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- Morenci Mine (Arizona) -

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THE ROAD NORTH from Douglas through Willcox and Safford (Highway 666) climbs its tortuous way into the mountains up to Clifton, 3488 feet above sea level.

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At Morenci just beyond Clifton the scenery changes abruptly. The countryside is denuded of trees and a large open-cut mine reveals multicoloured layers of copper bearing rock.

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Gold prospectors came to the area in the 1860s but instead of gold found extensive copper deposits. Underground mining of copper started in the 1870s. In 1939 open-cut replaced underground mining.
   The Phelps Dodge Morenci company is reputed to be the biggest producer of copper in the USA.
   The mine pit is over two miles long.

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The small town of Morenci was gradually engulfed by the massive enterprise and had to be rebuilt by the mining company in the 1960s. Most of the miners live either in Morenci or in nearby Clifton.

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