) for explosive removal. At 16:00, a small 4.5 yard bucket shovel is shown being used to move blast debris. At 16:00, a 6-yard loading shovel is seen. At 17:49, overburden waste from the pit is loaded on a train so that it can be moved and dumped at a remote area. At 18:50, a 13-yard shovel is seen in use with a large truck also in use. As the narrator explains, these large size equipment is needed to lower unit costs of copper, and are an economic necessity given the modern financial conditions. At 19:52, the motorized wheel principle of new types of mining trucks is seen, and the narrator comments that next generation trucks will carry over 100 tons of ore. At 22:55, a grader is seen working the mine roads, and the narrator comments about how tires wear out so quickly on the job that they account for up to 1% of mining costs.
At 24:30, railroad trains are shown on the move at a mine, moving 60-125 ton per car loads. The narrator comments further on the use of railroads in pit mining. At 26:30, a large shovel is seen loading a train, sprinkling the loads with water to hold down dust. The large boulders in the loads make this type of work dangerous. At 27:16, ore loads are dumped into a crusher at a mill site. At 27:40, a rail waste dump into a slag pile is seen. At 28:00, a train-based grader is used to clear tracks of debris. The narrator notes that the mining railroads are some of the busiest in the USA and the world. At 28:44, new tracks are installed due to various demands, and mechanized railroad ballast systems are used for fast track installation. At 31:20, a skip hoist is seen being used to take ore from a deep, small pit to the surface. At 32:50, a series of leeching ponds is seen, with water percolated through the ponds to precipitate copper. At 34:00, a machine shop is seen at the mine, providing repair and maintenance services at the mine. At 35:40, a heavy repair part is unloaded at the mine using a power shovel. At 36:00, a research laboratory is seen at work, developing new uses of copper in the atomic and other industries. At 36:40, the IBM Ramac computer is seen. The IBM 305 RAMAC was the first commercial computer that used a moving-head hard disk drive (magnetic disk storage) for secondary storage. The film ends with a shot of a heap of pennies, with the narrator noting that the industry is working hard to expand production to fulfill future needs.
The Bingham Canyon Mine, more commonly known as Kennecott Copper Mine, is extracting a large porphyry copper deposit southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the Oquirrh Mountains. The mine is the largest man-made excavation in the world and produced more copper than any other mine in history – more than 19 million tons. The mine has been in production since 1906, and has resulted in the creation of a pit over 0.6 miles (970 m) deep, 2.5 miles (4 km) wide, and covering 1,900 acres (770 ha).
Marion Power Shovel Company was an American firm that designed, manufactured and sold steam shovels, power shovels, blast hole drills, excavators, and dragline excavators. The company was a major supplier of shovels for the construction of the Panama Canal. Founded in Marion, Ohio in August, 1884 as the Marion Steam Shovel Company, the company grew through sales and acquisitions throughout the 20th century. The company changed its name to Marion Power Shovel Company in 1946 to reflect the industry's change from steam power to diesel power.
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