Mining Methods and Costs

The Globe Mining District is in the southeast central part of Arizona, in Gila County. Globe, with a population of about 7000, is the terminus of the Arizona Eastern R.R., a branch line 130 miles long that connects with the Southern Pacific R.R. at Bowie.

In 1874, prospectors crossing the Pinal Mountains from the west located what is generally known as the Old Dominion mine. For several years, it attracted little attention, because of the greater interest aroused by the discovery of high-grade silver ores in some of the foothills northeast of Globe. About six years later, the prospector turned his attention to the abundant copper ore revealed by surface workings along the Old Dominion vein, and, in 1884, the Old Dominion company erected two 30-ton furnaces. From 1888 to 1893, the Old Dominion company is said to have maintained an average annual production of about 8,000,000 lb. of copper. Until Dec. 1, 1898, all supplies had to be freighted into Globe by wagons and the mines of the district operated intermittently because of high expenses, but with the advent of the railroad the Old Dominion company continued to be a large and steady producer.

In the Globe district, the production of copper far exceeds in importance that of any other metal. There are four operating companies along the Old Dominion vein and the total annual product of these properties for 1923 was about 45,000,000 lb. of copper.

The unit size of the mineral tracts in the district is the regulation mining claim, 600 ft. wide by 1500 ft. long, and all ownerships are held in fee.

Globe is 3600 ft. above sea level, and lies between the Apache Mountains to the east and the Pinal Mountains to the west. The principal drainage of the district is northward through Pinal creek into the Salt River. The general slope from the high point along the vein, where the Superior & Boston mine is, to Pinal creek, where the Old Dominion mines are, is about 250 ft. to the mile.


The oldest rocks in the district are pre-Cambrian crystalline schists known as the Pinal schist, which are the basement upon which all the later rocks were deposited. These latter rocks comprise shale, conglomerates and quartzites with a total thickness varying from 500 to 800 ft. and are thought to be Cambrian in age. Overlying these rocks is a series of limestones, known as Globe limestones, that vary in thickness from 300 to 500 ft. and range in age from Devonian to Pennsylvanian.

These rocks have been cut by numerous faults, and following or accompanying the faulting large sills and masses of diabase were intruded between the sedimentary beds. A long period of erosion followed, during which the region was deformed by further faulting to its present topography and during which the original ores were deposited.

The main fault in this district and the one along which most of the mining is carried on is known as the Old Dominion fault; it varies from 3 to 50 ft. in width and is developed for a length of approximately 3 miles. The fissure has a variety of strike and dip but is roughly north-east and southwest, with a dip of about 80° to the south.

The fault is fairly conspicuous and is easily followed, except where it is wholly in diabase, when its course is marked by a zone of brecciation stained with hematite and salts of copper.

The vein is commonly made up of brecciated shale or quartzite and mineralized with oxide of iron and the ores of copper, the overburden varying from 200 to 600 ft. The mineralogical character of the ores along the vein is simple. The oxidation of the sulfides has resulted in simple products. The pyrite and chalcopyrite have their sulfur replaced by oxygen, carbon dioxide, or silica and become hematite, limonite, cuprite, malachite, or chrysocolla. The secondary sulfides recognized in the district are chalcocite and bornite. Native gold, silver, and copper have been observed in small amounts within the zone of oxidation.


Most of the exploration along the Old Dominion vein has been done by test pitting, tunneling, trenching, shaft-sinking, drifting, and cross-cutting. All development is carefully sampled, the outline and extent of ore body carefully determined, and ore estimated on a basis of 11 cu. ft. per ton. The production, as indicated by exploitation, has proved the method sufficiently accurate.

Change in Mning Method

The principal mining method formerly in use was the square-set method but the decreasing copper content and the increasing cost of timber, together with the increasing cost of labor and supplies, made it imperative that a cheaper method be substituted. In some places along the vein where the ground is heavy and where it is imperative to keep timber close to the working face, square-setting is used, but in general that method has been superseded by newer and more economical methods; the selection of method depends on the size and shape of the orebody and the character of vein filling and walls.

