ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

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Open Pit Mines in southern Arizona are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member on the International Space Station. The State of Arizona is the United States' largest producer of the metal copper, primarily mined from ore bodies known as porphyry copper deposits. Copper is a good conductor of electricity and heat, and is a vital element of virtually all of our electronic devices and components. A porphyry copper deposit is a geological structure formed by crystal-rich magma moving upwards through pre-existing rock layers. As the magma cools and crystallizes, it forms an igneous rock with large crystals embedded in a fine-grained matrix, known as porphyry..Editorial use only.