Morenci, Arizona


Unknown Unknown 1200.0126.0000.jpg CI-TN 126 Sepia 1200-0126-0000 1200.0126.0000 Print 8.5x14 Historic Photographs c. 1894 Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives


This photo shows a bird's eye view of Morenci in 1894.

Morenci is a company-mining town in Greenlee County, Arizona, that was founded by the Detroit Copper Mining Company of Arizona.  However, for many decades the biggest employer in Morenci and the owner of the town and Morenci Mine was the Phelps-Dodge Corporation.  On March 19, 2007, the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. bought out Phelps-Dodge Corporation and took over the operation of the Morenci Mine.  Today [2019], this is the largest copper mining operation in North America.  The Morenci Mine is one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world and located north of town. The town was a site of the Arizona Copper Mine Strike of 1983.  The economy of Morenci as well as that of the surrounding area is almost completely dependent on the Morenci Mine.  Between 2003 and 2008, the worldwide rise in copper prices led the mine to double its work force to 4,000 employees and increase production by 55 percent to an average of one million tons of ore per day.  Several hundred new homes were built, leading to a boom in the construction industry and all the homes in Morenci, new and old, remain owned by Freeport-McMoRan.


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