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The Morenci mine is located 50 miles NE of Safford, AZ on Rt 191.
From their website: Morenci is the largest copper producer in North America and remains a major contributor to Phelps’s copper output, which is second only to that of Chile’s Codelco. The operation employs approximately 2,000 people who work 8h or 12h shift rotations.
Phelps mined underground until the 1930s depression, converting to an open-cut operation with rail haulage in 1937. The topography prevented development as a single pit: today the working area extends across 2.5km x 2.2km but is worked as three pits: the Metcalf (within the original Morenci pit), the NWX (Northwest Extension) and the Coronado.
Electric rotary rigs, mainly made by Bucyrus, drill blast holes and P&H 4100 and 2800 series electric rope shovels load the truck fleet. This includes more than 60 Caterpillar units, both 793 (218 ton capacity) and 797 (272 ton) models.
Waste is mainly used to backfill the Morenci pit, while the ore, which averaged 0.29% Cu in 2004, is hauled to in-pit primary crushers. The Morenci mine produced 902 million pounds of copper in 2015.