Sampling and Estimating Reserves

The method of sampling is far from elaborate; grab samples only are taken from each round blasted daily. A record is kept of all samples taken in the block of ore lying between any two raises and the numerical average for the month is assumed to represent the value of the ore mined that month.

When estimating the reserve, which is done the first of every year, the area of each block of ground remaining between any two raises is measured on the profile tracings with a planimeter. This area multiplied by its average width gives the contents in cubic feet. This figure divided by 11 (11 cu. ft. ore in place is equivalent to 1 ton) is reported as the tonnage for that block. The numerical average of the year’s samples of ore broken, together with the assay values of the drift over this section, is reported as the assay value of the block remaining.

The total ore reserve is computed by multiplying the number of tons by the per cent, for each block. This product divided by the total reserve tonnage gives the average per cent., which practically checks with the heads reported by the mill. Blocks of ground that have been worked out have been found to check within 0.5 per cent, on both tonnage and value reported.


The section of the Old Dominion vein along which the Iron Cap Copper Co. is mining is about 3500 ft. long, and the width of the vein varies from 3 to 40 ft. with an average dip of about 80°. The vein material is a hard brecciated quartzite or shale between fairly good walls. The distribution of values through the deposit is irregular and some sorting is resorted to. Very few waste bodies occur in the ore zone, however, and when found are usually left in place until stopes are ready for waste filling; they are then blasted down and become part of the gob.

The inclined cut-and-fill system is used throughout the mine. This method requires very little timber; stope floors are carried on an incline of about 34°, which eliminates most of the labor of shoveling but which is not so steep as to constitute a hazard from rolling boulders.

The average stope temperature is about 78°, average relative humidity 88 per cent. Production is approximately 150 tons per 8-hr. shift of 50 men. This includes all underground labor, but only about 50 per cent, of the shift are on actual stoping operations.

Fig. 1 shows the successive steps from the starting of a stope to its finish. This plan calls for a main shaft for the handling of all men and materials and the opening up of the mine by a series of levels placed approximately 100 ft. apart.

The Iron Cap Copper Co. has two three-compartment shafts, each compartment 4½ by 5 ft. in the clear, timbered with 10 X 10-in. timber sets on 5-ft. centers and lagged with 2 by 12-in. lagging. The Iron Cap shaft, the only one at present operating is 1540 ft. deep, and is in the hanging wall. Commencing at the 800-ft. level, stations 15 ft. high by 40 to 60 ft. long are cut every 100. ft. Station sets are 10 by 10-in.

timber on 5-ft. centers with a drop of 6-in. on each set, leaving the back end of the station 11 ft. high.

Loading pockets were cut above the 1100-ft. level and under the 1300-ft. level; raises driven from each pocket accommodate the ore mined on three levels.

The shaft is so conveniently located with respect to the vein that all ground between shaft and vein constitutes the length of the station. Drifts 5 by 7 ft. are then driven along the footwall, no timber being used until stopes are started. Fig. 2 shows the arrangement and dimensions of shaft, station crosscut, and drift.

Mining Methods

As soon as the drifts have advanced far enough, raises with a minimum cross-section of 5 by 10 ft. are driven on 125-ft. centers. The sill floor sets of these raises are timbered with 10 by 10-in. timber. Posts are 8½ ft. high, sets placed on 5-ft. centers. Above the sill floor set, however, the timber is 8 by 8 in. Posts are 5 ft. 4 in. long.

The manway only is timbered with what is termed a “clap-me-down” set. The posts are set as nearly over each other as possible,

the cap is cut to fit the ground and is well blocked; 3-in. by 12-in. by 6-ft. lining boards keep the manway clean. A 6 by 6-in. sprag in the chute end flush with the last cap serves as staging for the machine men.

All headings are given definite numbers, which indicate to a certain extent their location with respect to the shaft. Headings to the east of the shaft have an even number and headings to the west, an odd number. Raises are numbered consecutively from the shaft in each direction. For instance, 902 raise No. 4 would be the fourth raise east of the shaft on the 900-ft. level. Stopes are designated as 902 stope east or west of raise No. 4.

