Mining Records


The Great Basin Science Sample and Records Library (GBSSRL) houses mining records for Nevada. Historical Mining District Records are scanned and on line with the originals sent to various locations depending upon the type of document including University of Nevada Reno (UNR), Knowledge Center (KC), Special Collections; UNR, KC, Government Publications; Delamare Library. Copyrighted files can be viewed at GBSSRL. Any of the following collections and materials are open for free public viewing during GBSSRL office hours, and the staff will help locate and pull files for a fee. The GBSSRL can also do custom searches of the files on request for a fee.

Abandoned Mines

NBMG does not have a comprehensive database of all mines and underground workings in the state, and miners especially in the early days, were never required to turn over detailed plans of their operations. However, NBMG does have a number of surface and underground mine maps in the Mining District Files, and NBMG Open-File Report 96-4, Nevada Abandoned Mine Database Compilation Project, consists of a database of all mining symbols plotted from the nearly 2,000 topographic maps that cover the state of Nevada. Many mines are also described in various NBMG bulletins and reports, available from the NBMG Publication Sales Office. Numerous mining related publications, especially including those of the USGS and the now closed U.S. Bureau of Mines discuss various mining operations in Nevada, and these can be found through library searches. Also, the Nevada Historical Society, Special Collections at the University of Nevada, Renocampus, and the Nevada State Archives in Carson City have some mining related materials. The various county recorders offices have mining claim location records (see next section), which are public records open for research. Also, the Nevada Division of Minerals has an Abandoned Mine Lands Program that deals with the hazards of abandoned mines.

>> See also Abandoned Mine Dangers

Active Mines and Current Mineral Exploration

The NBMG annual summary publications, The Nevada Mineral Industry (MI) and Major Mines of Nevada (MM), contain lists of the major active mines and current mineral exploration. Both of these publications are available from the NBMG Publication Sales Office, and MI-94 to the present and MM-97 to the present are also free on our website. NBMG does not have a detailed database of mine production, but the production of many of the mines in MI and MM is noted when it can be determined from public sources. NBMG Open-File Reports entitled Active Metal and Industrial Mineral Mines in Nevada include ARC/INFO export files and databases of the mines listed in MI and MM on a CD-ROM, and 1:1,000,000-scale printouts of these maps. The Mine Safety and Training Section (State Mine Inspector) of the Division of Industrial Relations in Carson City at (775) 684-7085 generally annually produces the Directory of Nevada Mine Operators, which lists both large and small mining operations including the "Mom and Pop" mines and small gravel operations. The mineral exploration summary is more detailed in MI and is divided according to mining district. The activity is compiled from many sources including the American Mines Handbook, Randol Mining Directory, company quarterly and annual reports and press releases--from both hardcopy and websites (see Mining Company Annual Reports and related Resources below), and numerous trade journals, newspapers, and websites.

Claim Staking and Mining Laws, Regulations, and Permits

Staking mining claims and a summary of some of the mining laws related to it is discussed in NBMG Special Publication SP6, Mining Claims Procedures for Nevada Prospectors and Miners. This publication is available from the NBMG Publication Sales Office. The information in SP6 was largely taken from such sources as: The American Law of Mining, 2nd edition, 6 volumes, edited by the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation; the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS); the U.S. Code (USC); U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulations. The American Law of Mining is available at the DeLaMare Library on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. The NRS, USC, CFR, and related materials can also be researched through the University of Nevada, Reno Knowledge Center, and law libraries in general. NBMG does not have an expert in mining law on its staff, and the laws do change periodically. If you have a legal question or a problem, you should research the above mentioned sources or contact an attorney who specializes in mining law.

Developing a mining property requires a number of permits and following the rules and regulations of several State and Federal agencies and generally requires the posting of a bond. NBMG is not a regulatory agency and is not involved at all in the permitting, regulatory, and bonding processes. However, most of this is outlined in NBMG List L-6, State and Federal Permits Required in Nevada before Mining or Milling Can Begin, which is available online and from the NBMG Publication Sales Office.

Commodity Reports

The USGS produces monthly, quarterly, and annual commodity reports and mineral yearbooks. These reports commonly give production, reserve, and price statistics and trends for the United States and other countries for a large number of non-fuel mineral commodities. The now closed U.S. Bureau of Mines compiled these data between 1910 and 1995. Statistics for Nevada can be found in these reports as well as in the annual publications Major Mines of Nevada (1989 to present) and The Nevada Mineral Industry (1979 to present), both of which are available online and from the NBMG Publication Sales Office.

Environmental Impact Statements and Assessments

Environmental impact statements and assessments that have to do with specific mines are filed in and electronically indexed with the Mining District Files.

Mining Company Annual Reports and Related Resources

The GBSSRL has a large but incomplete collection of quarterly annual for many mining companies doing business in Nevada. The collection dates back to the 1980s for some companies and consists largely of paper brochures and booklets. Some older reports are filed in the Mining District Files. The collection is not indexed, and most companies today provide this information on their websites.

The GBSSRL has the American Mines Handbook for 1989, 1990, 1991-92, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. These list numerous mining companies and their corporate backgrounds, mining properties, and exploration activities. For more information regarding the American Mines Handbook please call (800) 668-2374. The GBSSRL also has the Randol Mining Directory for 1993-94. This lists mines and companies and discusses their backgrounds. For more information regarding the Randol Mining Directory please call (303) 526-1626.

Mining District and General Geology Files

The GBSSRL maintains files on the mining districts of Nevada. It also keeps separate but related files on the regional geology of various areas of the state. This material is all from donations because no state law requires detailed mineral exploration, development, and production records be submitted to NBMG. NBMG is not a regulatory agency and does not have access to records of the regulatory agencies such as the Nevada Division of Minerals and the State Mine Inspector at Mine Safety and Training at (775) 684-7085.

The Mining District Files contain maps, reports, assays, production and reserve figures, correspondence, environmental assessments and impact statements, and other material on many but not all of the mining areas in the state. These materials cover from the 1860s to the present. The Mining District Files also include a small file on the Leviathan Mine and a set of MagmaChem reports. The MagmaChem reports are a set of mineral exploration reports and data for mining properties and mining districts in Nevada compiled by Stanley B. Keith and Monte M. Swan of MagmaChem Exploration, Inc., as part of their company's Regional Mineral Exploration and Property Evaluation program.

The text files and some of the maps of the Mining District Files are electronically indexed. These materials have proven invaluable to mineral exploration and development and to archaeological, historical, environmental, and other types of research.

The GBSSRL also has a large number of filed maps that have yet to be fully indexed and entered into the system, and a very large amount of donated materials that have yet to even be indexed. Despite the present bottleneck, however, the GBSSRL is always open to donations of Nevada specific mining and other historical material. Our ultimate goal as manpower, money, and other resources become available is to eventually scan all of this material and provide access to it on our website.

These collections are open for free public viewing (scanned historic mining district files are available for viewing online, paper copies other than copyrighted materials are not available in the GBSSRL office) during GBSSRL office hours, and the staff will help locate and pull files; however, the materials cannot be borrowed directly by the patron. The GBSSRL can do custom searches of the files on request for a fee.

Mining Company Stocks

The GBSSRL does not have a database or files tracking the activity of mining companies for people researching old stock certificates. The DeLaMare Library has a Library Guide that lists resources available for research and companies that do stock searches.