Mining & Mineral Facts

Ontonagon County Copper Facts

  • 100 different mines and explorations operated from 1847-1920
  • Over 6 Billion pounds of copper was mined
  • Home to the famous Ontonagon Boulder
  • The county at one time had a population of 12,428
  • Rockland had the first telephone system in Michigan

What types of minerals can be found in the Keweenaw Peninsula?














Copper Crystal

Native Copper






Mining Terms

Adit:  The opening/ entrance to an underground mine

Back Ceiling/Roof:  The top of a drift, tunnel or adit

Flat Car:  Rail car used to haul supplies

Foot Wall: The rock below the vein or seam in mine

Hanging Wall: The rock above the vein or seam in mine

Jack Leg:  A percussive tool that is compressed air powered, used to bore holes in rock

Leaverite:  Rock of no value, The miners gave term referring to a rock “you would leave right there” not a real rock name

Locomotive:  Mobile equipment to haul ore, supplies, and/ or  people on rails or tracks

Mucker:  A front end loader that scoops and hauls broken rock

Ore:  Rocks or minerals from which metal can be extracted

Ore Car:  Rail car used to haul ore out of mine

Ore Pile:  Rock that can be mined for profit

Ore Pocket:  A chute where ore is removed from a  stope

Pillar:  Rock left behind for support/a column of rock left to support ceiling

Poor Rock:  A waste product of mining

Rib:  The left or right side of a drift, tunnel, or adit

Shaft:  A vertical inclined opening for miner to access ore

Stope:  Opening made in the process of extracting ore, also called a room

Tunnel/Drift:  A horizontal passageway through rock

Vein:  A long layer of rock or minerals

Wizen:  A shaft sunk from one level to another

We require 48 hours notice to prepare your reservation.


During the season, we are open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Looking to visit on another day of the week? We offer 'Pick Your Own Day' bookings for a $75 fee depending on the availability of our staff. Please call for more details.

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