The Phoenix Arizona Republic (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0923biz-miami0923.html) reported last week that Freeport McMoran is considering re-opening inactive mines in Arizona and Colorado because copper and molybdenum are near all-time high prices (a story apparently not picked up by the news media here in southern Arizona).
Freeport is reported as looking at reopening or expanding Globe/Miami, Bisbee, Clifton/Morenci and Leadville, Colo. They have been drilling at the Lavender Pit in Bisbee which has been closed since 1974 [right].
Insiders tell me not to believe everything in the article but that the gist of it is correct. I asked if the Ajo mine was on the list to possibly reopen and the laughing response was that it could probably be purchased for a pretty low price. (It's currently a candidate for an expensive reclamation and thus a liability on the books.)
To meet the demand, Freeport is running 7 days on, 7 days off, for workers driving or being bussed from cities around Arizona. The latest word is that the labor shortage is so severe that they will be flying in workers from Las Vegas and Dallas for one week shifts at Morenci.
On another note, Paul Lindberg enthused about the mineral resources still in the ground at the Jerome mine. During his talk at the Ores and Orogenesis talk in Oro Valley on Friday, he told how there were few assays or other analyses during the mine's early exploration and much of the potential was not determined. He estimated only 20% of the ore body has been exposed or excavated. The mine was a major producer of copper, zinc, lead, silver, and gold from 1883 to 1953.