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Mining claims in Arizona

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The hardrock mining industry owns gold, silver, and other precious metals and minerals beneath an estimated 641,883 acres of U.S. public land in Arizona, resources worth millions of dollars a year, acquired for as little as $0.84 per acre and held in perpetuity for a yearly rental fee as low as $0.62 an acre. Under a 132-year-old law originally intended to spur development of the West, an industry dominated by a handful of multinational corporations pays no federal royalties, and leaves behind a landscape of dramatically diminished value, scarred with tunnels, pits, and toxic waste piles.

Quick facts about mining claims in Arizona

• Total number of claim-holders: 4,033

• Acres of public land claimed by the mining industry, estimated: 641,883 (1 of every 56 acres of public land in Arizona)

• Dollars paid for each acre: as little as $0.84, and as little as $0.62 yearly rental fee

• Reimbursement to the federal government for gold, silver and other precious metals taken from public land: $0

• Companies owning minerals on at least 10,000 public acres: 26

• Percentage of claims held by foreign companies: 16%

• Land area ever claimed by the mining industry nationally, estimated: 79 million acres (the size of New Mexico)

EWG analysis of data compiled by the Bureau of Land Management.

Top Mining Claim Owners in Arizona Ranked by Acres Claimed

Companies have been consolidated to account for subsidiaries. View this table without consolidation.

 Company/IndividualHeadquartersNumber of ClaimsAcreage ClaimedDate(s) Filed
1 Phelps Dodge Mining Co Phoenix, AZ 4,065 67,581 1906 to 2000
2 ASARCO, a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico World HQ in Mexico 2,784 53,506 1898 to 2003
3 Dorene Gerwitz Tucson, AZ 120 19,200 1986 to 1993
4 Carrie Lynn Martin Tucson, AZ 120 19,200 1986 to 1993
5 Dennis J Martin Tucson, AZ 120 19,200 1986 to 1993
6 Irene Martin Tucson, AZ 120 19,200 1986 to 1993
7 Thomas M Martin Tucson, AZ 120 19,200 1986 to 1993
8 Jacquelyn Smiley Phoenix, AZ 120 19,200 1986 to 1993
9 BHP Billton World HQ in Australia 942 18,940 1903 to 2002
10 Sands Mining & Invst Phoenix, AZ 118 18,880 1986 to 1993
See all claim holders in Arizona

Some of the claimants in this table may be in partnership with other individuals or companies with a claim to the same land.


Counties in Arizona Ranked by Acres Claimed

 CountyNumber of ClaimsEstimated Acreage  
1 Yavapai County 3,727 106,599 details map
2 Pinal County 3,844 106,587 details map
3 Mohave County 2,918 103,578 details map
4 Pima County 2,903 64,167 details map
5 La Paz County 1,506 54,073 details map
6 Gila County 2,673 50,071 details map
7 Graham County 2,639 49,609 details map
8 Maricopa County 1,249 41,206 details map
9 Cochise County 841 18,082 details map
10 Coconino County 260 14,018 details map
See all counties


Examples of Mines in Arizona

Name of MineLocation of MineMine StatusMetal MinedOwner or Parent Company of Owner
Equatorial Mineral Park IncMohave County, AZOpenCopper OreEquatorial Mining Limited
Bagdad Copper MineYavapai County, AZOpenCopper OrePhelps Dodge
Silver Bell Copper (sw-ex)Pima County, AZOpenCopper OreASARCO
MorenciGreenlee County, AZOpenCopper OrePhelps Dodge
Mission ComplexPima County, AZOpenCopper OreASARCO
Copper Queen Branch MineCochise County, AZClosedCopper OrePhelps Dodge
Johnson Camp MineCochise County, AZSuspendedCopper OreNord Copper Corporation
Pinto ValleyGila County, AZClosedCopper OreBHP Billiton
San ManuelPinal County, AZClosedCopper OreBHP Billiton
Ray Copper MinePinal County, AZOpenCopper OreASARCO
See more mines in Arizona

Source: EWG analysis.