Stopes may be started as soon as the raise has been holed through to the level above. The back of the original drift is first broken down to a height of 15 ft. and the ore mined from footwall to hanging wall. This sill-floor stope is then timbered with 10 by 10-in. sets with square framing. Sets are placed on 5-ft. centers; posts are 8½ ft. long. If the vein is not over 8 ft. wide, the cap is cut to fit the ground. In some cases where the vein is 6 ft. wide or less, and walls are exceptionally hard, hitches are cut to receive the cap and no posts are used.

A temporary chute is placed 25 ft. on each side of the original raise; permanent chutes are placed 50 ft. on each side of the original raise with a manway between.

Filling Stopes

As soon as all sill-floor timber has been placed, the sets are lagged over with a double floor of 3 by 12-in. planks and stoping starts on the first floor at the original raise. The ground is blasted out around the raise as high as safety will permit, the ore is then removed and filling poured in from the level above, the waste taking its own angle of repose. When the waste filling is about 3 ft. from the back of the stope it is roughly leveled off and floored with 3-in. by 12-in. by 5-ft. planks. Cleats of scrap timber are nailed to the floor to enable machinemen to move around easily and a cut about 6 ft. high is taken each side of the raise. When this cut is completed, the floor is taken up and piled out of the way and the opening is filled as before; the flooring is again laid and another cut taken. The flooring is used until it is worn out.

As the stope passes the temporary chute, the timber from this chute is salvaged for use elsewhere. As the toe of the incline reaches the permanent chute, the original raise timbers are salvaged as the stope progresses and are used to build up the permanent chutes and manway.

In all main drifts 2-in. air lines and ¾-in. water lines are carried, 1-in. air lines and ½-in. water lines are run down each original raise and up each center manway, so that drilling connections may be made at either the top or the bottom of the incline.

As stopes hole through to the level above, drift timbers are caught up and held in place until they can be supported by 8 by 8-in. sets placed upon the filling; these are eventually filled in and the original drift left intact.

Waste fill for stopes is obtained from development work, from shrinkage stopes above the ore zone, and from old filled stopes where no damage can be done by allowing them to cave.

Drilling and Blasting

All stoping is done with wet hand-rotated stopers using 7/8-in. quarter-octagon hollow steel. The starter bit is 1¾ in. and decreases 1/8 in. on each length of steel. Thirty-five per cent, gelatin powder is used in blasting all holes in stopes.

A grab sample is taken from all rounds blasted and a copy of the assays is furnished to bosses daily. All broken material is hand trammed in 16-cu. ft. end-dump, roller-bearing cars run on 12-Ib. rails.

The method adopted for drilling drifts, raises, and shaft sinking do not call for any special mention. This work is usually done on contract, the company providing all tools, equipment, and supplies; and the contractor providing all labor. The average price paid for drifting is $4.40 per linear foot with a minimum cross-section of 5 by 7 ft. The price for raises with a minimum cross-section of 5 by 10 ft. is $4.50 for the first 50 ft. and $5 per foot for the remainder. Shaft sinking averages about $50 per foot, depending largely on the character of rock being drilled and the amount of water likely to be encountered. All drifting and shaft sinking are done with water Leyners using 1¼-in. hollow round steel with double-taper cross bits. The starter bit is 2 in. and decreases 1/8-in. on each length of steel.

Blasting in all development work is done with 40 per cent, 1 1/8-in. gelatin powder. All development is carefully sampled and accurate assay maps brought up to date every 30 days. About 1 ft. of development is done for every 12 tons of ore mined.


Tables 1 and 2 show average detailed costs of stoping and development work per ton of ore for 85,211 tons mined in 1923. These costs constitute approximately 50 per cent, of the total cost of mining. At

present 30 miners break all ground in development work and stopes, including waste to fill stopes, and supply 300 tons of ore daily. There is an average of 100 men employed underground and a total of 135 at the mine. All labor in stopes is on a “day’s pay” basis.

