I took a drive this morning to an open pit copper mine near Silver city. I could see some of the tailing piles when I went to Silver city the other day but I couldn't go and look at it because I had groceries in the truck that I needed to put in the refrigerator.
The Spanish called it the Chino mine but later on it was named the Santa Rita mine because it used to be just outside the town of Santa Rita. but eventually the mine ate the town as it grew to miles and miles of tailing piles and pits.
I was told there was an observation point along the highway so you could pull over and get a good view of part of the operation. But I found that the pullover was locked up behind a chain-link fence with Barbwire on top. This and the fact that all along the highway the mining site is protected by the same tall chain-link fence with barbed wire on top made it fairly difficult to get a decent picture.
It is truly amazing the amount of dirt and rock man can move if he really wants to. It seems like I drove for several miles past huge tailing piles that dominated the landscape. Open pit copper mining takes up a lot of space. Copper ores are often low-grade and you have to process a lot of dirt to get a pound of copper out of it.
The most interesting thing to me besides how physically spectacular it is, was when I got home and read about it on the Internet I found out that one of the early owners of the mine was Spencer Penrose who is a very famous man in Colorado. Penrose made money and fame in the early days of the Cripple Creek gold rush and among other things built the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs which is where the rich and famous stay when they're in the area. And built the Pike's Peak highway where the race to the top of Pike's Peak is held every summer
I once had a teeny, tiny, almost microscopic connection to Spencer Penrose back when I owned property in Cripple Creek. One of my properties had once been owned by Spencer Penrose back in the late 1890s. Which isn't that odd because Penrose owned a lot of property around Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs.
Chino mine tailing piles
Chino mine tailing piles near silver city New Mexico
Tailing piles and mine workings of the Chino Coppermine