Mining History Association

17th Annual Conference June 1-4, 2006

Apache Gold Casino Resort, Globe Arizona


The 17th annual conference of the Mining History Association was held in the historic central Arizona mining area around Globe and Miami, June 1-4, 2006.  The conference venues were the Apache Gold Resort Casino outside Globe for the program sessions, Presidential Luncheon, and Awards Banquet, and the Gila County Historical Museum in Globe for the Welcoming Reception.  The Museum is housed in the Old Dominion Mine Rescue Station building and contains an interesting and extensive collection of mining artifacts in its indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Those passing through Phoenix also had the opportunity to visit the excellent Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum (now closed).  The drive to Globe-Miami passes through the historic mining town of Superior where the remains of the Magma Smelter are seen on the north side of the highway.  William Boyce Thompson developed the Magma Mine.  His home, the Castle on the Hill, is now the Picket Post House Museum.  The adjacent Boyce Thompson Arboretum contains his collection of exotic plants from around the world.  A short drive south of Superior is ASARCOís large Ray Mine.  The open pit can be seen from a visitorsí overlook.

The Mining History of Globe-Miami

The early silver mining around Globe and Miami started in the 1870ís.  In 1873, the Globe Ledge silver claims were discovered near what was first to be called Globe City and in 1878 Globe.  Legend has it that the town was named for a large spherical silver nugget which resembled the planet Earth.  In 1875, the Miami silver claim was located west of Globe.  The Miami Mining Company purchased the claim and built a small mill at Bloody Tanks Wash and Pinal Creek.  The town of Miami was established in 1909.  The silver had played out by the early 1880ís but by then copper was recognized as the future of the mining district.

In 1880, M. H. Simpson founded the Old Dominion Mining Company of Baltimore and erected two smelting furnaces at Bloody Tanks.  The original copper ore was soon exhausted and in 1882 the company purchased the Old Globe Copper Company.  The combined company, the Old Dominion Copper Mining Company, mined copper from the original Globe Ledge silver claims.  A larger smelter was constructed near the mine.  By 1886, the mine had produced over 22 million pounds of copper from rich ores grading 11-12%. 

The mine braved financial ups and downs, floods on the surface, and water underground.  The Panic of 1893 caused the mine to shut down.  In 1894, the Lewishon Brothers financial house purchased the company and renamed it the Old Dominion Copper Mining and Smelting Company.  A new smelter was built and improvements were made to the underground mining methods.

Old Dominion Copper Mining and Smelting Company, Globe, Arizona, c1900
(Courtesy Gila County Historical Museum).  CLICK on Image for a Larger View.

The railroad reached Globe in 1898, lowering freight costs for smelter coke and copper.  In January 1899, the largest single shipment of Arizona copper to-date left Globe bound for customers.  In 1904, the Old Dominion Company, controlled by Phelps-Dodge, took over the operations.  World War I brought high demand for copper, high prices, and large profits.  The labor unrest sweeping western copper mines hit Globe in July 1917.  Federal troops were called in to restore order.  A negotiated settlement of the strike brought the mine back into production by year-end.  In 1919, 1400 men were employed at the Old Dominion.  Continued financial ups and downs caused the smelter to close in 1924.  The mine closed in 1931.  Ore grades had declined to 2.25% copper.  In 1940, the old Dominion properties were purchased by the Miami Copper Company to gain access to mine water for use in its operations in Miami.

In nearby Miami, mining had expanded rapidly in the early 1900ís.  The Miami Copper Company was founded in 1907.  The Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company was formed in 1909, mining lower grade deposits originally held by the Old Dominion Mining Company.  In 1915, the International Smelting and Refining Company smelter went into production, eliminating the need for the companies to ship their concentrates to Mexico or Utah for smelting. The Miami smelter was later renamed the International Smelting Company.  After closure of the Old Dominion Smelter, the Globe concentrates were also sent to the International Smelter.

