Southwest copper mining industry sees boom

An increase in copper prices has lead to an uptick in hiring for a number of mining operations in the southwest.

The Associated Press reports that hundreds of mining jobs are expected to be added in Arizona, which is considered to be the center of America's copper mining industry.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc., which operates a number of mines in Arizona and New Mexico, is bringing on workers and is considering opening a new mill in Morenci, Arizona, reports the news source.

Ann Carpenter, the president of New Mexico Copper Corp., is expecting to see an increase in the copper industry in New Mexico as well.

"Copper is a principal piece of infrastructure and it's quite critical on the technological side too," she told the news source. "The U.S. is not the only country making these big purchases and expanding infrastructure. We've got it happening all around the planet and that puts a particular pressure point on copper. The projections are quite strong, and we feel pretty confident."

Lee McPheters, director of Arizona State University's Economic Outlook Center, told the Arizona Daily News that mining is one of only a handful of industries in the state that have experienced growth over the last 12 months.