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82 MIN READ TIME

Mines and Minerals of SILVER CITY

One of my favorite roadside overlooks is located 15 miles east of Silver City, New Mexico, on State Highway 152. The view, often veiled by dust rising from the endless procession of ore-haulage trucks far below, takes in the huge Santa Rita open-pit copper mine. Also known as the Chino Mine, the Santa Rita Mine, 1,500 feet deep and 1.5 miles across at the rim, was created by a century of drilling, blasting, and hauling more than a trillion tons of overburden and ore.

Over its long life, Santa Rita has yielded 8 million tons of copper and it still producing 140,000 tons of the metal each year. Its history is equally impressive. First worked by Spanish miners in 1804, Santa Rita is the oldest operating mine in the United States. It’s also the place where several landmark advancements in mining technology got their start.

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Rock & Gem March 2019, Special Section : Tools of the Trade, Answers to Agate Questions, Prehistoric Texas : Home to Mammoths & Dinosaurs, And More.....