The Detroit Copper Mining Company originated in the Clifton-Morenci district of Arizona, an area celebrated for its abundant copper deposits. Founded in the late 19th century by a group of Michigan investors, which explains the “Detroit” moniker, the company capitalized on the copper boom, implementing modern technologies to improve ore extraction and processing.

By the early 20th century, another major American mining entity, the Phelps Dodge Corporation, took an interest in the region. Recognizing the value and potential of the Detroit Copper Mining Company, Phelps Dodge incorporated it into its vast operations during the 1930s.