Nevada Minerals Industry
Minerals Industry Report for Nevada
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In 2007, Nevada’s nonfuel raw mineral production was valued at $5.39 billion, based upon annual U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data. This was an increase of $230 million, or 4.5% rise from that of 2006, following a $1.25 billion, or 32%, increase from 2005 to 2006. The increase again set an alltime high for the State, principally owing to continued increases in the annual average prices of copper, gold, and silver. The State continued to rank second in the Nation in total nonfuel mineral production value in 2007, which followed rankings of third in 2005, second 1994–97 and 1999–2004, and first in 1992–93 and 1998. Nevada accounted for more than 7.7% of the U.S. total nonfuel value in 2007.
Nevada, which has led the Nation in gold production since 1981, provided 78% of the Nation’s gold produced in 2007. In 2007, gold accounted for nearly 78% of the State’s total nonfuel raw mineral production value, followed by copper (data withheld—company proprietary data), construction sand and gravel with about 3.4%, and lime, crushed stone, and silver with somewhat less than 2% each. Nevada, for the fifth consecutive year, ranked second in silver production (first from 1987–2001) accounting for 19% of the silver produced from U.S. mines, down from about 22% in 2005–06, 24% in 2004, 26% in 2003, and 30% in 2002.
In 2007, despite a nearly 10% decrease in the production of gold, its value of production increased by nearly 4%, up by $160 million. A more than 12% increase in copper production, principally from Quadra Mining Ltd.’s Robinson Mine, just west of Ely, White Pine County, and higher average prices resulted in a large increase in the commodity’s total value. A large increase in the production of diatomite and even larger increases in those of magnesite and molybdenum led to a combined increase in value of the three of nearly $45 million. A 10% increase in the production of crushed stone resulted in a slightly more than $9 million increase in that mineral commodity's value. Although silver production decreased by about 6.5%, its value rose by nearly $8 million, or up by more than 8%. Although small decreases took place in portland cement production and lithium carbonate production, those commodities’ values rose by about $4 million each. The largest decreases in value took place in construction sand and gravel, down by $44 million, followed by a much smaller decrease in the value of fuller’s earth clay. Decreases in the production of barite, crude gypsum, and industrial sand and gravel in part resulted in smaller yet significant decreases in the values of those mineral commodities. Although not significantly affecting the State’s overall total nonfuel mineral value, the value of gemstone production was down about 23% (table 1).
In 2007, while Nevada continued by far to lead the Nation in the quantity of gold produced, it also continued to be the only State to produce magnesite and lithium carbonate minerals (minerals listed in descending order of value) and remained fi rst of two barite-producing States, second in silver and diatomite, fourth in copper, and sixth in lime and pumice and pumicite. Nevada was second of two States in the production of brucite with the resumption of mining since last reported in 2004. The State increased to tie for 5th from 7th in the production of kaolin, and it decreased to 4th from 3d in crude gypsum production, to 11th from 9th in the production of construction sand and gravel, to 12th from 9th in gemstones (gemstones ranking based upon value), and was the producer of significant quantities of crushed stone and industrial sand and gravel. Mercury was produced as a byproduct of gold-silver processing at several mines, but no data were reported to the USGS. Mercury has not been mined domestically as a primary mineral commodity since the 1992 closure of the McDermitt Mine, located in northern Nevada in Humboldt County, north of Winnemucca (Brooks and Matos, 2005).