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A Kennecott Story

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Copyright: September 2014
Trim: 6 x 9
Pages: 336 pp.
Illustrations: 54 b/w photos, 8 maps



A Kennecott Story

Three Mines, Four Men, and One Hundred Years, 1897–1997

Charles Caldwell Hawley

Western History / Utah

While copper seems less glamorous than gold, it may be far more important, as it was vital to the industrial revolution and indispensable for electrification. Kennecott Copper Corporation, at one time the largest producer of copper in the world, played a key role in economic and industrial development. This book recounts how Kennecott was formed from the merger of three mining operations (one in Alaska, one in Utah, and one in Chile), how it led the way in mining technologies, and how it was in turn affected by the economy and politics of the day.

As it traces the story of the three mines, the narrative follows four mining engineers—Stephen Birch, Daniel Cowan Jackling, William Burford Braden, and E. Tappan Stannard—self-made men whose technological ingenuity was responsible for much of Kennecott’s success. While Jackling developed economies of scale for massive open-pit mining in Utah, Braden went underground in Chile for a copper-caving operation of unprecedented scale. Meanwhile, Birch and Stannard overcame the extreme challenges of mining rich ore in the difficult climate of Alaska and transporting it to market. The Guggenheims, who brought these three operations together, provided the funding without which the infrastructure necessary for the mining operations might not have been built.

As a geologist with first-hand knowledge of mining, author Charles Hawley describes the technology behind the Kennecott story in a way that both specialists and the general reader will appreciate. He places Kennecott and the copper industry within their historical context and allows the reader to consider the controversial aspects of mineral discovery and sustainability.

Charles Caldwell Hawley has had a long career as a geologist. After working for the USGS, he moved to the private sector, eventually forming his own consultant company for the mining industry. Hawley has served on national and state land-use advisory councils and today is director of three public mining companies. He is the author of the book Wesley Earl Dunkle, Alaska’s Flying Miner.

Table of Contents:

List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations

Part 1: Copper and Electricity
1. The Dawn of the Age of Electricity
2. The Origin of a Copper Empire: Laying Kennecott Copper Corporation’s Financial Foundation
3. The Apprentices

Part 2: Men and Their Mines from 1887 to 1922
4. Copper Discoveries in Kennecott Copper Corporation’s Homeland: Alaska
5. Discoveries at Bingham, Utah
6. The Alaska Syndicate
7. Stephen Birch: Personable Young Man or Cold-Eyed SOB?
8. An Alaska Political Interlude
9. Daniel Cowan Jackling: Mining’s Henry Ford
10. William Burford Braden: El Rey del Cobre en Chile

Part 3: Development of Mine Infrastructure and Technology to World War II
11. The Human Component
12. The Construction Era and Mine Railroads
13. New Mines: To Shrink, Cave, or Pit
14. Advanced Process Technology Comes to Alaska and the Porphyry Mines
15. Copper Mining: A Quarter-Century Appraisal, 1897–1922
16. E.Tappan Stannard

Part 4: Capital Payback: Traditional and Otherwise
17. The Syndicate Is Repaid and Kennecott Copper Corporation Is Formed
18. The Beatson Mine: Extra Income
19. Chemistry Contributes: Chalcocite and Its Issues
Part 5: Mining from 1923 to the Korean War
20. Copper: Too Little or Too Much?
21. Beginning of the End in Alaska and a Bright Spot in Chile
22. Kennecott Goes to War

Part 6: Korean War to 1997
23. Steel Man Cox: A Change in Direction
24. Frank Milliken: Dissention at Home, Expropriation in Chile
25. Barrow and Joklik: Mixed Signals, Real Results
26. Legacies

Appendix A: Copper Production and U.S. Production Price
Appendix B: Kennecott: Discoveries from World War II to 1995
Appendix C: Mineral Deposit Models: Important Copper Deposits

Praise and Reviews:

“I know of no book that attempts to do what this volume does. This is a major contribution to the field of mining, mining history, the history of the American West, the history of copper production, and economic history.”
—Richard Sadler, professor of history, Weber State University

“A significant contribution. Placing the story of this company’s development and impact into broader national and international patterns will have value transcending the immediate.”
—John Sillito, Professor Emeritus of Libraries, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah

“Chuck Hawley's Kennecott history captures a slice of Alaska's past—and makes a plea for an enlightened future.”
—Alaska Dispatch News

“Hawley’s account places the Kennecott story and its principle characters within the broader picture of the American mining industry as it evolved its most critical and revolutionary period. His book is intended not only for geologists (like the reviewer) and engineers but also for historians and the inquisitive general reader. ”
—Alaska Historical Society

“An inspiring tale of men with dreams and vision, and the ingenuity and fortitude to build the best mine possible, despite engineering challenges that were considered impossible.”

“Hawley succeeds in immersing the reader in the company’s development and impact into broader national and international events. In doing so he conveys the significance of how its technological innovations helped shape modern economic and industrial history.”
—Newspoke: The Newsletter of the Alaska Library Association

A Kennecott Story is an ambitious narrative of the history of one of the most important extractive corporations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will be of particular use to those who are new to mining history or who hope to gain an understanding of the scale and scope of twentieth-century American mining.”
—Western Historical Quarterly

“Hawley offers excellent insight into the technical and economic impacts of copper mining….this study is very much worth the read.”
—Utah Historical Quarterly

“The [book's] brief chapters break down a massive history into bite-sized chunks that draw the reader through the intricacies of Kennecott Copper Corporation’s history. …Hawley consistently pauses to connect the company’s history to national and even international events and figures.“
—Pacific Northwest Quarterly

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