Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bisbee, Arizona Lavender Pit April 1, 2013

                             Looking across the Lavender Pit

Location: The Lavender Pit is located on your right as you leave Old Bisbee going toward Lowell, Arizona. There is a pulloff with information a couple of miles from Old Bisbee. This post is a history post as well as a warning to the scars that mining leaves behind once operations have ended. This pit looks huge but it is small compared with the Bingham Canyon Pit owned by Kennecot Copper outside of Salt Lake City.

History: Prior to 1951, the Copper Queen Company mined copper in underground tunnels and shafts. (Before 1879 the Copper Queen was its own company after 1879 Phelps Dodge Corporation ran mining operations in the Bisbee area).  With an increase in copper prices, Harrison Lavender (manager of Western Operations for Phelps Dodge), determined an open pit mine would be economical and it would produce copper ore at a faster rate. Everyday at 3:30 pm 1200 pounds of powder charge broke up approximately 75,000 tons of rock. The ore was then transported out of the pit to a crusher next to the pit. The ore was then transported to Douglas, Arizona. Mining in the pit ceased in 1974 because of a decline in copper prices. Mining ceased with the Copper Queen Company in 1975. There is speculation that mining will begin again in the area if copper prices remain high. The pit is 4,000 feet wide, 5,000 feet long and 850 feet deep. (Information from  The center for Land Use Interpretation and roadside kiosk)

 Looking toward Lowell, Arizona. On the left hand side you can see the circular concrete remains of the crusher.

                          Mining head frame

                     Picture showing the permanent scars left over from mining

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