Industry

Getting the copper out of the ground was only the first step in the copper mining process. Once freed from its underground tomb, that copper would then have to undergo a milling and smelting process to transform it from mineral into commodity. Stamp mills would smash the copper-bearing rock into workable sizes, while a series of wash tables and jigs would work to separate the rich copper from the poor rock. From there the captured copper would be sent to smelters, where it would be melted in furnaces and formed into ingot for shipping. Many of these sprawling mill and smelter complexes were built in close proximity to the mines providing them with their copper – creating a second tier of industry scattered across the peninsula.

Then there’s a third layer of Copper Country industry – those providing the food, machinery, materials, and supplies the mining empire required. As the mines grew and expanded so to did these wide variety of satellite industries. Lumber mills dotted the lakes and rivers, several breweries churned out beer for local taverns, explosive plants created dynamite for the mines, and power companies built gas and electric generating facilities. But with the demise of the Copper Industry, these parasitic industries quickly perished as well and hardly survived beyond those mines that gave them life.