Bisbee's Queen Mine Tour May Shut Down

August 12, 2013

A popular tourist attraction in Southeastern Arizona may be closing down. 

Bisbee’s underground mine tour may be a safety hazard. City officials say the mining company that owns the property has notified them it’s terminating the lease for the Queen Mine Tour out of safety concerns.

City officials say Freeport-McMoRan is citing the finding of radon gas in the mine, as the reason for its concerns. The invisible gas is odorless and tasteless but is estimated to causes thousands of deaths a year to people who inhale it.

The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the country, behind smoking.

The lease termination is to take effect in 60 days but city officials say they’ve referred the matter to the city attorney.

The Queen Mine has not been in operation since 1975, when it was shut down by Freeport’s predecessor, Phelps Dodge Corporation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been modified to reflect the correct spelling of Freeport-McMoRan.

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