The Lavender Pit

Bisbee Travel Blog

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The Lavender Pit

The Lavender Pit covers an area of 300 acres and is 900 feet deep. Large tonnages of dump rock are placed around Bisbee, notably north of the residential district of Warren and other parts of the southeastern Mule Mountains area. This dump material, along with the large open hole of the pit, is unsightly and unpopular with many tourists and residents, but was typical of the mining practices of the time. I for one am glad strip mining is all but done.
The Lavender Pit is a former open pit copper mine near Bisbee, Arizona. It is located near the famous Copper Queen Mine. The Lavender Pit was named in honor of Harrison M. Lavender (1890-1952), who as Vice-President and General Manager of Phelps Dodge Corporation, conceived and carried out this plan for making the previously unprofitable low-grade copper bearing rock of the area into commercial copper ore.  Phelps Dodge Corporation opened the Lavender Pit in 1950, at the site of the earlier, higher-grade Sacramento Hill mine.

The Lavender Pit
Production through 1974 totaled 86 million tons of ore averaging about 0.7% copper, or about 600,000 tons of copper produced, with gold and silver as byproducts. About 256 million tons of waste were stripped, but a portion of this was acid-leached for additional copper. Turquoise was also a by-product of this mining activity. Bisbee turquoise, also known as Bisbee Blue, is amongst the finest turquoise found anywhere in the world. Harriot  Africancrab is on the way to pick me up & we may go explore Bisbee in more detail.  Mining operations in the pit ended in 1974.  Because of the competent host rock, this pit has much steeper sides than other open pit copper mines in the southwest area.

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The Lavender Pit
The Lavender Pit
The Lavender Pit
The Lavender Pit
The Lavender Pit
The Lavender Pit
The Lavender Pit WWII Memoral
The Lavender Pit WWII Memoral
The Lavender Pit Plaque
The Lavender Pit Plaque
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photo by: oldschoolbill