Nevada is the most mineral-rich state in the union. Outside of the Las Vegas and Reno metropolitan areas, mining plays a major economic role in Nevada. By value, gold is by far the most important mineral in the state. In 2013 alone, the mining industry contributed approximately $8.1 billion dollars to Nevada's gross domestic product. This included over 169 metric tons of gold accounting for 74.5% of the U.S. total and helped make the U.S. the third leading gold producer in the world. Other minerals mined in Nevada include silver, copper, construction aggregates, gypsum, diatomite and lithium.
Most of the mines listed on this page are active, corporate operations. Some offer public tours, but most do not. The convention production team will try to arrange tours of the mines near Ely as part of our schedule of events. Please do not try to access these active mine sites without permission from the owners. You could be subject to arrest for trespassing.
Azurite is a soft, deep blue copper mineral produced by weathering of copper ore deposits. The mineral, a carbonate, has been known since ancient times, and was mentioned in Pliny the Elder's Natural History under the Greek name kuanos. While not a major ore of copper itself, the presence of azurite is a good surface indicator of the presence of weathered copper sulfide ores. It is usually found in association with the chemically very similar malachite, producing a striking color combination of deep blue and bright green.
The intense color of azurite makes it a popular collector's stone. However, bright light, heat, and open air all tend to reduce the intensity of its color over time.
In its early days, Ely, Nevada was a bustling town with numerous small businesses catering to the needs of ranching and mining interests in the area. People came from everywhere and, like many western towns, Ely developed an ethnically diverse population. The stories, characters, and influences of these ethnic groups are now preserved by the Ely Renaissance Society.
Ely's Renaissance Village lies alongside the historic railroad tracks near the town center. The village features a number of small cottages, each themed and decorated to a distinct ethnic heritage. During the summer, visitors may join the wine walk at the village where docents in each house serve food and wine specific to their ethnic region.