2007 Panorama of Modern Open Pit Mines in the Miami-Globe District
(Photo by Doc Searles from Wikipedia Commons). 

In later years, underground mining gave way to surface mining.  The area around Miami is now studded with open pits and dump leaching operations.  The smelter at Miami uses modern technology that reduces air pollution.  Ownership changes and consolidations of mining assets in Globe-Miami continue to the present.  Inspiration became part of the Cyprus Minerals Company in 1988.  It became Cyprus Amax Minerals Company in 1993.  Cyprus Amax was purchased by Phelps-Dodge in 1999 and then subsequently merged with Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold in 2007.  The Miami Copper Company was taken over by the Magma Copper Company which became part of Newmont Mining in 1969.  Magma was spun-off by Newmont in 1987.  In 1996 Magma was acquired by BHP. BHP merged with Billiton in 2001 and became BHP Billiton.

Currently (2011) the operating mines in the greater Globe-Miami-Superior area include the Miami (Freeport-McMoRan), Carlota (QuadraFNX Mining, Ltd.), Pinto Valley (BHP Billiton), and Ray (ASARCO).  An innovative new underground mine is in development in Superior to mine a deep portion of the Magma orebody (Resolution Copper Mining).


(Adapted from the March 2006 Mining History News and expanded by Mike Kaas, 2011)





Welcoming Reception, June 1, 2006, Gila County Historical Museum


Presidential Luncheon, June 2, 2006, Apache Gold Casino Resort


Awards Banquet, June 2, 2006, Apache Gold Casino Resort





Phelps-Dodge Copper Rod Plant, June 3, 2006


Pinal Creek Clean-up, June 3, 2006


Walking Tour of Bars and Brothels in Globe, June 3, 2006


Morenci Open Pit Mine, June 4, 2006


Theodore Roosevelt Dam, Salt River Project, June 4, 2006



MHA member Bill Hawes has provided two updated photo galleries (2013) of Globe and Miami, Arizona.  Since the MHA annual conference in 2006, the Old Dominion Historic Mine Park has opened in Globe across the highway from the Gila County Historical Museum.  Hiking trails with interpretive signs wind throughout remains of this once huge mining and smelting operation (see historic photo above).  In Miami, The Bullion Plaza School has been renovated and is now the Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and Museum.  Its indoor and outdoor exhibits cover mining and the ethnic groups that worked in the area. 



James McBride, General Chair

Bob Trennert, Program Chair




Globe-Miami Chamber of Commerce

Gila County Historical Society and Museum


BHP Billiton

Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold

Resolution Mining

Boyce Thompson Arboretum and Picket Post Mansion

Bureau of Reclamation, Theodore Roosevelt Dam




Wilbur A. Haak, Arizonaís Silver Belt, The History of Mining in Arizona, Vol. II, J. Michael Canty and Michael N Greeley, Editors, (Tucson: Mining Club of the Southwest Foundation, 1991), 29-46.


Wilbur A. Haak, The Old Dominion Mine, The History of Mining in Arizona, Vol. III, J. Michael Canty, H. Mason Coggins, and Michael N Greeley, Editors, (Tucson: Mining Club of the Southwest Foundation, 1999), 88-102.


Forest R. Rickard, History of Smelting in Arizona, The History of Mining in Arizona, Vol. I, J. Michael Canty and Michael N Greeley, Editors, (Tucson: Mining Club of the Southwest Foundation, 1987), 191-228.


Frederick L. Ransome, Geology of the Globe Copper District, Arizona, U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 12, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903).


Waldemar Lindgren, The Copper Deposits of the Clifton-Morenci District, Arizona, U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 43, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1905).


Frederick L. Ransome, The Copper Deposits of Ray and Miami, Arizona, U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 115, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919).





Old Dominion Copper Mine and Smelter

Ruins, Globe

Chilean Mill, Gila County Historical Museum, Globe

Welcoming Barbecue at the Gila County Historical Museum

Welcoming Barbecue at the Gila County Historical Museum

Welcoming Barbecue at the Gila County Historical Museum

Program Session, Apache Gold Casino Resort

MHA President, Jim McBride at the Awards Banquet

Jay Fell, Bob Mark and Karen Vendl at the Awards Banquet



Photo Credits Johnny Johnsson and Mike Kaas


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