As the sun rises above the Black Mesa in a fireball of orange, an elderly Navajo matriarch greets the warmth of the rays and the beauty of the new day. Soon she will herd her sheep and goats to a reclaimed pasture just over the hill, though first she must finish shearing. It’s difficult work, yet a routine that is steeped in tradition. Peabody operates as a guest on ancient Navajo and Hopi lands in Northeastern Arizona, where the Black Mesa and Kayenta mines annually produce about 13 million tons of coal that helps fuel low-cost electricity for the Southwest.
It still remains a little known fact that there is a working salt mine here in Arizona. The Morton Salt, Glendale Facility is located outside of Phoenix and beneath the ground in every direction of the facility lies a vast salt deposit known as the Luke Salt Body. The salt deposit is estimated to contain at least 15 cubic miles of salt. Salt production at the Glendale facility began in 1969 by the Southwest Salt Company. Morton Salt purchased the facility from Southwest Salt in 1985. When visiting the Glendale facility, don’t expect to see a mine shaft protruding upwards from the ground. Solar Salt is produced at Glendale using the solution mining method. Two active brine wells were drilled 3,600 feet below ground level.