Current Mining Activity
industry is enjoying a resurgence due to the upturn
in commodity prices, particularly for metals but also for sand and gravel
and other industrial minerals. In 2005, the value of non fuel mineral production
in Idaho was $906 million, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
This is a new record for the state. Much of the increase in value is accounted
for by molybdenum production from the Thompson Creek mine in Custer County.
Estimates of 2006 production are down slightly to $810 million. For comparison,
2004 non fuel mineral production in Idaho was $446 million, with the phosphate
industry being the largest contributor. Principal metal mines operating
in 2007 are the Thompson Creek mine, the Lucky Friday mine, the Galena mine
and the Golden Chest gold mine. The Lucky Friday and Galena are deep, underground
silver mines in the famous Coeur d’Alene District, one of the world’s
largest silver mining areas with over 1.9 billion ounces of silver produced
since 1884. Exploration activity in Idaho increased significantly in the
past year. For a summary, see the Idaho Annual Review article listed below.
Idaho’s phosphate industry has three large, open pit mines operating
in 2007 in Caribou County. They mine phosphate rock from the Phosphoria
Formation for use in fertilizers, chemicals and consumer products. Three
processing plants are located in Pocatello and Soda Springs. Other important
industrial minerals include sand and gravel and crushed stone for aggregate,
pumice, industrial garnets, zeolites and building stone.
For more information about geology, historic and current mining areas,
gold and silver and other metals, see GeoNote
40, as well as earlier
GeoNotes and the Pamphlet
Series of the Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology,
available through the Survey’s Moscow office. Mine histories of
many properties are also available in the Staff
After the Survey canvasses current mining activity each year, the results
are reported at the December convention of the Northwest Mining Association.
Written accounts are published each year in the May issue of "Mining
Engineering" journal and provided to the U.S. Geological Survey
Minerals Information Office for publication with their annual Minerals
Yearbook chapters. For more details about mining, exploration, prospecting,
and mineral resources, contact Dr. Virginia Gillerman in the Boise Branch
Office of the Survey.
Note: The Survey is not a regulatory agency. Environmental permitting
and monitoring is handled by the federal land management agencies, Idaho
Department of Lands, and other state and federal agencies.
|Links referenced above
|GeoNote 40: Idaho Mining and Geology (2001)
Current Idaho Annual Review Article (from "Mining
Engineering," May 2007 issue, v. 59:5, pp. 82-86)
Annual Review Article (from "Mining
Engineering," May 2006 issue, v.
Annual Review Article(from "Mining Engineering," May, 2004)
Annual Review Article(from "Mining Engineering," May, 2003)
|USGS Minerals Chapters for Idaho