The Rich and Vibrant Heritage of Mining in Arizona

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

Since Arizona’s establishment, mining has played a key role shaping the industrial development of the state. The vibrant mining culture in Arizona dates back to 1910—two years before Arizona became a state—when the mining sector was responsible for 25 percent of jobs. That legacy continues today, as Arizona is the second-largest producer of mineral commodities in the United States.

A recent article in The Arizona Daily Star highlights the history of Arizona’s mining industry. Historical figures and organizations from the mid-19th century still contribute to the success of the mining industry in Arizona today. For example, The Mining Foundation of the Southwest is dedicated to documenting and preserving this rich Arizona mining history while educating the public on minerals and the mining industry, both within the United States and abroad.

According to the 2013 USGS Minerals Commodities Summary, Arizona produced more than $2 billion worth of minerals last year, much of which can be attributed to copper mining, which remains a cornerstone of the state’s economy. More broadly, copper is a critical component in our industrial world and is used in high-technology devices, in the wiring of wind turbines and solar panels and in building construction.

Although Arizona is home to some of the largest mining reserves in the United States, our current inefficient permitting process hinders the continued success of its rich mining history.  However, as legislators assume current and new positions, a bipartisan movement toward mining policy reform could soon become reality, which would allow for states like Arizona to reach their full mining potential.

Learn more about Arizona’s mining history here.

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