How to Find Natural Copper in Michigan


Thousands of years ago, Native Americans worked copper in the area around what is now Lake Superior. The remains of copper pits, where the mineral was alternately worked with fire and water, still remain. Scientists estimate that over 1.4 billion pounds of copper were mined from these massive copper pits. In more recent times, a massive rush of copper miners from across the United States descended on Michigan in 1843. Today, natural copper nuggets can still be found around Copper Harbor on Lake Superior.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Sluice box
  • Gold pan
  • Metal detector
  • Visit the Caladonia Mine located in the Porcupine Mountains near Ontonagon to dig through ore dumps for copper nuggets. The mine dumps are from the original mining operations on the property. Instructions, specimen identification and supplies are available.

    Red Metal Minerals
    202 Ontonagon St.
    Ontonagon, MI 49953
    Phone: 906-884-6618
    Fax: 906-884-6753

  • Prospect for native copper on public lands in Copper County. Copper is found almost exclusively in Copper County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Pan the gravel from stream beds and creek banks. In designated areas, a sluice box can be used to separate copper nuggets from other river gravels.

  • Locate old ore dumps, and work the tail pilings with a metal detector. Many sizable nuggets were lost because of old production methods, and they can be found in the ore dumps of century-old mining operations. Some of the richest copper mines in the world were located on the Keweenaw Peninsula, about 100 miles long and 10 miles wide, on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Look for copper nuggets with silver inclusions. Michigan locals call these rare nuggets "half breeds." All Michigan native or mass copper is pure metal and easily detected by a metal detector.


  • Photo Credit Rustic copper pot, isolated on white image by Accent from michigan map image by Vladislav Gajic from
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How to Test Gold Nuggets

    Telling a nugget of gold from a material such as copper, which can be treated to closely resemble it, is not always...

  • How to Locate Copper Deposits

    Geologists employ many techniques to locate copper deposits, from testing the components of ore to studying land features to determine probable locations...

  • How to Find Copper & Gold in Electronics

    Electronics have many precious metal components that provide conduction for circuit boards. Certain types of electronics are preferred for copper and gold...

  • List of Michigan's Natural Resources

    Michigan is a unique state in that it consists of a series of peninsulas carved by glaciers and now surrounded by some...

  • The Effects of Natural Gas on Copper Tubing

    Many people use natural gas for heating their homes or their water. However, it's important that if you have a system with...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!