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Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee

(4.8/5 based on 460+ reviews on the web)
The Copper Queen Mine was a copper mine in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. Its development led to the growth of the surrounding town of Bisbee in the 1880s. Its orebody ran 23% copper, an extraordinarily high grade. It was acquired by Phelps Dodge in 1885.In the early 1900s, this was the most productive copper mine in Arizona. While copper mining declined in the area in the 1930s and 1940s, the Copper Queen continued to be mined by the open-pit process during the years following World War II. With decreasing returns, Phelps Dodge closed it in 1985.HistoryThe presence of copper ore in the Mule Mountains of southeast Arizona may have been known as early as 1876, but the first mining claim was filed on August 2, 1877. In 1877, a U.S. Cavalry patrol from Fort Bowie was tracking Apache Indians and camped at what is today known as Iron Springs. The men didn't like the quality of the water and they sent Scout Jack Dunn to look for better quality water. During his search he found a spring along a very large cliff of limestone, known today as Castle Rock, and on his return an outcrop containing lead carbonate, which was known to carry silver, in a gorge later known as Tombstone Canyon. Dunn told his commanding officer Lt. John Rucker and a packer named Ted Byrne of his discovery. They named the find the "Rucker" and planned to file a claim, but were delayed when their patrol was ordered to resume pursuit of a band of Apache warriors. Before departing Fort Bowie, they met a 42-year old George Warren and persuaded him to file a claim for them with the agreement that Warren would name Dunn in all notices of locations for mining claims that he located. They provided him with a grubstake, provisions, and a map to mining claim site.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Informative guide who had actually worked in the mine. Very descriptive of the mine's history from 1881 thru to 1975. Helped to understand the working life of the miner. Well worth doing. 
  • One of the best aspects of this tour is that an actual former copper miner leads the tour. He had to be 80+ years old but he was very knowledgeable and answered every question that he could give an an...  more »
  • Great tour, have a new appreciation for miners and what they do. Highly recommend this tour for people of all ages!