Friday, January 18, 2013

Copper Mine, Arizona

On our way back from Tonto Natural Bridge, we stopped by a copper mine site. The rocky, barren-looking landscape had been transformed into a terraced seating of the Roman theatre in Dougga, Tunisia. Set high on a neighboring hill, we could see through the fence at the visitor's viewpoint some of the goings-on below, but at a very safe distance. Massive trucks hauling loads of dirt made their way across the terraces and down dusty road ramps. Because it was a holiday, not much other action was taking place. A tire from one of the mining vehicles was displayed in the visitor's area, but now was enclosed by a fence. To get a sense of scale, adults could easily stand in the inner part of the tire.
Copper mining is a huge industry in Arizona. Over 60% of America's copper supply comes from this state. In 2007, 750,000 metric tons of copper was mined in Arizona, amounting to $4.54 billion dollars.  Byproducts of copper mining include silver, gold, and molybdenum. Native Americans once used copper minerals as a pigment for decoration and early Spanish explorers found copper, but it wasn't until the arrival of the railroad that copper could be mined profitably.  

1 comment:

Pat said...

I love and miss Arizona's scenery. Interesting post and beautiful photos, especially #1.