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Take Hwy 152 east of Silver City ( Toward Kingston) to view the 1500 ft. deep and 1.5 mile across Chino Mine
The Old Hurley Store - The Company Store
In 1910, Chino Mining Company took over the old Santa Rita Mines and began what is now one of the world's largest open- pit mining operations. To process the ore, Chino built a converter and established the town of Hurley just 10 miles south of the Santa Rita site. The Company Store was one of the first buildings in the new town. Chino supplied merchandise for the store from trains that passed within 10 feet of the back of the buildings. A steel door beside the tracks was opened and the goods slid down a cement chute into the basement. A large hand- pulled elevator was used to move the merchandise into the store.
The Company Store carried everything miners and their families needed; from clothing and groceries to kerosene for their lamps, hay for the animals and coal for their stoves. In 1912 , the company added a new brick building which housed the payroll office in the back with a area above for tools and hardware. The remainder of the new building, with it's 16 foot high ceilings, became a department store.
Joseph and Karin Wade purchased the buildings in 2005, and renovated the interior of the brick building to create their new JW Art Gallery, picture frame shop, gift store and museum.
The interval from 1903 to 1912 witnessed very little production, but there was plenty happening.
John Murchison Sully, a mining engineer from MIT, evaluated the property on behalf of General Electric Company. Far from being disappointed by what he found, Sully was excited. He directed a drilling program amenable to open- pit mining methods of the type perfected at the huge Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah. There, Daniel Jackling had proved to the world that open- pit mining of low grade copper ores could be enormously profitable. Sully reasoned that steam shovel mining could finally make Sata Rita deposit a success.
In 1909, the Chino Copper Company was orn. The first steam shovel bit into Whim hHill in September 1910, and construction was underway on a concentrator, power plant, and ancillary facilities atht e old railroad siding known a Hurley. Ten miles from the mine, available water supply, gentle slope of land, and adjacent flat ground foe construction of shopd, offices and the town site.
The community os Santa ita grew from a frontier settlement into a self - contained company town with over 5,000 residents. When the mine expanded in the 1950's higher - grade ore was discovered directly under the town of Santa Rita. Residents were directed to relocate, and the mine encmmpassed what had been the town. People born in Santa Rita ( which no loner existed after 1960s) came to call themselves " People born in Space."
Today, Chino, now the Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold Company, continues to produce copper through the electro- winning process. The tailings of the original mine are being leached with a sulphuric acid and water and the results sent to a processing plnat to create copper cathodes.