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Lavender Pit, Bisbee

4.0
#6 of 14 in Things to do in Bisbee
The Lavender Pit is a former open pit copper mine near Bisbee in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. It is located near the famous Copper Queen Mine. The Lavender Pit was named in honor of Harrison M. Lavender (1890–1952), who as Vice-President and General Manager of Phelps Dodge Corporation, conceived and carried out this plan for making the previously unprofitable low-grade copper bearing rock of the area into commercial copper ore.Phelps Dodge Corporation opened the Lavender Pit in 1950, at the site of the earlier, higher-grade Sacramento Hill mine. Production through 1974 totaled 86 million tons of ore averaging about 0.7% copper, or about 600,000 tons of copper produced, with gold and silver as byproducts. About 256 million tons of waste were stripped, but a portion of this was acid-leached for additional copper. Turquoise was also a by-product of this mining activity. Bisbee turquoise, also known as Bisbee Blue, is amongst the finest turquoise found anywhere in the world. Mining operations in the pit ended in 1974. The undeveloped Cochise deposit, located immediately north of the Lavender pit, contains an estimated 190 million tons of rock containing 0.4% acid-soluble copper, which may be mined in the future.Because of the competent host rock, this pit has much steeper sides than other open pit copper mines in the southwest area. The pit covers an area of 300 acres (1.2 km²), and is 900 feet (274 m) deep. Large tonnages of dump rock are placed around Bisbee, notably north of the residential district of Warren and other parts of the southeastern Mule Mountains area.
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Lavender Pit Reviews
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161 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • September 20, 2017
    Pretty much just a big hole in the ground but still interesting to see. Nice parking lot with an overlook and an informative sign.  more »
  • September 17, 2017
    I remember I came on a day when it was raining. The street was covered in an Orange/Red color. Truly impressive, it's something I'm never going to forget.  more »
  • September 6, 2017
    Right beside the highway with good views of the once-working pit! An interesting look at the geological layers and the efforts miners when to to bring up this useful metal.  more »
Google
  • June 29, 2017
    Worth going a little bit out of your way to go see. Plus the little town of Bisbee is amazing. Beautiful little town built all up and down the sides of the canyon.
  • March 5, 2017
    Impressive view of one of the three pits (800 ft deep). Information stand explaining the mine's history and providing interesting facts about copper mining in general.
  • February 19, 2017
    This is a great place to visit..scary to look down at the pit but very interesting.
  • November 19, 2016
    An expected find. Very deep pit with a small bit of water at the the bottom. There's plenty of parking and a tall fence for safety purposes. The view is amazing.
  • November 2, 2016
    The viewpoint is located right off the main road that takes you into Bisbee and the Copper Queen mine. The viewing area is fenced off w/chainlink, but you can still manage to get some good views/pics of the massive "pit" that used to be an open pit copper mine. It is both jaw-dropping and depressing at the same time to see this massive hole, but it is worth the quick stop especially if you happen to have binoculars to see some of the cool features up close. Aside from the impressive size, it is kinda neat how the hues of the pit can change depending on the sunlight.

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