Mining began in Nevada just after the California gold rush in 1849, before Nevada was even a state. Although the political and economic history of Nevada is closely related to the mining industry, state control took a long time to evolve. The first steps towards regulating the mining industry were made in 1909, when the Legislature created the position of Inspector of Mines.
The Mining Inspector was given the right to enter any and all mines at any time. He was responsible for determining safety conditions and collecting statistical information about mines and their operations. The Inspector also collected, arranged and classified mineral and geological specimens from around the state. He then forwarded these to the State School of Mines at the University of Nevada in Reno.
The Mining Inspector made regular reports to the Legislature which included:
- lists of names and data on fatal and non-fatal injuries
- dust counts
- names and locations of mines in operation
- quantities of men working in each mine
- which mines were extracting various kinds of minerals
- mines requiring hoisting engineers.
A standard code of signals and set of rules and regulations related to mine safety and the protection of workers was developed. By 1911 the number of mining accidents in Nevada was reduced significantly.
This collection of mining reports includes the Biennial Reports of the Inspector of Mines to the Legislature from 1909 to 1930, along with reports from the Virginia City School of Mines, an 1893 report from the State Mining Laboratory, a 1921 Ore Samplers report and 1929 Bulletin from the Mackay School of Mines.