University of Arizona

Students, faculty, staff, and the public are now welcome to visit Special Collections without an appointment from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

Mammoth Miners Memorial Oral History Collection

The Mammoth Miners Memorial Oral History collection memorializes the experiences of underground copper miners in the Mammoth, AZ area and particularly workers in the San Manuel Mine. The San Manuel Mine, located 45 miles northeast of Tucson, AZ opened in 1952 and, by the time its closure was announced by new owner BHP Billiton in 1999, had mined a record breaking 14 billion tons of ore and was the largest underground copper mine in the country. Around 2,200 miners were employed to mine 356 miles of tunnels. The mine and its predecessors supported the nearby town of Mammoth where many workers lived. In 2003, the mine officially stopped production and the remaining mining structures were demolished. The Mammoth Miners Memorial group was formed to commemorate the experience of these miners and the more than 50 men who lost their lives in the San Manuel mine.

This collection contains audio cassettes of recorded interviews with former miners of the San Manuel mine near Mammoth, AZ. Also included are the transcripts of these tapes. Renee Ross, project manager of the Mammoth Miners Memorial Oral History Project, interviews former miners on topics such as folklore, women in mining, pay, safety, administration, strikes and others.