Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sixteen Tons

Amado, AZ  High 80  Low 52

Wednesday morning we had bacon, scrambled eggs, and potatoes for breakfast with orange juice/coffee/water. Great start to the day.

After breakfast Jim and I had to go up to the hardware store and Post Office. When we got back to the campground, Jim and Jan installed Jan and Bill’s water softener permanently in one of their bays.  Jan's blog has some great pictures of this whole procedure.


At 11:30 six of us headed out to the Mission Mine Tour. The Mission Mine was started in 1959 and they have recovered 6,510,809,506 lbs of copper ore.

They are mining copper ore and we learned that Arizona provides 65% of the copper ore in the United States.

P1070379Me, Jim, Karen, John and Jan. Bill was taking this picture.








P1070389I wasn’t too sure a mine tour would be all that exciting but it all depends on your tour guide. Ed was entertaining and enthusiastic as well as knowledgeable about the mine and made this tour one you would recommend to others.

Rusty stuff for Diana


Ed rattled off facts and data much faster than I could keep up with. The one item that really stuck in my brain was the fact that their electric bill is 1.6 million dollars a month. A month!!!

To give you some perspective – I zoomed way in on this shovel. Do you see that white thing off to the left – that’s a pickup truck.


The trucks and machines are huge.


The pit.


Look at the size of this tire and this is off one of the smaller trucks. They were using 240 ton trucks but are now using 320 ton trucks. These tires are made by hand in the good old USA.


The next two pictures are a couple of rock crushers which are run totally by computers.



Their diesel fuel bill for the year is $19,362,000. Sure glad that’s not ours.

They use 4.2 Billion gallons of water a year which is pumped from 10 wells on their property. However, they are able to recycle 80% of that water and reuse it. 


I’m really glad we decided to take this tour and I love learning stuff, BUT – I have to tell you that my heart was saddened by the blight this hole leaves on our land. They figure there’s about 17 years left before the copper ore is gone and then they will just walk away and leave it. There will be no effort made to reclaim the land. That makes me very sad.


  1. I think it should be mandated that every company have a recovery plan. It is just ridiculous how they can use the earth and not take responsibility for it. Okay, I will get off my soapbox now.

    Glad you enjoyed the tour. Looks fascinating.

  2. Seems like a waste of electricity and water, but they would not be doing it unless they were making money.

  3. LOVE the rusty stuff!!!! Thanks for thinking of me.

  4. I was thinking as I read your post that the statistics are very interesting, but what a blight on the land! Things won't ever change until we demand change, and until our legislators make the change mandatory.

  5. Those are some huge bills to pay...
    It is sad that they just leave without some sense of responsibility.

  6. Wow, that power bill would set some of us for life! Then that big ole tire would run us over....ouch.

  7. Sandie, There are two Firelake Casinos in the Shawnee, OK area. I think the one you referred to was south of Shawnee and is called the Firelake Casino. The one we are staying at is right off I-40 and is called Firelake Grand Casino & Hotel. It was built about 7-8 years ago. The casino is very nice and comparable to ones in Las Vegas, NV.

    We enjoyed our tour of the Titan Missile Musuem, but haven't been to the mine tour yet. It's on our bucket list.

  8. Those machines are really huge. Just a little different perspective if I may, no offense intended. It's easy to see the scars from the mine but the products and materials they produce are beneficial to all of us. I looked up uses for copper and found a multitude of items listed that we use everyday and maybe never think about. We cannot use the materials and fault the mines for producing it. To reclaim the land in its former condition would add tremendously to the cost of all copper products. And what would they use to fill in the holes? They would have to take material from somewhere else perhaps making another big hole. And for what purpose? Surely they will not build anything there and the wild animals don't care if there is a hole or not . Some things are not pretty but then much of life is not. I don't know much about mining but just wanted to look at things from a little different view. Life, like freedom, can be a messy business at times.

  9. I also hate what they do to the land, but like the previous comment, what could they really do to return the land to its original state. Until we stop having a demand for their products, I guess they will continue to mine the land. I guess we all need to recycle our copper!

  10. Like you said a good tour guide can make or break your tour, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for taking us along too.

  11. It's hard to imagine how big the equipment is until you've been up close. Sounds like an interesting tour.

  12. Geez, those bills were as large as the equipment!!

  13. Very impressive equipment. Reminds me of Ft.Mc.Murray,AB.

  14. I'm with Donna K. As long as we use the product… That's why it bugs me when people don't want towers in their backyards then complain they only get 2 bars on their phones. We all pay some price for everything we use. What would copper cost if they had to fill the hole and what would they use to fill it--nuclear waste?

  15. Seems to me that if they tear up the land, they should restore it.

    Where does all this copper go? Foreign countries?

  16. It's just plain ridiculous to suggest that any company should be able to totally destroy a landscape and walk away scot-free without doing restoration.

    It doesn't matter how much we may need copper, iron or gold. The technology exists today to mine these products economically while restoring the land afterwards.

    B.C. is one of the largest mining centers anywhere and there are regulations in place to ensure that not a shovel full of soil or rock is turned unless a full remediation and restoration plan is approved (with funding guarantees) in advance.

    And guess what? Companies are still lined up and bidding for the right to mine copper, iron and gold. All we have to do is insist that these large companies be good citizens - it's not that hard.

  17. If you find any extra gold laying around there, send it this way. I don't believe any company should be able to walk away and leave property they have damaged.

  18. Good grief! No wonder copper is so expensive! I saw a TV show about the largest machine in the world, and I wonder if that is it?

    I used to work at a mine - in the office, but I was still considered a "miner" according to the MSHA inspector. We mined slate off the side of a mountain - the interior mine shafts were closed. It was a dirty business, for sure, and I finally quit because they couldn't contain the slate dust, meaning I was breathing it in. (Silica) Couldn't wear my respirator and answer the phone at the same time. :( Paid well, though. :)

    Very interesting tour - I'd be interested in seeing all that, too.

  19. There is a lot of copper left in the Upper Peninsula, time will tell if they ever mine it.


Thanks for visiting today. I look forward to reading your comments. Have a beautiful day.