20 July 2013

Ancestors and Copper Mining

Here is a slide show I found on you-tube of what these mines look like in recent years.


Ancestors and Copper Mining.
Are you like me and have Ancestors that came to Michigan for work in the Copper Mines?
I went to Wikipedia to find out even more.  You too can look into more about Copper Mining.  Copper Mining is still a viable business in the USA.  Read more about it.

“Copper mining in Michigan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Mohawkite nugget, a mixture of domeykite, algodonite and native copper

Within the state of Michigan, copper is found almost exclusively in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula, in an area known as the Copper Country. The Copper Country is highly unusual among copper-mining districts, because copper is predominantly found in the form of pure copper metal (native copper) rather than the copper oxides or copper sulfides that form the copper ore at almost every other copper-mining district.Precambrian age, in a thick sequence of northwest-dipping sandstones, conglomerates, ash beds, and flood basalts associated with the Keweenawan Rift.
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The copper deposits occur in rocks of
Although native copper was the dominant ore mineral, chalcocite (copper sulfide) was sometimes present, and, especially in the Mohawk mine, copper arsenide minerals such as mohawkite and domeykite. Gangue minerals included calcite, quartz, epidote, chlorite, and various zeolites. A number of copper mines also contained a notable amount of silver, both in native form and naturally alloyed with the copper. Halfbreed is the term for an ore sample that contains the pure copper and pure silver in the same piece of rock; it is only found in the native copper deposits of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.[1

While it originated thousands of years earlier, copper mining in Michigan became an important industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its rise marked the start of copper mining as a major industry in the United States.

Native American mining

Native Americans were the first to mine and work the copper of Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Peninsula of northern Michigan between 5000 BCE and 1200 BCE. The natives used this copper to produce tools. Archaeological expeditions in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale revealed the existence of copper producing pits and hammering stones which were used to work the copper.[2] Fringe writers have suggested that as much as 1.5 billion pounds of copper was extracted during this period, but archaeologists consider such high figures as "ill-constructed estimates" and that the actual figure is unknown.[3]
By the time the first European explorers arrived, the area was the home of the Chippewa people, who did not mine copper. According to Chippewa traditions, they had much earlier supplanted the original miners. The first written account of copper in Michigan was given by French missionary Claude Allouez in 1667. He noted that Indians of the Lake Superior region prized copper nuggets that they found there.[4] Indians guided missionary Claude Dablon to the Ontonagon Boulder, a 1.5-ton piece of native copper along the Ontonagon River. When American prospectors arrived in the 1840s, pieces of copper were found in streams or on the ground. The copper pits abandoned by Native Americans led early miners to most of the first successful mines.

Modern mining industry

Miners at the Tamarack Mine in the Copper Country of Michigan in 1905.
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Copper being loaded onto a steamer in Houghton, Michigan, c1905
The Michigan State Geologist Douglass Houghton (later to become mayor of Detroit) reported on the copper deposits in 1841, which quickly began a rush of prospectors. Mining took place along a belt that stretched about 100 miles southwest to northeast through Ontonagon, Houghton, and Keweenaw counties.[5] Isle Royale, on the north side of Lake Superior, was extensively explored, and a smelter built, but no mining of any importance took place there.[6] Some copper mineralization was found in Keweenawan rocks farther southwest in Douglas County, Wisconsin, but no successful mines were developed there.
Copper mining in the Upper Peninsula boomed, and from 1845 until 1887 (when it was exceeded by Butte, Montana) the Michigan Copper Country was the nation's leading producer of copper. In most years from 1850 through 1881, Michigan produced more than three-quarters of the nation's copper, and in 1869 produced more than 95% of the country's copper.[7]

