Copper Mining  Elmhurst College
Ore Crushing Water Reclamation/Tailings Copper Smelter  Chemistry Department
Flotation Ray Mine & Smelter  Electrorefining  Virtual ChemBook

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Asarco Ray Mine
Hayden, Arizona
Text edited by Rob Vugteveen, Director, Asarco Mineral Discovery Center

Ray Copper Mine:
Hayden Copper Smelter Home Page - graphic
Ray Copper Mine is located about 20 miles south of Superior, Arizona. Photos by C. Ophardt.
The left graphic shows the extensive amount of overburden, rock, and tailings from the mining operation. The pictures also show how the tailing banks erode, even though the climate is quite dry.

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Ray Copper Mine:
The left graphic (taken with a telephoto lens) shows the extensive "hole" that is dug - hundreds of feet deep and perhaps up to 3/4 mile long. A close up insert also shows the relative size of the large "shovel" and truck to haul the crushed rock. The truck tires are 10-15 feet in diameter to give an idea of the scale.

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Ray Mine Copper Smelter:

The left graphic shows several buildings associated with the Hayden Copper Smelter. The blue "pools of water" are actually sulfuric acid solutions containing copper sulfate concentrate. Copper sulfate is a bright blue color.
The smelter is the building with the tall smoke stack which was originally built to simply disperse the sulfur dioxide gas higher into the atmosphere where it would be dilute more down wind. This was the first method of air pollution control, which was really no solution at all except for areas near the plant.
More extensive pollution controls are now used to "scrub" or remove the sulfur dioxide from escaping. This sulfur dioxide in now converted into sulfuric acid which is a valuable by product. At the Hayden smelter, 2,500 tons of sulfuric acid are produced each day.