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You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This Massive Mine In New Mexico That Swallowed An Entire Town

The town of Santa Rita was once about 15 miles down the road from Silver City. Originally, it was nothing save a fort with a church. Once additional buildings were constructed around the complex, the community became known as Santa Rita del Cobre.

In the first half of the 20th century, the population of this town surged to 6000 people.

Today it’s gone. Swallowed up by the massive Santa Rita Mine. Where once there was a town, now there’s only the gaping maw of an open-pit copper mine.

You’ll find the mine referred to as the Santa Rita Mine, the Santa Rita del Cobre Mine, and also the Chino Mine. This one hole in the ground has more monikers than a character in a Russian novel. Thankfully, the new owners (Freeport-McMoRan) that bought the mine in 2007 didn’t feel obliged to slap their name on it as well. However, they did reopen the mine in 2011.

Today, holes in the fencing allow you to take unobstructed photographs of the pit. Informational plaques at the pull off provide details about the mine.

This video provides an aerial perspective of the mine today. It’s a sight like no other. See for yourself.

Even in 1927, the scale of this mine was daunting yet impressive. In the vintage video below, footage of the mine begins at 1:38 minutes.

Have you stopped to view this giant mining pit or visited any of New Mexico’s mining towns?

Juliet White
New Mexico staff writer for Only In Your State and freelance writer. A committed travel junkie, Juliet has lived on two continents, but believes that the sunsets in New Mexico are the best. She can be reached on Twitter @JulietWrites.