Who owns the west?

Phelps Dodge Mining Co

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Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries are a few of 92,125 beneficiaries of a 131-year-old federal mining law that gives away precious metals, minerals, and even the title to the land itself for less than $10 an acre. Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries own the minerals under an estimated 124,297 acres of claimed land, have gained title to an estimated 15,715 acres of lands previously owned by the public, and have submitted mining plans and notices that encompass 30,296 acres of BLM-managed land, not including the acreages of mines they may operate on Forest Service land. giving Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries more total land holdings (claims and patents) than over 99.5% of all other mining interests.


1 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Subsidiaries Include

Cyprus Thompson Creek (100%)
Chino Mines Co (100%)
Cobre Mining Co (100%)
Climax Molybdenum Company (100%)
Mount Emmons Mining Co (100%)

Partners Include

Heisei Mining Corp, David R Woodward, Chino Mines Co, MM Holdings Inc, South Fork Mining Co

Information on subsidiaries and parent companies shown here represents our best estimate of corporate structure at the time of this website release, and are drawn from various publicly available sources. Please report any noted omissions and errors to EWG with a credible source or citation. Thank you.

Overview of Ownership

Statistics on this page include the ownership of subsidiaries. View this page without subsidiary information included.

 ClaimsPatentsMining Plans & Notices
Number7,105 151 44
Estimated Acreage124,297 15,715 30,296

Find these features on a map.

Source: EWG analysis of US BLM data.

Examples of Mines

These mines are owned by Phelps Dodge Mining Co, its subsidiaries, or its parent company.

Name of MineLocation of MineMine StatusMetal MinedMap Link
MorenciGreenlee County, AZOpenCopper Oremap
Bagdad Copper MineYavapai County, AZOpenCopper Oremap
Sierrita Copper MinePima County, AZOpenCopper Oremap
Tyrone Copper (SX-EW) MineGrant County, NMOpenCopper Oremap
Miami Copper (SX-EW) MineGila County, AZClosedCopper Oremap
Chino Copper MineGrant County, NMSuspendedCopper Oremap
HendersonClear Creek County, COOpenMolybdenummap
Thompson Creek Molybdenum MineCuster County, IDOpenMolybdenummap
Copper Queen Branch MineCochise County, AZClosedCopper Oremap
ContinentalGrant County, NMSuspendedCopper Oremap
SaffordGraham County, AZProposedCoppermap

Source: EWG analysis.



Like all U.S. claimholders, Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries acquired ownership of precious metals and minerals on U.S. public land for about $2 per acre, and maintains possession of the claim with a small per-acre fee, typically $5 each year. Phelps Dodge Mining Co pays no royalties to the federal government for metals and minerals mined from this land.

For Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries:

Claims by State.

StateNumber of ClaimsEstimated AcreageDate(s)
Arizona 4,06567,5811906 - 2000
New Mexico 1,39728,2751906 - 2000
Idaho 91917,3081939 - 2000
Colorado 5567,6621944 - 1998
Nevada 951,9631956 - 1995
Utah 489921990 - 1993
Montana 244961957 - 1973
Wyoming 1211994
U.S. Total 7,105124,2971906 - 2000

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Source: EWG analysis of US BLM data.


Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries are some of the 63,768 beneficiaries of a long-standing federal subsidy called "patenting" that allows mining interests to purchase public land for no more than $5 an acre. Since acquiring title to the land, Phelps Dodge Mining Co may have mined it, sold it, leased it, or passed it on to heirs or other corporate interests. Regardless of who owns the property now, the U.S. public has lost all rights- metals, minerals, and title - on land that was once public park or forest.

For Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries:

Patents by State.

StateNumber of PatentsEstimated AcreageDate(s)
Arizona 1009,8551906 - 2001
Idaho 32,3021985 - 2000
Colorado 201,8851919 - 1947
New Mexico 251,2251918 - 1983
Nevada 23651984 - 1985
Washington 1841922
U.S. Total 15115,7151906 - 2001

Find these features on the map.

Source: EWG analysis of US BLM data.

Mining Plans & Notices on BLM Land

Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries are some of the 3,323 mine operators on U.S. BLM lands with mining plans and notices listed as currently active in government records, operating under laws that allow mining interests to extract and sell precious metals and minerals previously held by the public. Phelps Dodge Mining Co may also operate mines on Forest Service lands, which are not contained in the LR2000 database that is the backbone of this website. Because the government often fails to promptly close out records for mines no longer active, active mining may be completed for some of the operations represented by plans and notices in this website. But regardless of the status of mining operations on a particular site, filings of plans and notices are indicative of mining on the property - whether past, present, or planned. Mining operations led by Phelps Dodge Mining Co may well have left behind permanent pollution. In 2001 mines generated 45 percent of all pollution in EPA's Toxic Release Reporting system while accounting for just 0.36 percent of all industrial facilities.

For Phelps Dodge Mining Co and its subsidiaries:

Plans and Notices on BLM land by State.

StateNumber of Plans and Notices on BLM landEstimated AcreageDate(s)
Arizona 1928,9841981 - 1996
New Mexico 51,2271995 - 2002
Montana 3721984 - 1996
Colorado 151989
Idaho 150
California 111992
Nevada 1311980 - 1999
Oregon 111990
U.S. Total 4430,2961980 - 2002

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Source: EWG analysis of US BLM data.

Source: EWG analysis of Bureau of Land Management's Land and Mineral Records 2000 (LR2000) data system. For claims, acreages are estimated based on maximum allowable size of claims. For patents, acreages are taken directly from the LR2000 database where available, and are estimated based on maximum allowable size of claim that preceded the patent where acreages are not noted in LR2000. All notices are assumed to be five acres in size, and the size of plans are calculated directly as the size of the land represented by the legal land description in the LR2000 database. The acreages we estimate through these methods would tend to overestimate the actual amount. We welcome corrections here, and would welcome a federal data management system that included the acreages involved in these important federal land transactions.