Arizona Strip region has yielded uranium ore for decades – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – June 29, 2015)

One of the more remote historical uranium mining localities in Arizona is Hack Canyon, 37 miles southwest of Fredonia in Mohave County.

Sitting in the Arizona Strip — which is the area of the state that lies north of the Colorado River — the area covers roughly 1,000 square miles in the northwest portion of the state, and is the last hard-rock uranium producer in the U.S.

The canyon was reportedly named after Haskell Jolly, who was known to locals as “Hack,” and owned a nearby spring and ranch. Active copper mining at the site occurred during World War I, and included the use of a tramway for ore transport down the canyon wall.

By 1948, the Hack Canyon Uranium Mine consisted of 14 unpatented claims owned by G.C. Harwood from Phoenix and three partners, including A.E. “Blondie” Jenson and Clair Pearson of Fredonia and Ray Pointer of Safford, who comprised the Canyon Copper Co.

Having sent several shipments of copper ore to smelters toward the end of World War II, commercial uranium potential was soon afterward discovered through use of fluorescent lamps revealing fluorescence of radioactive minerals, including uraninite and zippeite found in sandstone and shale.

Geiger counters and spectrographic analysis yielded further confirmation. Torbernite, a secondary uranium-copper mineral which occurs in the oxidized portions of uranium deposits discovered at the Hack Mine, led to it becoming a uranium producer after the Atomic Energy Commission offered monetary bonuses to stimulate uranium production.

From the Hack Mine, 1,100 tons of uranium ore was shipped in 1951-52.

That same year, breccia pipes were determined as a source of high grade uranium ore. Breccia, an Italian term meaning broken rock, and breccia pipes are vertical cylindrical bodies of broken sedimentary rock.

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