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“The New Mountains of Overburden”

Asarco Mineral Discovery Center
Ranked #2 of 6 things to do in Sahuarita
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Opened in February of 1997, the Asarco Mineral Discovery Center (AMDC) is designed to convey the vital importance of mining in our civilization. Everything that we use everyday was somehow extracted from the earth — either by farming or by mining, and “if it can’t be grown, it has to be mined.”Located 20-minutes south of Tucson, AMDC has an exhibit center, theater and gift shop. For a nominal fee, tours are conducted of Asarco's Mission Mine; an active open-pit copper mine. Tour schedule is subject to change, reservations are recommended.
Greater Portland, Oregon
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“The New Mountains of Overburden”
Reviewed 15 May 2013

I am a conservationist. But I am also a user of all things requiring metals, so admittedly a hypocrite. I was horrified to see the open pit mines on my trip to Arizona. I couldn't believe that there were no regulations in place to prevent such a despoilment on the landscape. I wanted to learn more, so I found this tour on Tripadvisor.

I had a private tour with Ed and Kermit. Knowledgeable and good-natured, Ed was able to answer most of my questions, and without engaging me in useless hyperbole. Copper is necessary, and that is that. The prime technology used to extract the metals is based on a process probably discovered 100 years ago. Since the market is so volatile, the mining companies only invest in technologies to make their operations more profitable, NOT technologies that might save the planet from the blight of open pit mining.

Take your kids to this mine and challenge them. Ask them what they think of the process, and then ask them if they might want to go to a mining college and come up with a better way. Ask them if they think this is a good way to treat our planet. Ask them if they think the overburden mountains are as pretty as the natural ones to the east of the valley. And then ask them if they see the value of reduce/reuse/recycle.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank sperry_twiggins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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114 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“What REALLY happens in a mine?”
Reviewed 5 March 2013

We always take visitors here. Mining is such a huge part of Arizona's history, this tour (available at the Gift Shop/Visitor's Center) is very educational, interesting, and entertaining.

Visited January 2013
3 Thank Karen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“My kids enjoyed this trip!”
Reviewed 22 February 2013

Other reviews questioned taking kids. My 4, 7 and 11 year old boys had a great time. They loved the massive size of everything, the samples of rocks they got to bring home and the tour guide did a great job of talking with the boys and answering their questions. A great memory for them and an interesting trip for us!

Visited February 2013
3 Thank TravellingMomSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fun and interesting!”
Reviewed 22 February 2013

Our tour guide Ed was awesome! I took my daughter and 3 grandsons today (ages4-11) and we all loved it. We learned a lot. Ed made it fun and was very knowledgable. I will be back with another family group in March.
Ps. Ed guides on Weds.. & Fri. (No I am not related to Ed...he was just excellent as a guide :)

Visited February 2013
2 Thank Grandmaloonie5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
429 reviews
225 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
“This is a massive place”
Reviewed 15 February 2013

Great place to visit. The mine tour takes you by bus to the working mine area, the guide explains the workings of the mine and how much all the equipment cost which is really hard to comprehend. From the top of the open face mine you can see the trucks moving the material around. They take you through the processing plant which is all behind glass, which shows you how the copper is extracted. The gift shop has some wonderful things at very good prices.
Well worth a visit.

Visited January 2013
3 Thank gjsamson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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