The Division of Minerals is legislatively mandated to conduct the State's AML program to identify inactive mines, rank their degree of hazard, and carry out activities to secure these sites, be it through owners or Division staff. The Division also conducts an extensive public awareness and education campaign focused on the dangers in and around abandoned mines.
Hazardous abandoned mines are found throughout Nevada and pose a significant risk to human and animal life. These mining features can be shafts, adits (horizontal openings), open pits, or stopes and are very unstable due to their age and can be difficult to see when exploring Nevada. Please be careful - know the hazards and what to look for. Being uninformed may result in accidental injury or death. Stay Out and Stay Alive!
Modern mining in Nevada began in 1849 when a Mormon wagon train on their way to California discovered placer gold near present day Dayton. The placer discovery led prospectors to work upstream towards the site now known as Virginia City, and eventually to the discovery of the great Comstock Lode in 1859. When Nevada first became a state, mining was the main contributor to the economy and continues to be one of the top industries in the state today.The vast majority of the abandoned mines in Nevada were in operation before the surface management amendment to the 1872 Mining Law, leaving little to no consequences for miners to walk away from potentially dangerous mine features.