The Asarco Mine Tour began at their Discovery Center, where we boarded a shuttle bus with our guide and tour group. We visited the Mission Mine, which runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. On the drive out to see the pit, we passed the trailings mounds. These huge piles of rocks are discarded material.
Here’s the pit! It is 2 miles long! Each level you see going down is about 40 feet high. This mine produces more than 100,000 tons of copper every year.
When we arrived at the pit viewing area, the explosives team was there! I chatted with them while they were waiting to make sure everyone was out of the blast zone. They were really friendly and told me about placing the charges and about the mine in general. Then we watched the rocks get blown up!
Then we got to visit the mill, where they crush the rocks and start pulling out the copper.
Moving tons and tons of rock all day long means you need big trucks! The shuttle bus brought us back to the Discover Center, where they have some retired trucks to check out. This is an old scoop:
And look at this ridiculously gigantic dump truck!
The current model can fit this one in its truck bed!! Bonkers!