MINING: Comeback

Generations of mining men knew Butte, Mont, as an "island of easy money surrounded by oceans of whiskey." For 70 years, the Butte district—a mile high and almost five miles square—supplied the U.S. with one-third of its copper. But in recent years Butte (pop. 40,000) has seen little easy money. Though Butte still has much high-grade ore left, it is getting harder to mine. Since 1940, 8,000 had left Butte for better paying jobs.

Anaconda Copper Mining Co., which had grown into the world's biggest copper producer from the "richest hill on earth," had no such intentions. Cornelius Francis Kelley,...

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