in the 1890’s, the administration for the quincy mining company realized just how huge the expense of having their copper ore processed by the distant smelting factories was. in november, 1808, the quincy smelting works located in ripley, michigan, began its operations. this smelter melted, purified and molded copper ore into copper ingots and ingot bars.
besides processing the quincy mine’s copper, the smelter in ripley also handled the copper ore mined by the arcadian, michigan, franklin, mass, champion, adventure, winona, phoenix, rhode island, victoria, centennial, and allouez mining companies.
the quincy smelting company operated with five reverbatory furnaces. daily each furnace processed about 36,000 pounds of copper ore, with an output of 26,000 pounds of 99% pure copper.
the quincy smelter ceased its operations in 1931. this was followed by the closing of the quincy mine in 1932. the quincy smelter reopened during the years of world war two. also in 1948, the smelter began processing copper from the stamp mill sands of torch and portage lakes. in 1971, the quincy smelter closed permanently after ceasing its processing of stamps stands and scrap copper.
in 2004, the environmental protection agency placed the quincy smelter properties on its “national priority list.” the government agency removed the toxic waste and asbestos from the quincy smelter location.
today the person interested in the mining history of the keweenaw peninsula can tour the remains of the quincy smelter works. they can see the old furnaces, boilers, cooper shop, mineral scales, large metal presses, and tram tracks to the various smelter factory buildings.
the quincy smelter property is one of the last of this kind of mining operations left in the world.