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Janos and Chihuahua to Mexico City. The property was a frustration, because Apaches held the surrounding mountains, and mines were sometimes abandoned for years at a time.
From 1833 to 1860, when New Mexico shifted allegiance to the United States, Santa Rita was a ghost town. Siquierios sold the property in 1860 to partners Sweet and Lacoste, who operated it off and on until 1871. At the time the operation has a small blast furnace yielding 12,000 pounds, shipped to Kansas, Pittsburgh and other markets.
The property was sold to Joel Parker Whitney of Boston in 1881. Whitney formed two companies to work the mines. One was the Santa Rita copper and Iron Company. But success still eluded the operatiors of he Santa Rita claims. Even though the railroad was now in Deming (only 50 miles way), the property was idle by 1890.
Whitney leased the property to the Hearst estate of California, and in 1899 he sold it to a group of men in New York associated with the Standar Oil Company, some of whom formed the Amalgamated Copper Company, which later became Anaconda. The Santa Rita Mining Company, which was organized, made no fortunes. Geologists of the time belived that the copper porphyry deposits, of the type occurring in Santa Rirta, had little value because their reserves were low-grade ore. Untill 1910, most production from the areas was spotty. Primitive underground mining methods, often relying on Chinese immigrants for labor, yielded most of the copper. Facilities were few and rustic. The interval
Mining in the Southwest New Mexico
"It should be noted that the commencement of the Chino Copper Company's open pit mining operation at
Santa Rita in 1910, was the reason that the city of Hurley, NM was created"
In the early 1800's when the Spanish colonial government was at war with the Apaches, soldier Jose Manuel Carrasco was befriended by a Apache tribesman. From him, Carrasco learned of the location of rich copper deposits at what is now Chino Mines. The area was then known as Santa Rita del Cobre. Today Chino is owned by copper giant Phelps Dodge and is located in Hurley, Nm , east of Silver City, NM.
Carrasco interested Don Francisco Manuel Elguea, a merchant from Chihuahua, To Elguea was given a concession known as the Santa Rita del Cobre Grant.
As early as 1801, the mine served as the principal source of copper for the mint in Mexico. The mines produced as much as 41 million pounds of copper prior to 1843.Later deposits yielded another 124 million pounds between 1845 and 1910, the date when open-pit mining began.
After Elguea died in 1809, others worked the mine. The property was subleased in 1825 to Sylvester Pattie and Robert McKight, both Americans, Mr. Coursier, a French resident of Chihuahua City, and Leonardo Siquieros. Santa Rita was under Mexican rule for 25 years following the War of Independence from Spain
in 1821. Mule trains carried the copper south through