Nevada’s great mineral wealth established this unique geographic region as a state nearly 150 years ago and continues to be an essential sector in the state’s economy. Thanks to world-class deposits of gold and silver, mining is Nevada’s largest export industry.
Best known for its gold, silver, and copper production, Nevada is also a significant source of a variety of minerals, such as lithium, iron, and molybdenum, necessary for the manufacturing of consumer and commercial goods so important to our contemporary lifestyles. Other industrial minerals used in construction, such as gypsum, limestone, sand, and gravel, are found in abundance in Nevada. With one of the largest geothermal fields in the world, even geothermal heat is mined for power generation.
Nevada’s mining industry was a vital source of technological advancement in the 19th century and continues to drive innovation in engineering and science. The University of Nevada’s Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, based in Reno, is one of the foremost mining schools in the world.
More than 12,000 people are directly employed by the Nevada mining industry, predominantly in rural Nevada, and earn some of the highest annual salaries in the state, averaging $83,000. Mining also requires an extensive support system. For every mining job, approximately four other jobs provide goods and services used by the mining industry.
Odds are that many of the items you use every day contain a little bit of Nevada. Found in building materials, computers, batteries, and a host of other products too numerous to list, Nevada’s minerals are essential to daily life around the world. Even the medals at the London Olympics shone a little brighter, thanks to Nevada gold.