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Gibson Mine: a historic restoration by the Friars

Published by:
Mining Engineering

Pejman Eshraghi, Haley & Aldrich; and Michael C. Ford, Snell & Wilmer

The Gibson Mine, located 70 miles east of Phoenix, experienced a boom time during the early 1900s with the extraction of high-grade copper ore and to a lesser extent, silver. A century later, unfortunately, the once-successful mine had become an environmental liability for its current owners, the Franciscan Friars of Santa Barbara. That downward trajectory changed, beginning in 2006 with the first phase of reclamation and the excavation of 100,000 tons of heap leach materials, which were then transported for copper recovery. When compared to the alternative of landfill disposal, this innovative solution saved an estimated $3 million. The Friars then used a grant from the Arizona Department of Water Quality to fund site contouring , stormwater management, and the application of a soil and vegetative cover, thus restoring the site to premining conditions.

Link to the publication on the Mining Engineering website.