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Copper Queen Mine

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Title: Copper Queen Mine  
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Subject: Bisbee, Arizona, American Museum of Natural History, Fairbank, Arizona, George Warren (prospector), James Douglas (businessman), James Douglas, Jr.
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Copper Queen Mine

The Copper Queen Mine was the copper mine in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, that gave birth to the surrounding town of Bisbee. In the early 1900s it was the most productive copper mine in Arizona.[1]


The original claim to the mine was staked in 1877 by a prospector named George Warren, attracted by outcrops with the lead mineral cerussite, which often carried silver.[2] An option on the mine was acquired in 1880 by entrepreneur Ed Reilly who raised $80,000 capital from Dewitt Bisbee to begin production.[3] The surface pockets of cerussite were soon exhausted, but the owners found that the orebody ran 23% copper, with silver and gold as byproducts. Most mines of that era could profitably mine ore containing 3% or 4% copper, so the Copper Queen orebody was considered extraordinarily high grade. The surface oxide ore was exhausted after three or four years, but miners explored deeper and eventually found even larger orebodies.[4]

In 1884-5 the mine was offered for sale to London investors for £350,000, but the offer was not taken up,[5] and the mine was acquired by Phelps Dodge, which introduced a policy of racial segregation at the mine, with workers of Mexican origin not allowed to perform skilled jobs.[6]

In the early 20th century deposits of gold and silver were also discovered in the mine.[7]

In 1917 the mine was involved in the Industrial Workers of the World miners' strike[8] which led to over 1000 miners being arrested and deported in what became known as the Bisbee Deportation.[9]

By the middle 1960s, the grade of ore from the Copper Queen had declined to 4%.[10] The mine ceased production in 1975, but tours are conducted for visitors.[11]

See also


External links

  • Copper Queen mine website

Coordinates: 31°26′25″N 109°54′48″W / 31.44033°N 109.91335°W / 31.44033; -109.91335

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