Copper City, Hetta Inlet

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Copper City, Hetta Inlet

by | Oct 19, 2019

Copper City is an abandoned mining community on the eastern shore of Hetta Inlet, on the southwest coast of Prince of Wales Island, 5.5 miles (9 km) north of Lime Point, and 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Hydaburg, Alaska. The local name was first reported in 1905 by E.F. Dickins of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Hetta Inlet is a fjord that extends north for 20 miles off Cordova Bay.

The Copper City Mine was historically part of the Ketchikan Mining District which is now within the Tongass National Forest. The only copper producing mines of southeastern Alaska are all in this district. The center of copper mining activity on Prince of Wales Island was Copper Mountain where the earliest important developments were on the west coast, at or near Hetta Inlet, in the Copper Mountain, Jumbo, Red Wing, Copper City, and Corbin mines. At Copper Mountain, a 250-ton smelter was constructed and operated, while long tramways and wharves were built at Niblack, Skowl Arm, Karta Bay, and Hetta Inlet. Saw-mills and shops were erected and operations were usually powered by steam or water. Before 1900, the total metals output from the district, with by-products of gold and silver, was valued at about $200,000. Extended mining operations were then initiated and the values realized from six mines totaled $339,000 in 1900 and $920,000 from ten mines in 1906. Production decreased in 1907 due to the general depression in the copper trade throughout the world which rendered the mining of low-grade ores unprofitable in Alaska and temporarily closing many mines.

The Copper City site was first discovered in 1898 and mining operations took place from 1904 to 1910. Mine operations consisted of underground workings with one known shaft that reached a depth of 300 feet (91 m). The host rock in this area is slate and the ore body was about 4 feet (1.2 m) thick producing copper, gold, silver, and zinc. Read more here and here. Explore more of Copper City here:

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