On July 3 copper joined the ranks of Arizona’s state symbols as the official state metal. Copper won the honor after a fourth grade civics class proposed the idea to state Senator Steve Smith. Freeport-McMoran donated a copper specimen from Morenci to the Arizona Capitol Museum for display in the State Symbols exhibit. (See the installation ceremony here!)
Copper and copper mining played a vital role in the state’s development and is one of the five Cs of Arizona. It was the state’s second largest export in 2014. When construction slowed and the price of copper dropped during the Great Depression, boosters looked for unconventional ways to include copper in ordinary goods, such as license plates and stationery.
The State Capitol features a copper dome. Other state symbols include the State Flower (Saguaro Blossom), State Bird (Cactus Wren) and State Neckwear (Bola Tie).
Copper was integral to creating many of Arizona’s communities. Read about the state’s history of copper mining on Reading Arizona.
- Southeastern Arizona Mining Towns
- Bisbee: Postcard History Series
- Around Miami
- The Copper Deposits of the Clifton-Morenci District, Arizona
- Mining and Agriculture of Arizona collection