NEVADA'S MINERAL PRODUCTION IN 1996

June 1997

This file has been modified to reflect revised production data received after this newsletter was published.

In 1996, Nevada produced an estimated $3.45 billion in minerals (including petroleum and geothermal energy), a 7% increase over 1995 and another new record.

Nevada mineral, oil, and geothermal production, 1982-1996 bargraph

Nevada produced 7.0 million troy ounces of gold worth $2.73 billion in 1996, which is 66.5% of all gold produced in the United States and nearly 10% of all gold produced in the world. Our gold production makes the United States the second leading gold producer in the world.

Gold bargraph

Barrick Gold was the largest gold producer in Nevada in 1996 with total production of 2.22 million ounces: 1.935 million ounces from its Betze-Post Mine in the Eureka County, 205,000 ounces from its Bullfrog Mine in Nye County, and 78,000 ounces from its Meikle Mine in Elko County (the Meikle Mine produced more gold in 1996 than any other underground mine in North America). Newmont Gold was second with 1.70 million ounces from several mines located along the Carlin Trend. Santa Fe Pacific Gold produced 665,000 ounces from its Twin Creeks and Lone Tree Mines. Other large gold producers include Smoky Valley Common Operations' Round Mountain Mine (411,000 oz), Echo Bay Mines' McCoy/Cove Mine (272,000 oz), and Independence Mining's Jerritt Canyon Mine (309,000 oz).

Published gold resources, including mineable reserves and perhaps subeconomic deposits, totaled about 140.5 million ounces at the end of 1996, about 3.5 million ounces less than at the end of 1995. This 3.5 million reduction equals about one-half of the production in 1996.

Silver bargraph

Nevada 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 20.7 million troy ounces of silver worth $110 million in 1996. Echo Bay Mines' McCoy/Cove operation, although primarily a gold producer, produced 7.1 million ounces of silver in 1996. Nevada's second largest silver producer, Coeur d'Alene Mines' Rochester Mine, produced 6.3 million ounces of silver. Kinross Gold's Candelaria Mine was the third largest silver producer in 1996 with about 3.9 million ounces.

Copper bargraph

During most of the 1960s and 1970s, copper was Nevada's most important mineral, averaging about 200 million pounds of production annually during 1969-74, but 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 less than 8 million pounds 1979-92 and about 11 million pounds in 1993-95. In 1996, Nevada's copper production jumped to 99 million pounds. BHP Copper's Robinson property in White Pine County went into production in February 1996 and concentrate containing 84 million pounds of copper, along with 39,000 ounces of gold and 170,000 ounces of silver, was shipped in 1996 to Arizona for smelting. Arimetco's Yerington and MacArthur Mines in Lyon County, the only other active copper mines in Nevada, produced 15 million pounds of copper in 1996.

Mercury

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.

Industrial minerals

Nevada produced about $397 million worth of industrial minerals in 1996, an 18% increase over 1995. The most important industrial minerals produced in Nevada in 1996 (in order of total value sold) were aggregate, diatomite, lime, barite, cement, lithium carbonate, gypsum, silica, clay, and magnesia. Nevada continues to lead the nation in barite production and is second in the production of diatomite and lithium.

Oil bargraph

There are three oil-producing areas in Nevada: Railroad Valley in Nye County, Pine Valley in Eureka County, and a new one, Deadman Creek in northeastern Elko 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 markedly in the past four years. Nevada produced 1.1 million barrels of oil worth $16 million in 1996, an 18% decrease in volume but no change in value from 1995. Two new wells in Railroad Valley and one redrilled well in Deadman Creek became producers in 1996. The redrilled well in Deadman Creek is the first and only producer in Elko County.

Geothermal power bargraph

Nevada's geothermal electric power sales in 1996 were 1,360,000 megawatt-hours worth $109 million, about the same as in the three previous years. Total geothermal power-generating capacity of Nevada's ten plants stands at 210 megawatts, also about the same as during the three previous years. No new plants have been installed in the past four years but six new plants are planned.

Mining claims bargraph

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 130,600 as of October 1, 1996.

Most of the 1995 and 1996 production data reported here were collected by the Nevada Division of Minerals. Some of the 1996 figures are still preliminary. For more complete information on Nevada's 1996 mineral production as well as other aspects of the Nevada mineral industry, see NBMG Special Publication MI-1996, The Nevada Mineral Industry 1996, which is planned for publication in August 1997.