Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moreci Mine near Safford

Saturday I got up really early and met Barb and Joe at 7:30 A.M.for the hour long ride up to the Moreci Mines.  We had reservations for the 8:30 A.M. tour.  We met the tour bus at the hotel in town (there is only one...this is pretty much a company town) and the bus was full to capacity.  The tours are scheduled only of Friday and Saturday.

The Moreci Mine is the largest copper mine in the Northern Hemisphere.  The pits are deep and wide.  The mining operation itself is very sophisticated that they use one of the largest GPS systems in the world to track every piece of machinery as it is loaded and dumped.  Also, this is a very "green mine". Every drop of water is reused and recycled and it does not go into the ground water system.   Did you know that the average house contains over 450 pounds of copper? Its really hard to get a handle on how big it really is.  I flew over supposedly the largest copper mine in the world near San Pedro, Chile, several years ago and remembered it seemed to take a long to fly over it.
                                         This is part of the mine as seen from the Black Hills Byway road
                                          These are leaching fields.  They last about 30 years.  Copper is leached here through a series of drip systems.
                                           This is what hauls the raw materials for processing. I'm only 5'2.  The wheels cost anywhere from $12,000-$30,000 per tire!

 If you look closely you can see some of the same trucks hauling raw material for processing.

                                        Part of the crushing system
                                         Overview of some of the processing areas.

                                 Can you guess what this is?
            The raw material is crushed and then they are mixed chemicals and water.  The end result is copper..the blue stuff in the water.

                           This is the area where the copper plates are made.  They make over a millions pounds a day.

Each slot will make plate (sheet) of copper

Each pallet weights about 6200-6400 pounds.
                                   This is one pallet.

                             There are 17 pallets each weighing 6200-6400 pounds.  Thats a lot of copper!

                                 This is the control room.  During the week all of the monitors are manned.  On Saturday, only part of the operation is working.  If we had been there on Friday, we may not have been able to see the control room.
                                          Not only is someone watching the monitors, but some of the pictures are put on the big screen so several operations  can be seen at once.
                                         I don't remember what this monitor showes but each color represents a certain grade of ore and its location.
This is showing the location of all of the different trucks and the grade of ore they are carrying to a specific processing area.  Each grade has its own unique dumping spot because processing is different for different grades.

The tour started promptly at 8:30 A.M. and didn't finish until 12:00.  The $7.00 ticket was well worth it. In retrospect, it might have been more interesting to go on Friday when everything was working but then again we may not have been allowed to view the control room.

Sunday was a down day for me in preparation to move on Monday.  I had planned to go to Willcox and catch up with the WINS but time is getting short and its been pretty cold in the higher elevations near Chiricahua so I'll be moving on to Yuma (hopefully nice warm weather) for a day or so to see some friends before making the final leg towards home base.

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