The State of Nevada is the seventh largest state in the Union in terms of land area.   The Capital of Nevada is Carson City.  Nevada became a territory in 1861 and a state in 1864.   The official state moto is “The Silver State” in a testimony to rich silver ores of the Comstock Lode.  The discovery of the Comstock Lode (1859) resulted in an influx of people which would lead to statehood.

The Consolidated Virginia was the best known mine on the Comstock Lode.

Nevada physiography and geology is interesting.  The state is part of the great basin physiographic province.  Geologically, the state is in the basin and range province.


Wikipedia has recent information on mineral production in Nevada.  Principal Gold Producing Districts in the United States, Geological Survey Professional Paper 610 (PP 610) covers U.S. gold production to 1959.


In the 1960’s the Carlin Gold Mine was developed in northern Nevada.  This initiated a gold mining boom in the state along the Carlin Trend, a major geologic feature.  Per Wikipedia, 2015 gold production was 5.4 million oz.  This is 78% of U.S. gold production and 5.4% of world gold production.  Current mining practice includes open pit mining and heap leaching.  There are a number of large mines of this type along the Carlin trend.  Production from the Carlin Trend has probably pushed Nevada into the top gold producing state in the U.S.

Until 1959 gold producing was 27.5 million oz. to 1959, 4th in the U.S.  In contrast, the Cripple Creek, Colorado district produced 19.1 million oz.  Until 1959, large gold producing districts in Nevada include Virginia City which produced 8.5 million oz. and Goldfield which produced 4.2 million oz.

The Goldfield Deep was one of many companies to operate in Goldfield over the years.

Silver, Lead, and Zinc

The most noted Silver producing area is the Comstock Lode, in Storey County; Virginia City is the county seat.   Silver was discovered at Austin in Lander County in 1863.  Silver was discovered at Tonopah in Nye County in 1900.

Lead and Zinc were mined in numerous districts throughout the State.  Gold was discovered at Eureka, Eureka County in 1864.  However the district soon became known for lead production.  In the 1880’s there were two lead smelters in the town.  Pioche, Lincoln County, was another center of lead and zinc production.  Copper:

The Ely District in White Pine County was the primary copper producing area in the state.  Production was primarily from the mines of the Kennecott Copper Company.

Another copper producing area was near Yerington, Lyon County.  A number of companies operated in the area with indifferent results.  In 1952 Anaconda opened an open pit mine which produced until 1978.  Other:

Other minerals produced in Nevada include tungsten and mercury.

To be continued …