Copper from Sand: A History of Copper Reclamation on Torch Lake, Houghton County, Michigan

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Michigan Technological University, 1999 - Abandoned mined lands reclamation - 246 pages
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The copper industry of the Keweenaw supported thousands of families at its height in the 1890's, yet not much has been written about the operation of the Keweenaw copper mines during the twentieth-century except in regard to the growing strain between management and labor and the eventual demise of the industry. It is true that by the early twentieth century, even the best mines of the Keweenaw had a hard time competing with production from larger mines of Montana, Arizona, New Mexico and increasing copper imports from overseas. The smaller local mines were closed or consolidated into larger, more successful companies. Previously independent companies such as Ahmeek, Allouez, Centennial and Osceola, were brought together in 1923 under the larger Calumet & Hecla.1 At the same time, the larger companies, such as Calumet & Hecla and Quincy Mining Company, came to the realization that the copper lodes on their properties were producing less copper per ton each year.2 To combat strong competition, low market prices, and increasing production costs as the shafts of the Keweenaw mines grew deeper and more dangerous, companies looked for less expensive sources of copper, both underground and under the waters of Torch Lake.

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