Machinery and Surface Plant

The surface equipment consists of an Allis Chalmers double-drum hoist driven by a 250-hp., 440-volt, 25-cycle electric motor, each drum holding 1800 ft, of 1 1/8-in. 6 X 19 Lang lay cable. All hoisting is done in counterbalance at a speed of 700 ft. per min. Ore is hoisted from the pocket through two compartments in 4-ton skips and dumped direct into a choke feed Austin No. 7½ gyratory crusher, which breaks to about 2 in. This material then passes through a trommel and the oversize is fed to a Symons 48-in. vertical disk crusher, the final product being ½ in. A belt conveyor carries it to the ore bins, and from there it is taken to the mill, ½ mile away, by a Westinghouse 6-ton locomotive operating over a 24-in. gage electric railroad on 550-volt d.c. current.

A cage for hoisting men is hung under the skip, and provision is made for connecting a second cage underneath if necessary. An unbalanced dinkey cage is operated in the third compartment by a 10 by 18-in. duplex, direct-acting sing!e-reel Ottumwa hoist; this cage is used only to lower supplies. Skips and cages are both equipped with safety catches and are inspected daily.


At present, the water is handled by electrically driven pumps in two lifts, from the 1500 to the 1300-ft. level, and from this level to the mill on the surface. Both pumps are on the 1300-ft. level. A Lane & Bowler 500-gal. deep-well pump, six-stage, driven by a 40-hp. motor lifts the water from the 1500-ft. level through an 8-in. pipe and discharges into two 60,000-gal. concrete sumps on the 1300-ft. level. The water gravitates into a 300-gal. Aldrich quintuplex plunger pump driven by a 150-hp. motor and pumps through a 6-in. pipe direct to the mill on the surface, about ½ mile from the collar of the shaft.

Air Compression

Air for drilling is furnished by a steam-driven 3000-cu. ft. O. R. C. Ingersoll-Rand compressor. A Sullivan 1500-cu. ft. tandem, compound, direct-connected, steam-driven compressor is idle at present but can be used in an emergency.


Ventilation is provided by one Sturtevant multivane fan pulling 65,000 cu. ft. at 3½-in. water-gage pressure, driven by a 75-hp. motor, belt-connected. This exhaust fan is at the collar of the Williams shaft and is operated 14 hr. per day. Air is drawn down through the Iron Cap shaft to the lowest mine level and allowed to work upward through the stopes, finally finding its way out through the Williams workings and up the Williams shaft.

Lighting and Signaling

Stations are lighted by 32-c.p., 100-watt, 110-volt electric bulbs; main tramming drifts are lighted by 16-c.p. 40-watt, 110-volt electric bulbs. Lights in stopes are provided by carbide lamps carried by each miner.

Western Electric, local-battery system telephones are located on each shaft station and at the collar of the shaft. All signals between cagers and hoisting engineer are over an electric signal system, supplemented by rope bell.

All electric power used is bought from the Inspiration Copper Co. at Miami, Ariz., and brought over a private line a distance of 7 mi. All steam power is furnished by three 250-hp. Babcock & Wilcox water- tube boilers.


A Member.—What do they put on the filling?

A. L. Walker.—They put lagging and use that lagging until it is worn out, gradually moving it from one place to another.

A. Neustaedter, Roselle Park, N. J.—Do they put up square-set raises?

A. L. Walker.—They put up square-set raises, but use square sets only when it is imperative. If the ground is at all soft or dangerous they use stulling.

A. Neustaedter.—Cribbing would not do.

A. L. Walker.—It might in certain cases. Of course, in the old days, the square-set system was used altogether. In the Old Dominion mine, where the orebodies were 40 or 60 ft. wide and sometimes 60 ft. high, square sets were used altogether.

A. Neustaedter.—Do they work the square-set stopes on the rail too?

A. L. Walker.—Yes; all the orebodies above the eighth level in the Old Dominion were worked with the square-set system. About 1893, however, that system became so expensive that we developed a system of heavy stulling to support the roof whenever possible.