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Three-R Mine group, Three-R Canyon, Palmetto District, Patagonia Mts, Santa Cruz Co., Arizona, USA

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 31° 29' 2'' North , 110° 45' 50'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 31.48389,-110.76389
Other regions containing this locality:Sonoran Desert, North America

‡Ref.: Probert, F.H., 1914, The Three R mine, Patagonia district, Arizona: Mining and Scientific Press: 109: 174-176.

Schrader, F.C. (1914) Alunite in granite porphyry near Patagonia, Arizona, in Contributions to economic geology (short papers and preliminary reports) 1912: Part I--Metals and nonmetals except fuels: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 540, p. 347-350.

Schrader, F.C. (1915) Mineral deposits of the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains, Arizona, with contributions by J.M. Hill: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 582, 373 p., 3 sheets, scale 1:125,000: 282-287.

Tenney, J.B. (1927-1929) History of Mining in Arizona, Special Collection, University of Arizona Library & Arizona Bureau of Mines Library: 311-312.

Handverger, P.A. (1963) Geology of the Three R mine, Palmetto mining district, Santa Cruz County, Arizona: Tucson, University of Arizona, M.S. thesis, 70 p.

Keith, Stanton B. (1969), Alunite, in USGS & Arizona Bureau of Mines, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 1969, Mineral and water resources of Arizona, Arizona Bureau of Mines Bull. 180: 302-303.

Keith, Stanton B. (1975), Arizona Bureau of Mines Bull. 191, Index of Mining Properties in Santa Cruz County Arizona: 74 (Table 4).

Phillips, K.A. (1987), Arizona Industrial Minerals, 2nd. Edition, Arizona Department of Mines & Minerals Mineral Report 4, 185 pp.

Peirce, H. Wesley (1990), Arizona Geological Survey Industrial Minerals card file.

Niemuth, N.J. & K.A. Phillips (1992), Copper Oxide Resources, Arizona Department of Mines & Mineral Resources Open File Report 92-10: 16 (Table 1).

U.S. Bureau of Land Management Mining District Sheet #693.

U.S. Bureau of Mines Coronado National Forest Study.

Arizona Bureau of Mines file data.

MRDS database Dep. ID file #10046338, MRDS ID #M241337; and, Dep. ID #10162214, MAS ID #0040230380.

A former small surface and underground Cu-Ag-Au-Pb-Zn-alunite mine located in the center/SE¼ (NW¼SW¼SE¼) sec. 36, T.22S., R.15E (Nogales 15 minute topo map), at the head of Three R Canyon, 1.5 miles E of the Lookout Mine, 5.7 miles NE of Nogales International Airport, 5 miles S of Patagonia, on private land. The property consists of 21 patented and 14 unpatented claims that are grouped in a contiguous unit. Discovered in 1897 by R.R. Richardson. Produced 1908-1956. Owned at times, or in part, by the Three R Syndicate (1909), and N.L. Amster (1912-1913); Mr. C. A. Pierce and Mr. D. Bird (1937). Operated by Olson (1908); Richardson (1911); Three-R Mining & Milling Co. (1916-1919); Three-R Mines, Inc. (1929, 1930, 1939-1941); Border Mines, Inc. (1937); D. Bird (1945-46); Consolidated Copper Mines Co. (1951); Colossal Mines (1954); Taylor & Barclay (1956); W.R. Green; the Calumet and Arizona Mining Co.; and, the Patagonia-Superior Copper Co.

Mineralization is a large, steeply-dipping, lensing orebody of disseminated cupriferous pyrite with minor chalcopyrite, bornite, and minor lead and zinc, along a fault zone intersected by numerous fractures. The zone is 30.48 meters wide and 137.16 meters thick, strikes NNW-SSE, and dips 60S. The zone is strongly oxidized and supergene enriched to high-grade chalcocite with some covellite. The wall rock is shattered and altered Jurassic granite which contains disseminated pyrite and sparse copper mineralization in quartz-sericite veinlets around the orebody. Alunite masses occur in the fault zone. Each fault within the system branches, causing small brecciated zones that formed small pockets of ore away from the main ore body. Six major N-S-trending fractures appear to be the regional control of mineralization. Three major fracture systems ternding N-S, N75E, and N30E, respectively. The host rock unit is the granite of Comoro Canyon. An associated rock unit is the Mt. Wrightson Formation. Tectonic elements include the NNW-trending Patagonia batholith.

Alunite masses occur in the fault zone. The largest ore lens is about 200 X 600 feet and 10 feet in width. The maximum width of the fault zone is 100 feet. Veins extend several feet along strike. The alunite deposit consists of pinkish alunite and quartz. The zone may be several feet wide in places and may contain as much as 30% alunite. Alunite was also noted in strongly pyritized zones in some areas.

Granite is coarse-grained. Surface rock above the enriched area is semi-gossanized. Mineralization was accompanied and followed faulting and intrusion of andesite rocks. Slickensides indicate that the last movement was vertical down plane of the fault. Alunite zones resulted from the alteration of orthoclase feldspar in pegmatitic granite along the wall of a sulfide vein.

Workings include tunnel and shaft operations. The main mine workings included a 3000 foot long lower adit, a 1000 foot long upper adit, and several 1000 feet of crosscuts. There are 3 tunnels on the property. This deposit was located in the late 1800's, but it was mined mainly from 1908 through 1956. It produced some 130,000 tons of ore averaging about 4% Cu with minor Ag, Pb, Zn & Au.

Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

12 valid minerals.

Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on

Tithonian - Toarcian
145 - 182.7 Ma
Jurassic granitic rocks

Age: Jurassic (145 - 182.7 Ma)

Description: Granite to diorite, locally foliated and locally alkalic; includes Triassic(?) granitoids in the Trigo Mountains. This unit includes two dominant assemblages of igneous rocks. The Kitt Peak-Trigo Peaks superunit includes, from oldest to youngest: dark, foliated or gneissic diorite, medium-grained equigranular to porphyritic granodiorite, and small, irregular intrusions of light-colored, fine-grained granite. The Ko Vaya superunit, limited to south-central Arizona, includes texturally heterogeneous K-feldspar-rich granitic rocks. (150-180 Ma)

Lithology: Major:{diorite,alkali granite,granodiorite}

Reference: Horton, J.D., C.A. San Juan, and D.B. Stoeser. The State Geologic Map Compilation (SGMC) geodatabase of the conterminous United States. doi: 10.3133/ds1052. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1052. [133]

Data and map coding provided by, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

Localities in this Region


This page contains all mineral locality references listed on This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.
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