Morenci Author Showcases Miami Smelter in New Children's Mining Book

May 3, 2024

The Morenci author of a children’s book about how copper is mined has a new book describing the smelting process based on Freeport-McMoRan’s Miami operations.

Emma Horrocks’ new book, “This Little Town Where We Smelt Copper,” explains the process of turning copper concentrate that comes from mines in Arizona and New Mexico into the final product shipped from the Miami rod mill.

It completes the story of copper production she started in her first book, “This Little Town Where We Mine Copper,” which describes how copper ore is dug, transported, crushed and processed into concentrate. That book was inspired by her experiences in Bagdad and Morenci that she shared with her two small children and husband, Grant Horrocks, Superintendent, Reliability Maintenance-Morenci.

As with the earlier book, the smelting story is illustrated by Emma Horrocks’ mother, Amber Cooley.

The target audience for the new book is children about 6 to 10 years old, a bit older than the first one, Horrocks said. The reason is there is complex chemistry that goes into the smelting process, so it’s harder to explain in simple terms that younger readers would understand.

Both books also are meant as a resource for mine workers to help explain to small children the jobs they do and the industry that employs them. That is particularly helpful to smelter workers since their workplace is rarely seen by outsiders, unlike mine sites like Morenci that can be viewed from the highway and may have a public overlook.

“No one gets to see what happens inside the smelter,” Horrocks said. “All they can see is the top of the smelter up on the hill. So, I felt like it was something that would be really special to the people who’ve worked there because now they really get to show their families what they do and what it looks like inside.”

After the first book came out, Horrocks was contacted by Tim Eastep, Manager, Technical Services-Miami, about doing something similarly focused on the smelter in Miami. Eastep contacted Horrocks with the suggestion about a year ago, and by April had a tour lined up for her and Cooley. They took photos of the equipment that Cooley turned into illustrations. Eastep and David Jones, Chief Metallurgist-Miami, provided technical expertise about the smelting process.

The new book picks up where the mining story left off with copper concentrate arriving at the smelter. It uses lyrical language to describe the smelting process and ends with the copper processed into finished rod. The book closes with examples of electronics and other products that use copper.

Both of Horrocks’ books are self-published in hardback. They are available at retailers in Morenci, Safford and the Globe-Miami area, and through her website.

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