Nevada mineral, oil, and geothermal production, 1981-1995 bargraph
Nevada produced 6.8 million troy ounces of gold worth $2.6 billion in 1995, nearly identical to its gold production in 1994. Nevada produces about 65% of all gold produced in the United States and about 10% of all gold produced in the world. Our gold production makes the United States the second leading gold producer in the world.
Barrick Gold was the largest gold producer in Nevada in 1995 with total production of 2.21 million ounces: 2.03 million ounces from its Betze-Post Mine in the Carlin trend and 178,000 ounces from its recently acquired Bullfrog mine in Nye County. Newmont Gold was second with 1.63 million ounces from several mines located along the Carlin trend. Santa Fe Pacific Gold produced 691,000 ounces from its Twin Creeks and Lone Tree Mines. Other large gold producers include Smoky Valley Common Operations' Round Mountain Mine (344,000 oz), Echo Bay Mines' McCoy/Cove Mine (310,000 oz), and Independence Mining's Jerritt Canyon Mine (328,000 oz).
Nevada's known gold resources, which had decreased in 1993 after several years in which the rate of discovery exceeded the rate of extraction, rebounded in 1994 and 1995. Published gold resources, including mineable reserves and perhaps subeconomic deposits, totaled about 144 million ounces at the end of 1995, about 8.5 million ounces more than at the end of 1994, and about 7 million ounces more than the previous peak in 1992. Announced silver resources were 387 million ounces at the end of 1995.
Nevada, the "Silver State," produces more silver than any other state in the Union. Although only two mines in Nevada are currently being operated primarily for silver, most Nevada gold mining operations produce silver as well. These mines produced 24.6 million troy ounces of silver worth $128 million in 1995, an 8% increase in amount and a 6% increase in value from 1994. Echo Bay Mines' McCoy/Cove operation, although primarily a gold producer, is the largest silver producer in North America and produced 11.9 million ounces of silver in 1995. Nevada's second largest silver producer, Coeur d'Alene Mines' Rochester Mine, produced 6.5 million ounces of silver in 1995. The Candelaria Mine, owned by Kinross Gold Corp., was the third largest silver producer in 1995 with about 2.9 million ounces.
During most of the 1960s and 1970s, copper was Nevada's most important mineral but copper production virtually ceased in 1979 as a result of increasing extraction costs, foreign competition, low demand, and more restrictive environmental regulations. Nevada's annual copper production averaged about 200 million pounds during 1969-74, but it averaged less than 8 million pounds 1978-92 and about 10 million pounds in 1993-94. Arimetco's Yerington and MacArthur Mines in Lyon County, currently the only copper mines in Nevada, produced 13 million pounds of copper in 1995. BHP Copper's Robinson property in White Pine County is expected to produce 135 million pounds of copper and more than 100,000 ounces of gold annually over a 16-year period beginning in 1996. These projects plus some other possible new copper producers could return Nevada's copper production to the levels of the early 1970s.
Although no mines are currently being operated for mercury, several gold mining operations produce enough by-product mercury to make Nevada the leading mercury-producing state.
Nevada produced about $325 million worth of industrial minerals in 1995, a 1% increase over 1994. The most important industrial minerals produced in Nevada in 1995 (in order of total value sold) were aggregate, diatomite, lime, cement, barite, gypsum, lithium carbonate, silica, clay, and magnesia. Nevada continues to lead the nation in barite production and is second in the production of diatomite.
The number of active mining claims on federal lands, which decreased from 400,000 in 1992 to 126,000 in 1993 as the result of the levying of an annual rental fee of $100, stood at 118,500 as of October 1, 1995.
Geothermal power bargraph
Nevada's geothermal electric power sales in 1995 reached an all-time high of 1,360,000 megawatt-hours worth $109 million, about 1% more than in the two previous years. Geothermal power-generating capacity at Nevada's ten plants stands at 210 megawatts, also about 1% more than in 1993 and 1994. No new plants have been installed in the past 3 years but six new plants are planned.
There are presently two oil-producing areas in Nevada: Railroad Valley in Nye County and Pine Valley in Eureka County. Annual production reached a high of about 4 million barrels in 1990 but, as a result of watering out of the most productive wells, production has declined drastically in the past three years. Nevada produced 1.3 million barrels of oil worth $16 million in 1995, a 21% decrease in volume and a 17% decrease in value from 1994. Five new wells and one redrilled well became producers in 1995, all in Railroad Valley.
Most of the 1994 and 1995 production data reported here were collected by the Nevada Division of Minerals. Some of the 1995 figures are still pre- liminary. For more complete information on Nevada's 1995 mineral production as well as other aspects of the Nevada mineral industry, see NBMG Special Publication MI-1995, The Nevada Mineral Industry 1995, which is planned for publication in September 1996.