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Mining People Magazine

www.miningpeople.org

estimates it will employ about 1,500

people on an ongoing basis. He says a

lot of them will be using new technology

to operate underground equipment

remotely from the surface, enabling them

to avoid sweltering temperatures and

underground hazards.

For those who do need to venture

underground, special equipment is

needed to bring the mine’s oven-like

temperatures down to a level the human

body can tolerate.

“There are deeper mines in the world,

and there are hotter mines in the world,

it put on their bodies… to be able to

have new technologies implemented

to make it a hospitable environment is

something obviously we had to tackle

before we could really start developing

this operation.”

The site has an interesting story; mining

began there more than a century ago, in

the late 1800s. The original Magma Mine

began producing in 1912 and became

one of the largest copper producers in

the United States. The 4,000-foot shaft

that is now being made deeper was

opened in 1970 and operated into the

1990s, when Magma Copper shut down.

While there was still a lot of copper ore

on the site and nearby, Klenk says the

economics of mining copper were very

different at that time than today – and

mining lower-grade ore was not feasible.

Along with the increased demand for

copper, he says technology developed in

the decades since – advances in things

like shaft sinking techniques, remote

operation of equipment, and automation

– is a big part of what makes it possible

now.

“Technology has made underground

mining more feasible,” he says. “To mine

but there’s not very many that mine at

this depth at this temperature. Without

our cooling systems, it would be roughly

180 degrees Fahrenheit down there. So

we’ve had to build a purpose-engineered

cooling system to be able to chill the air

at that depth to get it to an environment

of about 80 degrees where our workforce

can be down there and work safely,”

Klenk says.

“If you talk to some of the folks in the

community that worked in the old

operations – and it was hot even at

the 4,000-foot level where they were

operating at – it was hot, and the strain

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A sign for Resolution Copper sits on the site of

its environmental cleanup project in Superior,

AZ, with Apache Leap, a significant local

landmark, in the background.