Over quarries and aggregate plants produce industrial minerals and rock products such as, lime, construction sand and gravel, salt, and pumice and perlite. In addition to metals, energy sources such as uranium and coal are mined on the Colorado Plateau.
Metal Mining Copper mining and refining provides over 10, jobs in Arizona. Many towns were built on mining claims from the s to the s, with mining companies like Arizona Central and Phelps Dodge investing in equipment, refinement facilities, and infrastructure to transport goods. Immigrants from all over the world found work in the mines.
Labor disputes between miners and their company were common. By the s copper was running out. Some early mine sitessuch as Bisbee and Jerome, shrank to the brink of nonexistence when the mines closed but found new life as tourist havens. Former copper towns in central Arizona have formed the Copper Corridora movement to attract tourism due to their mining history. The Morenci open pit complex is the largest copper mine in North America and the largest employer in Greenlee County.
Additional copper-rich areas have been identified as potential future mine sites. Copper Facts Copper is an excellent electrical conductor.
Copper wiring made widespread use of electricity possible in the early s. Copper transformed and modernized households in the s and s with piping and wiring. The average home contains about pounds of copper for electrical wiring, pipes, and appliances such as refrigerators and microwaves. Copper is required for semiconductors, cell phones, computer chips, and other advanced technology.
Nearly one half of the copper consumed annually in North America comes from recycled material. Arizona is the second-largest producer of molybdenum, which is extracted as a byproduct of copper in the Sierrita, Mission, Mineral Park, and Bagdad mines. Used primarily in the steel industry for corrosion resistance, strengthening and heat resistance, molybdenum moly chemicals and powder products can be used in water treatment, lubricants, and petroleum refining.
New mining techniques are able to extract gold ore from mines in western Arizona. In the s—s, prospectors placer mined gold from rivers in central Arizona.