Fissure veins

Commercial production began in 1844 at the Phoenix mine. Most early miners began with little knowledge or planning, and few mines ever saw production, much less profit. The first successful copper mine, the Cliff mine, began operations in 1845, and many others quickly followed. These first mines worked copper-filled fissure veins that cut across stratigraphic layers.
Although the copper-mining region stretched about 100 miles from northeast to southwest, the most productive early mines, working fissure veins, were those at the north end in Keweenaw County (such as the Central, Cliff, and Phoenix mines), or at the south end in Ontonagon County (such as the Minesota Mine).
In Keweenaw County, the fissure lodes were nearly vertical mineralized zones with strike nearly perpendicular to that of the enclosing basalts and conglomerates. In Ontanogan county, by contrast, the fissures had strikes nearly parallel to, and dips slightly steeper than, the surrounding beds.
The miners sometimes found masses of native copper up to hundreds of tons. To extract a single mass of copper, miners could spend months chiseling it into pieces small enough to hoist out of the mine. Although they were pure copper, removing the masses took a great deal of effort, and was sometimes not even profitable. The majority of the copper recovered was "barrel copper" (pieces broken from the rock and hand sorted in the "rock house," and shipped to the smelter in barrels), and finer copper broken loose from the rock in stamp mills and separated by gravity in "buddles" or "jigs."

Strataform deposits

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Copper mining in Michigan
In the 1850s, mining began on stratiform native copper deposits in felsite-pebble conglomerates and in the upper zones of basalt lava flows (locally called amygdaloids). Although amygdaloid and conglomerate deposits tended to be lower-grade than the fissure deposits, they were much larger, and could be mined much more efficiently, with the ore blasted out, hoisted to the surface, and sent to stamp mills located at a different site. Amygdaloid and conglomerate mining turned out to be much more productive and profitable than fissure mining, and the majority of highly successful mines were on amygdaloid or conglomerate lodes. The first mine to successfully mine a strataform ore body was the Quincy Mine in 1856. The most productive deposit, the Calumet conglomerate, was opened by the Calumet and Hecla mining company in 1865.
While the most successful fissure mines had been at the north and south ends of the district, the conglomerate and amygdaloid mines, which produced the great majority of Michigan copper, were concentrated in the center of the district, almost all in Houghton County. The most productive conglomerate and amygdaloid mines were located along a strip about two miles wide and 24 miles long, from the Champion mine on the southwest to the Ahmeek mine on the northeast, passing through the towns of Houghton, Hancock, and Calumet.
In the early 20th century, copper companies began to consolidate. With very few exceptions, such as the Quincy Mine at Hancock, the mines in the Copper Country came under the control of two companies: the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company north of Portage Lake, and Copper Range Company south of Portage Lake.
Annual production peaked in 1916 at 266 million pounds (121,000 metric tons) of copper. Most mines closed during the great depression as a result of depressed copper prices. Many mines reopened during World War II, when wartime demand pushed copper prices higher. The end of the war brought an end to high prices, and nearly all companies closed, leaving only the Calumet and Hecla, Quincy, and Copper Range mining companies. Both Calumet and Hecla and Quincy survived largely by reprocessing the stamp sand left from older mining operations, leaching out copper left by more primitive processing techniques.[8]
By 1968 the formerly great Calumet and Hecla was purchased by Universal Oil and became the company's Calumet division. By this time the Calumet and Hecla's original conglomerate workings had been abandoned and stamp sand reclamation had ended. The mines did not even produce enough copper to supply the company's internal demand.[9] The company opened several new shafts and dewatered several old ones in hopes of finding additional wealth, but none were successful. Later that year, Calumet and Hecla's mine workers went out on strike, and the new owners closed the mines for good. Only the Copper Range company's White Pine mine remained open, and its ore was mostly copper sulfides, rather than native copper. Michigan's native copper industry was essentially dead, after producing 11 billion pounds (5.0 million metric tons) of copper.[10]
Several companies attempted to reopen copper mines during the next two decades, including attempts by the Homestake Mining Company. None of these attempts lasted more than a couple of years or proved profitable.

