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Yavapai College Geology Students Joins GEM at Bagdad Mine

Bagdad, AZ –With funding from The Arizona Community Foundation of Yavapai County’s Environmental and Sustainability Fund, GEM Environmental led an active-learning field trip for Yavapai College geology students to the Freeport McMoRan copper mine in Bagdad, AZ.

On Friday, 18 October 2019, students from Cindy Smith’s Environmental Geology class and Dr. Beth Boyd’s Introduction to Geology class were introduced to the copper mining processes. They also met with the industry professionals who make it all happen.

“Learning about modern mining techniques was great. One tends to think about miners going underground with a pick and shovel and this experience allowed me to relate mining with high technology just like anything else in modern times.”  Adriana Arizmendi, geology student at Yavapai College.

Geologist at Bagdad mine, Arizona
Yavapai College students with Bagdad geologist.

Bagdad is an open-pit copper and molybdenum mining complex (see below) hidden in the beautiful hills of Bagdad, Arizona. The Bagdad operation consists of a 75,000 metric ton-per-day concentrator that produces copper and molybdenum concentrate, an SX/EW plant that can produce up to 32 million pounds per year of copper cathode from solution generated by low-grade stockpile leaching, and a pressure-leach plant to process molybdenum concentrate. This massive production helps Freeport McMoRan remain a leading international mining company, providing many STEM (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) related jobs. 

“Thank you to GEM Environmental and Freeport McMoRan for making this very informative field trip possible.  Words in a classroom cannot do justice to the reality of scale, sophistication and potential employment opportunities provided by a trip to a world-scale copper mine such as this.” -Dr. Beth Boyd, geology professor at Yavapai College.

GEM is working to inspire a new generation of scientists by showing students firsthand, how the concepts they are learning in the classroom are applied to real life situations by companies like Freeport McMoRan at the Bagdad Mine. Students  met with industry professionals representing a host of STEM careers to discuss what schooling they had to complete get to where they are and what processes they had to go through. It’ is our intent to show students the wide variety of well-paying jobs available to both degree- and non-degree-seeking students here in Yavapai County.

This invited post was authored by Marlena Willoughby

Bagdad open pit mine