Anaconda Copper

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ANACONDA COPPER was one of the largest copper-mining companies in the world and the principal producer of the Butte district of Montana. It was organized in 1881 as the Anaconda Silver Mining Company when entrepreneur Marcus Daly, having persuaded James B. Haggin, Lloyd Tevis, and George Hearst to purchase for $30,000 the small Anaconda silver mine, then only sixty feet deep. The ore contained just enough copper to facilitate the recovery of the silver for which it was being worked, but at greater depth, it became evident that the mine's principal content was copper. A copper smelter was erected in 1884, and three thousand tons of ore were being treated daily by 1889. By 1887 the Montana mines became the leading copper-producing region in the nation, ahead of Michigan and Arizona. Continuing to expand through the purchase of other mines, the company was reorganized as the Anaconda Mining Company in 1891, with a capital of $25,000,000. The Hearst interests were sold to the Exploration Company, London, and the company was reorganized in 1895 as the Anaconda Copper Mining Company.


Hyde, Charles K. Copper for America: The United States Copper Industry from Colonial Times to the 1990s. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998.

Joralemon, Ira B. Romantic Copper, Its Lure and Lore. New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1935.

Murphy, Mary. Mining Cultures: Men, Women, and Leisure in Butte, 1914–41. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.

T. T.Read/h. s.

See alsoCopper Industry ; Montana .