Gold mining in Nevada

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Gold mining in Nevada, a state of the United States, is a major industry, and one of the largest sources of gold in the world. Nevada currently mines 79% of all the gold in the United States, which is equivalent to 5,640,000 troy ounces (175 t) in 2009.[1] Total gold production from Nevada recorded from 1835 to 2008 totals 152,000,000 troy ounces (4,700 t), worth over US $228 billion at 2011 prices.[2] Almost all the gold in Nevada comes from large open pit mining and cyanide heap leaching recovery. A number of major mining companies, such as Newmont Mining, Goldcorp and Barrick Gold Corporation, operate gold mines in the state. Active gold mines include those at Jerritt Canyon and Carlin.

Unlike coal and oil extraction, where mining companies pay royalties for minerals obtained from public lands, gold mining companies do not pay any royalties for deposits claimed on federal public lands. This is because gold mines on public land operate under the General Mining Act of 1872.[3]

Although Nevada was known much more for silver in the 19th century, many of the early silver-mining districts also produced considerable quantities of gold. The Comstock Lode, for instance, produced 8,600,000 troy ounces (270 t) of gold through 1959, and the Eureka district produced 1,200,000 troy ounces (37 t). And the Robinson copper mine has produced well over 2,700,000 troy ounces (84 t) gold, along with over 4 billion pounds (1,500,000 tonnes) of copper.

Carlin Trend[edit]

Goldstrike (Post-Betze) Mine in the Carlin Trend, the largest Carlin-type deposit in the world, containing more than 35,000,000 troy ounces (1,100 t) gold.[4]

Gold was discovered in the vicinity of Carlin in Eureka County in the 1870s, but production was small. Placer deposits were discovered in 1907, but the deposits were too small to cause much excitement. It was not until 1961 that the Newmont Mining Corporation found the large low-grade gold deposit at Carlin that the mining industry began to take notice. The Carlin mine began producing gold in 1965, but at the price then of $35 per troy ounce, the ore grade was still too low to cause a rush to northern Nevada. It was not until the gold price shot up in the late 1970s that mining companies rushed to look for similar deposits.[5]

The Carlin Trend, part of what is also known as the Carlin Unconformity by geologists, is 5 miles (8 km) wide and 40 miles (60 km) long running northwest-southeast, has since produced more gold than any other mining district in the United States. The trend surpassed 50,000,000 troy ounces (1,600 t) of gold in 2002. The Carlin and other mines along the trend pioneered the method of open-pit mining with cyanide heap leach recovery that is today used at large low-grade gold mines worldwide.

New ore deposits are still being opened along the trend. The South Arturo deposit was discovered by Barrick Gold in 2005. The deposit contains an estimated 1,300,000 troy ounces (40 t) of gold.[6] Gold Standard Ventures is currently exploring the Railroad project on the southern portion of the Carlin Trend, within the historic Bullion Mining District and has drill intercepted Carlin styled gold mineralization in 2011/2012.

Active gold mines also include Jerritt Canyon and the Getchell Mine.

Golden Fleece Mine (Nevada)[edit]

The Golden Fleece Mine, Washoe County, Nevada, near Poeville site, was operated by the Golden Fleece Gold & Silver Mining Company, incorporated on February 2, 1875,[7] which held one patented claim on the site. W. F. Stewart had published a geological report on the mine in 1879, which had an eight-foot vein of ore.[8] The small mining site was located at latitude: 39.584753, longitude: -119.903055 and has received more interest from historical point of view, than for its yield of gold. Several other mines were operating in the Poeville Mining District during 1863 and mid 1880.

Goldfield[edit]

Goldfield was discovered in 1900, and began major gold production in 1902. The ore occurs in altered shear zones in Tertiary dacite and andesite. Total gold production through 1959 was 4,200,000 troy ounces (130 t).[9]

Robinson/Ely[edit]

The Robinson district at Ely, Nevada produced about 3,000,000 troy ounces (93 t) of gold through 1990, as a byproduct of copper mining.[10]

Controversy over royalties[edit]

Many of Nevada's gold mines are located on public land, but the mining companies pay no royalties to the US government. Fighting efforts to have the gold mining industry pay royalties for mining on public land, the local community commission in Elko County, Nevada said that royalties would force mining companies to cut jobs and move elsewhere.[3] In response, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) said the no royalty program is a “rip-off and doesn’t make sense any more,” and if it was changed, “could provide $300 to 400 million in revenue to the US government.“

Gold Mining Companies in Nevada[edit]

See also[edit]

Aerial view of Round Mountain open pit, 2008.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nevada slips in global gold output," Mining Engineering, October 2010, p.13.
  2. ^ Update on Production and Exploration Activity in Nevada - 2009 at Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
  3. ^ a b NBC News, Fleecing of America, March 15, 2010, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#35883250
  4. ^ Western Region Gold Deposits at USGS
  5. ^ Donald M. Hausen and Paul F. Kerr (1969) Fine gold Occurrence at Carlin, Nevada, in Ore Deposits of the United States, 1933-1968, New York: American Institute of Mining Engineers, p.908-940.
  6. ^ Ed Cope and others, "South Arturo: a recent gold discovery on the Carlin Trend," Mining Engineering, Jan. 2008, p.19-25.
  7. ^ Details on the company are held at the Nevada State Archives. Informations on out of business companies are summarized here: [1]
  8. ^ Stewart, W.F.; Geological Report upon the "Golden Fleece" Gold and Silver Mine, Peavine Mining District, Washoe County, Nevada, 1879. A microfilm copy of the report is held at Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno. Information available: [2].
  9. ^ A.H. Koschmann and M.H. Bergendahl, Principal Gold-Producing Districts of the United States, US Geological Survey, Professional Paper 610, p.177-178.
  10. ^ Laurence P. James, 1990, "Gold in the Ely (Robinson) copper district, White Pine County, Nevada," in Gold in Porphyry Copper Systems, US Geological Survey, Bulletin 1857-E, p.E28.
  11. ^ Major Gold Mining Companies in Nevada, United States: tomslibrary.net, retrieved 18 September 2012 

External links[edit]