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The mining industry is currently one of Winnemucca’s biggest employers, as well as one of the biggest community supporters, continually giving back to our community and the people that live here.


The history of mining in the Winnemucca area dates back to the 1860’s. The first mining claim was actually made on Winnemucca Mountain in 1859. As disappointed prospectors began to return from the placer country in California where their dreams of striking it rich had failed, they retraced their steps across Nevada and prospected as they went. Aided by the Paiute Indians intimate knowledge of the canyons and ranges of Humboldt County, they began to discover rich bodies of ore within a one to two day journey of Winnemucca. 

The most notable of these new mining districts was in the Buena Vista Canyon area of the Humboldt Range. The mining camp at Unionville quickly sprang up at the site. And in 1864, when silver and the Civil War brought Nevada into the Union, Unionville became the seat of Humboldt County, vying with Virginia City and its rich Comstock, as a commercial and cultural center. Even Samuel Clemens lived and worked in Unionville, first as a gentleman prospector and then, as Mark Twain, reporting news for the Humboldt Register.


In the late 1860s, a slowdown in mining, combined with a disastrous fire at Unionville, sent the county seat back to Winnemucca. In addition, the arrival of the railroad in Winnemucca in 1868 served to create an economic life uncomplicated by the wavering fortunes of the mining districts. By the mid-1920s, most mines were played out or abandoned. From there, mining efforts were sporadic until the late 1970s when gold as an industry stepped to the forefront of Humboldt County’s economy. Today, Humboldt County has several major mines that produce gold, silver, limestone, and opals. Nevada is considered the third largest gold producer in the world, behind South Africa and Australia.


Mine Tours
Newmont Mining Corp. offers mine tours to the public, depending on availability and weather conditions. For more information please contact them at (775) 635-4651.


Safety Note: Abandoned and active mines contain hazards that can be deadly for those not properly trained in safe mining practices. The WCVA supports the “Stay Out – Stay Alive” campaign from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. Please do not attempt to explore mining areas without mining professionals.



*Mining photos courtesy of Nemont Mining Corp.








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