1851 Men skilled in mining and manufacturing were called by Brigham Young to found the pioneer iron mission at Cedar City.
1863 Utah's first mining district, the West Mountain Quartz Mining District, was organized on September 17 at the Jordan Ward meetinghouse adjacent to Archibald Gardner's mill.
1869 The Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads joined at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869 forming the transcontinental railroad.
1872 The Germania Smelting and Refining Company constructed the Germania Smelter in the Murray area. Unscrupulous promoters caused an international scandal with the Emma Mine in Alta.
1882 The D&RGW Railroad purchased the Pleasant Valley Coal Company and Railroad.
1884 Park City is incorporated as a town and a city hall constructed on Main Street.
1888 The Gilsonite Manufacturing Co. was organized in Salt Lake City.
1889 The Inland Crystal Salt Co. (later the Royal Crystal Salt Co.) began salt production.
1900 An explosion at the Winter Quarters Mine near Scofield killed 200 coal miners on May 1.
1903 The Utah Copper Co. was organized by Daniel C. Jackling, a metallurigical engineer from Missouri who began a rich and prolonged career in copper mining in Utah. He became known as the "father of Utah copper mining."
1908 Oil discoveries near Mexican Hat triggered oil drilling activities in the area.
1912 The Western Federation of Miners, with a large contingent of immigrant miners, struck Utah Copper Co. The strike led to the ouster of Leonidas Skliris as a powerful Greek labor agent.
1914 The Standard Chemical Co. initiated the first commercial production of carnotite, containing uranium, from the Henry Mountains.
1922 Utah coal miners joined the nationwide coal miners' strike.
1937 Production of copper rose to 413 million pounds that year.
1941-45 The mine at Bingham Canyon produced one-third of the copper used by the Allies during World War II.
1952 On July 6, Charles A. Steen struck the biggest deposit of high-grade uranium ore in the country at the Mi Vida mine in Moab.
1962 A plant to process potash ore was erected on Cane Creek, near Moab, by the Texas Gulf Sulphur Co.
1973-74 The Arab oil embargo in-creased the demand for low-sulphur Utah coal. Carbon and Emery counties experienced a rebirth in coal mining.
1979 On March 14, the Tintic Mining District Multiple Resource Area was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
1985 The Mercur Mine was purchased by American Barrick Resources Corp., and gold was again produced utilizing a version of the cyanide process of extracting the mineral from rock.
1988-95 The modernization of Kennecott's Utah Copper operation at Bingham Canyon transformed that entity into one of the most efficient copper mines in the world.
The beginnings of commercial mining in Utah date to the arrival of Col. Patrick E. Connor and his California and Nevada Volunteers into the Salt Lake Valley in 1862 to establish Camp Douglas. As experienced prospectors, many of these soldiers searched the nearby Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains for gold and silver. In 1863 they located the first formal claims in Bingham Canyon, followed by discoveries in Tooele County and in Little Cottonwood Canyon (1864).
The completion of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah, in 1869 ultimately made it easier to transport ore and turned small mines into larger operations. Early mining areas included West Mountain (Bingham), Rush Valley (Stockton), Ophir, Mercur, Big and Little Cottonwoods (Alta), Park City, Silver Reef, Tintic (Eureka and Mammoth), American Fork, and Kimberly. By 1912, eighty-eight mining districts were listed for the state and between the years 1899-1928 the Salt Lake Mining Review listed some 122 districts.
A competing railroad, the Denver & Rio Grande Western, arrived in Utah in the late 1880s, opening up the vast coal deposits of Carbon County. Coal camps, such as Castle Gate, Winter Quarters, Clear Creek, Sunnyside, and later Kenilworth and Hiawatha dotted the canyons of southeastern Utah. Coal became king in this region because of the demand for it as fuel in the home and industry. Other camps opened in the Spring Canyon and Gordon Creek areas, as well as in parts of Emery County.
Both metal and coal mining led to population growth and diversity in Utah, including the rise of labor unions. The expansion of these industries required a very large labor force to work in the mines, mills, and smelters and to work on the railroads that transported the minerals. Northern Europeans, such as the Irish, Welsh, and Cornish, along with Chinese railroad workers, had arrived in the coal and metal towns first, followed by southern and eastern Europeans, Japanese, and Mexican laborers. The social and cultural history of immigrant peoples, their interactions and communities, were so important to mining that they cannot be separated from the industry itself.
Copper mining in the Bingham Canyon area became important to Utah in the late 1890s This activity led to the establishment of smelters in the Salt Lake Valley and Tooele County that would add to the national and worldwide importance of Utah's copper industry. The smelters were built by the American Smelting and Refining Company (Murray), the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company (Midvale), and the International Smelting and Refining Company (Tooele). Daniel C. Jackling had introduced open-pit copper mining in Utah and by 1906 work commenced on what would become the largest man-made excavation in the world.
Utah possesses great mineral wealth and its development has affected nearly every part of the state. In addition to gold, silver, copper, and coal, the following minerals also proved to be of significance to mining in Utah: beryllium, clay, gilsonite, gypsum, lead, limestone, magnesium, phosphate, molybdenum, potash, potassium, salt, sand and gravel, stone, tungsten, uranium, vanadium and zinc.
Economic upturns and down swings have dictated the prices and mining activities of Utah's mineral resources from high levels in the late 1890s to the early 1900s, to down swings in the 1920s and 1930s, to upswings in the 1940s and 1950s, back to lows in the 1960s, highs in the 1970s, lows in the 1980s, and so on into the 1990s. Mineral and mining history, important in understanding the state's past, is still being made in Utah.