The Clifton-Morenci district was Arizona’s first major copper-producing region.
Hard work yielded high-grade gold ore in this Western Arizona mine.
Arizona's mining history marked by labor issues.
Tungsten’s hardness at elevated temperatures, tensile strength, corrosion resistance and good electrical and thermal conductivity make it a metal of choice used in industry. Tungsten has the highest melting point of all metals, at 6,170 degrees Fahrenheit (3,410 Celsius).
Asbestos mines were profitable before they were banned.
Mining district was tough to develop.
The tracks of the "iron horse" spread into many parts of Arizona.
Grand Canyon's Grandview Mine produced 500,000 pounds of copper in its day.
Orphan Mine, in beautiful but isolated location, yielded high-grade uranium ore.
The Colorado Plateau is known for its abundance of radioactive minerals.
An area mine produced 800 million pounds of copper between 1882 and 1930.
The Silver Queen Ledge, near modern-day Superior including the Irene and Hub claims, was discovered in 1871 by prospectors in search of the nearby Silver King Mine.
Located three miles north of Superior in Pinal County, the Silver King Mine was once the richest silver mine in Arizona, producing high-grade silver along with smaller amounts of gold, copper, zinc and lead.
While prospecting along the Hassayampa River in October 1863, Henry Wickenburg and several associates discovered a gold-bearing quartz outcrop 500 feet long, 400 feet wide and 100 feet tall.
The San Francisco Mining district, whose claim to fame was $34 million in gold production between 1870 and 1933, is located in the southern part of the Black Mountains in Mohave County.
Frontier military outposts in Arizona began with several early presidios established along the Santa Cruz River.
People have mined coal in Arizona for at least 700 years, but today the only active mine in the state is the Kayenta Mine at the Black Mesa field on the Colorado Plateau in Northeastern Arizona.
The importance of haul trucks in the history of surface mining in Arizona cannot be overstated.
Jerome’s population reached 15,000 during the peak of mining operations during the 1920s.
Located 56 miles southwest of Flagstaff on the east slope of Mingus Mountain — a 1,750-million-year-old volcanic tuff — the town of Jerome and its surroundings were once known as one of the greatest copper-producing areas on the planet.
Located in the Lower San Pedro River Basin 40 miles northeast of Tucson and a mile south of the Mammoth-St. Anthony Mine, the San Manuel area enticed 1880s prospectors attracted to the copper-stained exposures of Red Hill and other nearby localities.
Depressed copper prices in the 1920s and ’30s saw the eventual closure of mining operations in the Silver Bell district. The nearby Sasco smelter had shut down by 1921 and the Sasco townsite was abandoned.
The earliest recorded mine in the Silver Bell Mountains was the Old Boot Mine in 1865. The mine, later renamed the Mammoth Mine, was developed by prospectors and financed by a group of Tucson merchants including Zeckendorf and Steinfeld, who were drawn to the heavy, black garnet-stained rock…
Arizona, known for its abundant copper deposits, also hosts a modest amount of oil and helium deposits.
Located two miles southeast of Bisbee, the Irish Mag Mine — named after a Bisbee dance-hall girl — became known in 1899 as a large high-grade copper ore body.
The Empire Mountains, 30 miles southeast of Tucson and stretching northeast from the Santa Rita Mountains, include several well-known mining properties, including the Total Wreck Mine, the Montana Mine and the Hilton Group Mines.
Colorado River steamboat transportation made a significant impact in opening the Arizona Territory to commerce in the latter half of the 19th century.
The Planet Mine, located in the northwest corner of La Paz County in the Buckskin Mountains in central western Arizona, was prospected by Richard Ryland in 1863, and is one of the oldest copper mines discovered by and worked by Americans in Arizona.
The Bagdad Mine is a porphyry copper deposit containing both sulfide and oxide mineralization.
Modern mineral collecting has its roots in the 16th century. Georgius Agricola (1494-1555), a German scientist and father of mineralogy and mineral collecting, published “De Re Metallica,” a treatise on mining, and “De Natura Fossilium,” considered the earliest mineralogy textbook. At the ti…
Located 25 miles north of Yuma in the barren, rocky Trigo Mountains, the Silver mining district was established after the railroad had reached Yuma in 1878.
Lighting has played a critical role in the safety of underground coal and metal mining for several thousand years. Challenges in an underground mine environment include dust, conﬁned spaces, surfaces with low reflectivity and reduced visual contrast.
The first recorded mining claim in the Chiricahua Mountains was the Hidden Treasure, worked by Jack Dunn in early 1881. It later became part of the Hilltop Mine, the largest and most profitable mine in the Chiricahuas.
The Big Bug district is one of the earliest mining districts formed in Central Arizona. It was named after Big Bug Creek, which was home to plentiful walnut-size beetles and runs through the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains southeast of Prescott.
What would become one of the most prosperous mining camps at the turn of the century was founded in southwestern Yavapai County by Dennis May on March 25, 1884, and several years later developed by the wealthy Mississippi steamboat operator Diamond Joe Reynolds.
The Banner Mining district covers a geographic area 15 miles long and seven miles wide, and its principal mine was the Christmas Mine.
Trade tokens have been used as far back as Roman times, and in the United States, as recently as in the era of mining towns. These unique pieces are rare and highly collectible.
Located in the Dragoon Mountains on Golden Rule Hill, the Golden Rule Mine was the primary metal mine in Cochise County’s Dragoon mining district. The Golden Rule Mining Company was the mine’s namesake, and one of the earliest companies involved in its development from 1883 through 1890.
Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series on the Ajo mining district. To read the first part of this series go online to tinyurl.com/ajomine
Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series on the Ajo mining district.
Located between Winkelman and Superior along scenic Highway 177, the Ray mine has a history dating back 140 years.
In 2012, Arizona produced more than $2 billion in nonfuel mineral commodities. While Arizona leads the nation in copper production, additional minerals ranked according to value include molybdenum concentrates, sand and gravel (construction), cement (portland) and silver.
Forty-five miles southeast of Tucson on the east slope of the Santa Rita Mountains are the Greaterville gold placers, discovered by A. Smith in 1874. The deposit, at 5,280-feet elevation, became the most sought-after placer deposit — or accumulation of valuable minerals — in Southern Arizona…
Early prospecting in the Patagonia mining district during the 1860s and ’70s was hindered by the threat of Apache raids. After the Apache were forcibly removed, the mining communities of Washington Camp and Duquesne were established a mile apart in the Patagonia Mountains.
One of the fringe benefits of hiking Arizona’s extensive mountain trail system is the opportunity to visit old mines and see abandoned mining equipment.
Breathing apparatuses were an important part of mine-rescue work beginning in the 1890s. Explosions, cave-ins, floods and fires were a constant threat in daily mining operations. Poor air quality resulting from such accidents led to fatalities on the job.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of copper in the role of the economy of Arizona, where students used to learn about “The 5 C’s” — copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate.
Located 18 miles south of Tucson near the Sierrita Mountains and organized in 1877, the Pima Mining District had humble beginnings with several small mining camps.
Tombstone, renowned for its gunfights, gambling halls, brothels and bars, was a silver mining town of great wealth during the decade known as “The Roarin’ ’80s” in the 19th century.
Early methods of surface transportation in the history of mining in Arizona were an important step in establishing the vast enterprise that enriched the state’s economy with towns, roads and other improvements.