Nevada's 1997 mineral production (including petroleum and geothermal energy) is estimated at $3.3 billion, a 4% decrease from 1996.
Nevada mineral, oil, and geothermal production, 1981-1997 bargraph
Nevada produced 7.83 million troy ounces of gold in 1997, which is about 75% 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. Although Nevada gold production in 1997 increased 13% over 1996, the value of production declined by 6% to $2.54 billion, due to a decrease of 20% in the average price of gold.
Newmont Gold was the largest gold producer in Nevada in 1997 with a total production of 2.72 million ounces: 1.82 million ounces from several mines located along the Carlin Trend in Eureka and Elko Counties and 572,000 and 331,000 ounces, respectively, from its newly acquired Twin Creeks and Lone Tree Mines in Humboldt County. Barrick Gold was second with a total produc-tion of 2.39 million ounces: 1.605 million ounces from its Betze-Post Mine in the Eureka County, 207,000 ounces from its Bullfrog Mine in Nye County, and 574,000 ounces from its Meikle Mine in Elko County. The Betze-Post Mine is the largest gold mine in the United States, and the Meikle Mine produced more gold in 1997 than any other underground mine in North America. Other large gold producers include Smoky Valley Common Operations' Round Mountain Mine (484,000 oz), Placer Dome's Cortez Gold Mines (408,000 oz), and Independence Mining's Jerritt Canyon Mine (312,000 oz).
Published gold resources, including mineable reserves and perhaps subeconomic deposits, totaled about 117 million ounces at the end of 1997, about 15 times the 1997 production.
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. Nevada mines produced 24.6 million troy ounces of silver worth $114 million in 1997. Echo Bay Mines' McCoy/Cove operation, although primarily a gold producer, produced 11.0 million ounces of silver in 1997. Nevada's second largest silver producer, Coeur d'Alene Mines' Rochester Mine, produced 6.7 million ounces of silver. Kinross Gold's Candelaria Mine was the third largest silver producer in 1997 with about 2.9 million ounces.
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, and restrictive environ-mental regulations. Nevada's average copper production averaged less than 8 million pounds 1979-92 and about 11 million pounds in 1993-95. BHP Copper's Robinson Mine in White Pine County went into production in February 1996 and Nevada's copper produc-tion jumped to 99 million pounds in 1996 and to 149 million pounds in 1997. In 1997, concent-rate containing 138 million pounds of copper, 71,000 ounces of gold, and 314,000 ounces of silver was shipped from the Robinson Mine to Arizona for smelting. Arimetco's Yerington Mine in Lyon County, the only other active copper mine in Nevada, produced about 10 million pounds of copper in 1997.
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 $370 million worth of industrial minerals in 1997, a decrease of 7% from 1996. The most important industrial minerals produced in Nevada in 1997 (in order of total value sold) were aggregate ($126 million), lime ($62 million), diatomite ($49 million), barite ($29 million), cement ($29 million), gypsum ($25 million), lithium carbonate ($13 million), clay ($10 million), silica ($10 million), and magnesia ($8 million). Nevada continues to lead the nation in barite production and is second in the production of diatomite and lithium.
There are three oil-producing areas in Nevada: Railroad Valley in Nye County, Pine Valley in Eureka County, and 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 five years. Nevada produced 1.0 million barrels of oil worth $15 million in 1997. Three new wells in Railroad Valley and one new well in the Blackburn Field in Eureka County became producers in 1997.
Geothermal power bargraph
Nevada's geothermal electric power sales in 1997 were 1,348,000 megawatt-hours worth $107 million, about the same as in the four previous years. Total geothermal power-generating capacity of Nevada's 14 plants (on ten sites) stands at 237 megawatts, also about the same as during the past four years. No new plants have been installed in the past five years.
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 148,400 as of October 1, 1997. Most of the production data reported here were collected by the Nevada Division of Minerals. Some of the 1997 figures are still preliminary. For more complete information on Nevada's 1997 mineral production as well as other aspects of the Nevada mineral industry, see NBMG Special Publication MI-1997, The Nevada Mineral Industry 1997.