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Quincy Copper Mine

The life span of a mine depends totally on ore reserves along with the grade of the ore and also the ease of mining the ore. Most mines will wil have a life span of around 20 - 25 years. Some mines in the past only lasted a few years while others like the Empire Mine and the Sullivan Mine and the Quincy Mine, lasted a century.

The Quincy Mine located in Hancock Michigan, came about due to what you could call a blunder in government operations. There was two different companies that had recorded claims in the same area and the government ended up issuing both companies the rights to the claims. Because there was what looked to be a promising ore deposit both the companies decide to merge and make the mine. In 1846 the merger between the Northwest Mining Company and the Portage Mining Company was done and the Quincy Mining Company was formed.

The Quincy Mine was a mine that had some very unique engineering designs. It's number 2 shaft was the deepest shaft in the world at its time. It reached a depth of 9260 feet and went off at an angle of 55 degrees. The number 7 shaft is unique in that is was driven on a catenary curve. It also had the worlds largest steam powered plant. This plant was needed for the hoist to be able to reach great depths to be able to bring up ore and workers. It weighed more than 880 tons, and could lift 10 tons of ore up the shaft at a speed of 36 miles per hour. This alone saved over $16,000 in fuel bills in its first year of operation. The hoist sat on the largest concrete slab ever poured at that time. The slab alone contained almost 3200 cu. yards of cement and over had over 8 tons of reinforcements.

Life working at the Quincy Mine was also good. The company owners were known for being a bit on the generous side. They figured out early that by housing the workers in nice homes the workers would most likely stay and that way there would be little turnover in staff. So the houses they ended up building were nice homes with electricity and hot and cold running water. This was luxury back in a time when some towns being build were just tent towns.

When mining copper there were two types of mining. There was fissure mining and there was amygdaloid mining.The Quincy Mine was done by amygdaloid mining. Amygdules or amygdales form when the gas bubbles or vesicles in volcanic lava are infilled with a secondary mineral such as calcite, quartz, chlorite or one of the zeolites. This proved much more productive than fissure mining and allowed the Quincy Mine to mine a lower grade ore and still make a profit. Over time the Quincy Mine bought the claims that surrounded the mine. These claims and mine were the Pewabic mine, the Mesnard and the Pontiac and the Franklin mine.

During the 100 years that the Quincy Mine was in operation, it was only closed down in 1931 for a brief period of time due to low copper prices. It opened backup for the war effort as copper was a much needed metal. In all it's years of operation, Quincy produced 424,000 tons of copper.

Quincy power house building