Economic and environmental impact

The copper industry was, for over 100 years, the life blood of the Copper Country. The town of Red Jacket (now Calumet) used a portion of its budget surplus to build The Calumet Theatre, an opulent opera house which hosted famous plays and acts from across the world. Many wealthy mine managers built mansions which still line the streets of former mining towns. Some towns which existed primarily due to copper mining include Calumet, Houghton, Hancock, and Ontonagon. As the mines began to close, the Copper Country lost its major economic base. The population declined sharply as miners, shop owners, and others supported by the industry left the area, leaving many small ghost towns along the mineral range.
Tourism and logging are now the major industries. The copper industry left many abandoned mines and buildings across the Copper Country. Some of these are now part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. Some mines, such as the Quincy Mine and the Delaware Mine, are open as tourist attractions. Many other mining lands are simply left abandoned.
Copper mining also took a significant impact on the environment. Mine rock processing operations left many fields of stamp sand, some of which grew so large as to become hazards to navigation in the Keweenaw Waterway. Most of these sterile sands are now superfund sites which are slowly being rehabilitated. Mines also required a great deal of wood, largely for supports in mine tunnels. Virtually every part of the Copper Country was cleared of timber, to the extent that only one small area of old-growth forest (the Estivant Pines) is left. Formerly cleared lands have been left to regrow, to the extent that many parcels of land are now being harvested on a limited basis by timber and paper companies.

White Pine mine

Spectacular specimen of elongated, spinel-twinned copper crystals from the old White Pine mine.

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The copper-bearing Nonesuch Shale at the south end of the Copper Country in Ontonagon County had been known since the 1800s. But the ore grades were too low, the ore mineral particles too small, and the copper was largely in sulfides instead of native copper. All these conditions made the shale deposits uneconomical, although repeated attempts were made to mine the shale at the Nonesuch mine.
In 1955 the Copper Range Company began large-scale mining at the White Pine mine, near the old Nonesuch mine. The deposit is a stratiform deposit in the lower 15 m of the Proterozoic Nonesuch Shale and the upper 2 m of the underlying Copper Harbor Conglomerate. The principal ore mineral was chalcocite, although native copper predominated in the lower part of the beds. The mine was very successful, producing more than 1.8 million metric tons of copper during its life. The White Pine mine, the last major copper mine in Michigan, shut down in 1995.
The company applied to government agencies to continue mining by in-situ leaching, using sulfuric acid to recover an additional 900 million pounds of copper by SX-EW. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved the permit in May 1996, and White Pine installed a pilot in-situ leaching project.[1] Native Americans of the Bad River Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin blockaded rail shipments of sulfuric acid to the mine (see Bad River Train Blockade); the mine began receiving acid shipments by truck. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which had previously held that it had no role in the permitting, reversed itself, and stated that White Pine would have to apply for a federal permit. White Pine, which had already started to recover copper from the pilot project, suspended solution mining in October 1996, and applied for to the EPA for the permit.[2] In May 1997 the company withdrew the EPA permit application, saying that further permitting delays had made the project uneconomical, and announced plans to begin reclamation of the mine site.
The tailings impoundment at the White Pine Mine is presently the site of significant environmental degradation. The University of Montana undertook extensive efforts to restore and revegetate the barren landscape from 1997-1999, but it is unclear whether this has been successful. The university has published a detailed report of its project.[3] Satellite images are available at (46°47′17.91″N 89°31′47.97″W).
In 2012, SubTerra used the mine for pharmaceutical research.[11]

Copper heritage

The Keweenaw Peninsula is the site of the most extensive known deposits of native copper in the world. Occurring here in relatively pure form, the red metal could be broken out of the rock and worked to make a wide variety of products, from jewelry and tools by its earliest miners to coins and electric wire by its final generations. Keweenaw copper was mined for approximately 7,000 years, from 5000 BCE until 1968. During the period for which records were kept, 1840–1968, more than 11 billion pounds (5 million metric tons) of copper were mined here. During the peak production years of World War I, 1916–1917, the annual copper yield reached a maximum of 270 million pounds (125,000 t).

