Mineral Discovery Center
The hexagonal copper roofs make the AMDC quite a landmark.
The roofs of the Mineral Discovery Center are adorned with more
than three-and-a-half tons of ASARCO copper!
Opened in February of 1997, the Asarco Mineral Discovery Center is designed to convey the vital importance of mining in our civilization.   Everything that we use everyday was somehow extracted from the earth — either by farming or by mining, and “if it can’t be grown, it has to be mined.”

The Mineral Discovery Center consists of two hexagonal pods capped by copper roofs.   The south pod hosts temporary exhibits and our gift shop, The Company Store. The north pod contains our permanent exhibits and Discovery Theater.    There is no admission charge for the Mineral Discovery Center exhibits, Discovery Theater, or gift shop.

The Indoor Exhibits
You enter the exhibit pod through a model of a ball mill similar to the actual mills that grind copper ore into powder at the nearby Mission mine.

Visitors enter the exhibits through a simulated ball mill.

As you walk into the exhibit area, you’ll come face-to-face with an enormous back-lit photo mural showing an aerial view of the Asarco Mission Complex.

On one side of the room are exhibits that illustrate how the natural processes in the earth form copper deposits and how miners extract the copper minerals from the rock to produce 99.99% pure copper metal.

The other side of the room demonstrates common uses of copper in our everyday lives.

Discovery Theater
Our 35-seat theater offers two popular shows each hour:

Discover Copper

All around us, in our every day lives, many of the technologies we depend on need copper. From your phone, your car, the construction of your house, to great works of art, copper is an integral part of our modern life.
Discover Copper, helps you discover how copper is produced, and how modern mining practices strive for sustainability and responsible environmental management.
The young host of Mining for Music, Sean Wing, explores the origins of musical instruments — all the way back to the stuff they’re made of — and along the way we find out where quite a few other things come from.
'Without mining, we wouldn't have much of anything.'
The Outdoor Exhibits

It was disassembled, moved here in pieces, and rebuilt. A growing collection of historic mining equipment is located on the grounds of the Mineral Discovery Center. The equipment helps tell the story of mining from the perspective of the size of the tools that were used in the past. The centerpiece of the collection is a wooden head frame built in the early 1900’s.

It originally stood over the Copper Glance mine located about five miles south of the Mineral Discovery Center near the old mining town of Twin Buttes. The earliest records we have found indicate it was built in 1908.


Can't take it for a spin, but you can kick the tires!One of the largest trucks on display is our Komatsu 830-E with a loading capacity of 240 tons! Also on display are two retired haul trucks that carried only 75 and 170 tons of material. The largest trucks now used at ASARCO  can carry up to 400 tons!      An Insley shovel with a one-cubic-yard bucket and a towed Galion grader are also on display.    The grader is notable in that it still bears the dealer nameplate of the Ronstadt dealership that originally sold it in the early 1900’s.

Picnic Area
What a great place to eat lunch!
“Let’s Do Lunch” at the Mineral Discovery Center

Our desert-landscaped picnic area offers tables adjacent to the historic mining equipment display with easy access to the parking lot and rest rooms.

How Do I Get There?
For directions to the Mineral Discovery Center, click How to Find Us on the menu bar.