This huge open-pit mine was once the largest in the world, and is perhaps the oldest mining site still being used in the U.S. southwest. The pit is currently about 1.75 miles across and 1,350 feet deep.
Apaches, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Americans have all obtained native copper and copper ore from this site. In 1800, an Apache Indian showed Spanish officer Lt. Colonel Jose Manuel Carrasco the site of the Chino mine. Carrasco sold the mine to Francisco Manuel de EIguea in 1804 who imported convict labor to work the mine and build a fort to house the convicts and protect them from the Apache.
The present day open pit mining operation began in 1910. It is the third oldest open pit copper mine in the world after the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah and Chuquicamata in Chile. Chino mine is currently owned and operated by Freeport-McMoRan Inc.