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"(7) The entire picture of copper mining on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is best represented by three components: the Village of Calumet, the former Calumet and Hecla Mining Company properties (including the Osceola #13 mine complex), and the former Quincy Mining Company properties. The Village of Calumet best represents the social, ethnic and commercial themes. Extant Calumet and Hecla buildings best depict corporate paternalism and power, and the themes of extraction and processing are best represented by extant structures of the Quincy Mining Company."[2]

Ethnic heritage

Two ethnic groups, the Cornish and the Finns, are especially important in the heritage of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. When news of the region's rich native copper was first widely published in the 1830s, many families from the English county of Cornwall immigrated to the Upper Peninsula, bringing the Cornish pasty and their region's knowledge of hard-rock mining with them. Several park Heritage Sites, including the log cabin village of "Old Victoria," recall Cornish heritage in the region.
Later in the 1800s, many families from Finland emigrated to the United States. Until 1918, Finland was a colony of Russia. A large percentage of these Finns settled in the Western Upper Peninsula because of perceived similarities between their old and new homes, and found work in the Keweenaw. Finnish saunas can still be found throughout the area. Several park Heritage Sites, including the "Hanka Homestead", recall the Finnish influx.

Calumet Unit

The Calumet Unit of the Keweenaw National Historical Park includes many sites in and around the villages of Calumet and Laurium, which are not ghost towns but operating human communities that have survived the shutdown of their parent employer, the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, in 1968. By digging shafts into the rock, the men and owners of the Calumet & Hecla found geological formations of rock laced with nuggets of almost pure copper.
The Calumet & Hecla was the richest of the separate copper mines of the Keweenaw, and the towns built at the mine head reflect its productivity. A 1,200-seat opera house, large churches built of Lake Superior brownstone, and mansions built by the mining bosses survive as memories of the Calumet mine's glory years.
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Main Office of the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company (now the Headquarters of the National Historical Park)
The Company Library and Bathhouse for its employees.
Warehouse of the C&H Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan.

Quincy Unit

Main article: Quincy Mine
Quincy Unit, Keweenaw National Historical Park

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The Quincy Unit of the Keweenaw National Historical Park commemorates one of the most remarkable feats of engineering in northern Michigan, the 9,000-foot (2,700 m) deep Quincy Mine shaft. Nicknamed "Old Reliable" for its record of paying annual dividends for decades, the Quincy mine enjoyed a position on the rich copper rock of the Pewabic Lode. A private preservation foundation maintains the Quincy Mine's surface mine hoist, which is the largest steam-powered hoist in the world.
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Quincy Mine plan created by the HAER, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
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Quincy Smelting Works plan created by the HAER, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
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Mine Hoist Powerhouse for the Quincy Mine Hoist.

Heritage Sites

As of 2009, the Keweenaw National Historical Park operated in cooperation with 16 heritage sites in the Keweenaw Peninsula and nearby.[3]

Adventure Mining Company

The Adventure Mining Company is located at 200 Adventure Avenue in Greenland, Michigan.[3] The Adventure Mine operated in Greenland from 1850 until 1920, and consisted of five shafts, one of which descended 1,300 feet (400 m) beneath the surface.[4] Although the site seemed promising, the mine never turned a profit.[4] The Adventure Mining Company currently offers offers tours of the surface and underground portions of the Adventure Mine.[3]

A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum

The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum was located on the Fifth Floor of Electrical Resource Center at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan.[3] As of 2011, it is now located across from the Advanced Technology Development Complex.[5] The museum is named for Arthur Edmund Seaman, who worked at Michigan Tech in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was the museum's curator from 1928-1937.[6]
The mineral collection was established in the 19th century, and by 1890 numbered 27,000 specimens.[6] A museum to house the collection was constructed in 1908.[6] The museum has since moved several times, and the collection has grown to over 30,000 specimens, of which 8000 are on display.[7] The museum features an extensive mineral collection and exhibits on copper formation,[3] and has the world's best collection of crystallized native copper and native copper in crystallized calcite.”

Happy Ancestor Hunting!

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