AZGS Mining Collections

Consolidation of ADMMR with AZGS

On 6 April 2011, Governor Brewer signed SB1615, State Agencies Consolidation, consolidating the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR) with the AZGS, effective July 1, 2011. As part of the consolidation, the Arizona Geological Survey received ADMMR’s maps, photos and manuscript collections. That year, AZGS began a comprehensive inventory of the 30 archival collections, creating finding aids for the more than 10,000 folders, 6,000 maps, and 7,000 photographs. Once complete, the team prioritized digitization and description of the three most commonly accessed collections: the ADMMR mining collection, a series of engineers’ reports and miscellaneous related data; the ADMMR map collection, oversized maps of Arizona’s mines and geology; and the ADMMR photo collection, photographs of mines and prospects taken by ADMMR engineers or donated to the Department.

As of February, 2014, two collections have been uploaded to this site, the ADMMR mining collection and the ADMMR photo collection. Other collections will be added to the site as they are cataloged and digitized. Inventories of all the collections are available at the AZGS Document Repository. Unprocessed documents are available for research in the Phoenix office during regular business hours. Please contact us online or by phone (602-771-1601) for further assistance.

Collections' Origins

In early 1939 the Fourteenth Arizona Legislature created the Department of Mineral Resources to study the economic problems of the mining industry in Arizona, particularly those affecting the small mine operator. The purpose of the new law was to encourage increased mining activity in Arizona by bringing new capital into the state and promoting exploration of the mineral opportunities.

Shortly after establishment of the department, a call for information was sent out to mining companies, small mine owners, and prospectors. The response was overwhelming and the gathering of information continues to this day. The information was organized by specific mine name and location, a system that remains in use.

The content of the mine files varies considerably, but often may contain assay results, drill log data, geologic studies, mine owners’ reports, mine maps, photographs, mine histories, and department engineers’ field reports.

Eventually separate collections for mine maps, photographs, and special collections of consultants and company data were established.

The Arizona Mineral Industry Location System (AzMILS), that identifies more than 10,000 mineral locations statewide, was created by the department in the late 1970s and was based on the department mine file collection and file data of the United States Bureau of Mines. It serves to identify (index) mine names, locations, commodities, and reference materials.