Off-Site Field Trips

See firsthand how others in the minerals industry are improving methods, overcoming obstacles and reaching operational goals!

Field trips are subject to cancellation based on limited attendance. Make your reservations for field trips during your conference registration.

Tour attendees will have transportation and appropriate food and refreshments while on the tours.

Phoenix Earth Fissures

Developed in partnership with the Arizona Geological Society and AIPG

Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 7:00 am – 4:00 pm | Ticketed Event

Transportation, lunch, and guidebook included. The field trip is limited to 50 attendees. Tickets available during registration.

Earth fissures are tensile cracks evident at the surface that form in response to differential land subsidence. In Arizona, widespread land subsidence is associated with groundwater withdrawal. Fissures were first observed in agricultural areas in Arizona in the 1950s and have continued to grow in deep sedimentary basins of central/southeastern Arizona. Open earth fissures can be more than a kilometer in length, up to 5m wide, and ~10 m deep with a narrow crack extending much deeper into the subsurface. Earth fissures generally manifest as hairline cracks at the surface but may enlarge rapidly due to erosion when runoff enters the fissure. As more fissures have formed in basins throughout central and southern Arizona, they have increasingly been recognized as a geologic hazard to people and infrastructure. Since 2006, the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) has monitored the formation of new fissures and extension of known fissures in Arizona. AZGS maps are the official source of mapped fissures which are required to be disclosed to potential buyers of land and property throughout the state.

During this field trip, you’ll visit two monitored earth fissure study areas near the Phoenix metro area: Apache Junction and Queen Creek. The active Apache Junction fissures present an opportunity to discuss the challenges of fissure mitigation and the effects of fissures underlying roads, private property, and infrastructure. The Queen Creek fissures continue to be encroached upon by housing developments despite the known adverse effects of nearby fissures on homes and infrastructure. Fissures at both sites highlight the interface between geologic hazards and society where residents and infrastructure are at risk. We will enjoy lunch and a discussion of land subsidence and fissures in Arizona and the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) InSAR program. AZGS and ADWR representatives will answer questions about subsidence and fissures in Arizona and give an overview of forecasts on current and ongoing trends of water use throughout the state.

The field trip is intended for geology, environmental professionals and all interested people who would like to learn more about man-made geohazards and their effects on society, private property, and infrastructure. We will discuss the causes, extent, and rates of land subsidence in Arizona as well as earth fissures resulting from past and ongoing subsidence.

What to Wear:

This field trip will include some hiking, so dress for activity. Warm, casual clothes including long pants and either a short or long-sleeve shirt (no sleeveless shirts) with close-toed, sturdy shoes (no sandals or flip flops) are recommended.


7:00 am: Meet at buses

7:30 am: Drive to Apache Junction

8:10 am: Arrive at Apache Junction Fissure site

  • Tour the fissure
  • Housing development discussions
  • Industrial area along W Houston Ave
  • Failed mitigation efforts and difficulty of “fixing” earth fissures

10:30 am: Drive to San Tan Mountain Regional Park

  • Lunch with groundwater discussion

1:00 pm: Drive to Queen Creek Fissure site

  • Tour open fissures
  • Discuss encroachment of new housing developments
  • Developers vs buyers and required disclosures
  • Covering up of fissures and unknown mitigation efforts (if any)

2:00 pm: Drive back to the hotel

3:00 – 4:00 pm: Arrive back at the hotel (depending on the length of discussions at the final stop)

Capstone Copper: Pinto Valley Mine

Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 7:00 am – 3:00 pm | Ticketed Event

Transportation, lunch, and swag bag included.  Field trip limited to 100 attendees. Tickets available during registration.

Sponsored by Capstone Copper

Pinto Valley is currently the only operating mill located in the historic Globe-Miami mining district of Arizona, one of the oldest and most productive mining districts in the U.S. Since its first recorded production in 1975, Pinto Valley has produced more than 4 billion pounds of copper, including 0.5 billion pounds of copper cathode.

On this field trip you’ll see the mine site through the mine’s lookout area, engage in technical discussions with subject matter experts, and gain a better understanding of a copper-producing mine in the Globe-Miami mining district of Arizona.

The field trip is intended for mining, geology, metallurgy and environmental professionals who would like to see an operating copper mine in Arizona. Throughout the field trip you will be able to talk with Capstone personnel who can help answer questions, provide mine information and engage in technical discussions. The tour busses will visit the core shed and core storage facility as well as the lookout area of the mine.

What to Wear

Wear warm, casual clothes, including long pants, and close-toed shoes (no sandals or flip flops). Please bring safety glasses. Hardhats are not needed for the site stops.


7:00 am: Start to load busses at hotel

7:30 am: Depart hotel (1 hr 20 min drive)

9:00 am – 9:45 am: Arrive at site’s administration building for a safety overview.

10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Travel to the core shed and core storage facility for tour and discussions.

  • Travel to the lookout area of the mine.
  • Everyone can get off of the bus, there will be ore samples to look at and take.
  • A group photo opportunity will be there as well.

12:00 pm: Return to administration building for lunch and closing presentation

1:30 pm: Depart mine site and travel to hotel (1 hr 20 min drive)

3:00 pm: Arrive back at hotel

Freeport-McMoRan: Sierrita Mine

Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 7:30 am – 5:00 pm | Ticketed Event

Transportation, lunch, and guide pamphlet included. Field trip limited to 50 attendees. Tickets available during registration.

The Freeport-McMoRan Sierrita mine is an open-pit copper and molybdenum mining complex located about 20 miles southwest of Tucson. Originally developed as an underground copper mine in 1907, Sierrita converted to open-pit operations in 1959. The mine produces copper and molybdenum concentrate, cathode copper and rhenium, a rare and highly valued metal. The Sierrita operation includes a concentrator with a milling design capacity of 100,000 metric tons of ore per day, a run-of-mine oxide-leaching system and an electrowinning facility at Twin Buttes with a design capacity of 50 million pounds of copper per year. A hydrometallurgy process is used to upgrade, purify, and separate the ore into 99.99 percent pure copper. Sierrita also has molybdenum facilities consisting of a leaching circuit, two roasters and a packaging facility for processing concentrate.

Sierrita has one of the largest copper reserves in the U.S., and in the world, with estimated proven and probable reserves of 2,735 million tons as of December 31, 2022. The average ore grade is 0.22% copper and 0.02% molybdenum. Sierrita operations generated nearly $387 million in benefits for Arizona in 2021, including more than $250 million for Pima County.

On this field trip, you’ll spend time at the site overlook, the hydrometallurgy facility and the tailings facility.

What to Wear: 

Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants and sturdy shoes (no open-toe shoes). If the weather is predicting rain, raingear is recommended. Attendees will need to bring safety vests, safety glasses, and hardhats.

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