Nevada Mining Districts

(Winter 1992)

In the spring of 1856, deposits of lead were found in the Spring Mountains about 25 miles northwest of the Mormon Mission in Las Vegas and an association, known as the Lead Mission, was formed to mine the deposits. The location, "Amber Mountain" in what is now the Charleston district of Clark County, may have been the first mining area to be recognized within the boundaries of the present state of Nevada.

The first mining district to be organized, with formal boundaries, rules, and regulations, however, was the Columbia quartz district which came into existence as a result of silver discoveries on northern Nevada's Comstock Lode. This district, organized in the fashion devised by gold miners in neighboring California, was formed in January 1858.

These districts are but two of some 526 areas of mining activity described in Report 47, the latest NBMG study of Nevada mining districts. The report, which consists of a 1:1,000,000-scale map and descriptive text, contains commentaries on the history, location, alternate names, and commodities produced in each of Nevada's districts. The map included with Report 47 differs considerably from the mining district map (NBMG Map 37) prepared by John Schilling in 1976. On the earlier map, which is now out of print, districts were depicted by colored dots of various sizes keyed to dollar production estimates. On the new map, the actual area covered by each district is shown and each area is labeled by its name. Two colors are used, red for metallic districts and blue for nonmetallic districts.

NBMG Report 47 also contains a list of all known historic mining district names cross-referenced to the name currently in use, a list of mining districts arranged by county, and lists of districts for each major commodity supplemented by small maps showing locations of those districts with the most significant production and/or reserves.

---Joseph V. Tingley, Economic Geologist