Morenci, Arizona

Morenci Open Mine Pit Tour

category : Tours
Phelps Dodge Morenci, Inc., is the largest copper producing operation in North America. Active operations include an open-pit mine, numerous leach stockpiles, four solution extraction plants and three electrowinning tankhouses.

The mine is the second largest in the United States and is one of the oldest copper mines in Arizona. Mining and mineral processing are dominant factors in Morenci's economy, which employs about two-thirds of the workforce. Morenci is unincorporated and is owned by Phelps Dodge.

The mining equipment is enormous and the sheer size of the operation is hard to comprehend. The tour takes about three and a half hours.

Members of the Colonel Carleton's Regiment of California Volunteers discovered the first indication of copper ore in 1865. Unfortunately, the Indians in the area made it difficult to get to the copper. Then in 1870, the Apache Indians signed a treaty. This treaty allowed access to the area and a mining camp was established. The original mining camp was called Joy's Camp. It was named after Captain Miles Joy, a mineral surveyor.

The Detroit Copper Company was created in 1872 and the camp was renamed Morenci after a town in Michigan. Later, Detroit Copper Company asked for capital from Phelps-Dodge Company, then in 1885, William Church, the president of Detroit Copper Company, sold his operation to Phelps-Dodge.

Hours: Call for tour days and hours.
Address: 4521 N Hwy 191
Phone: 520-865-6435
Our Email:

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