Metallic Minerals

A metallic mineral has a distinctive, shiny,metallic luster. Metallic minerals such as gold and silver are also economic minerals. These are valued as beautifully collectible pieces and also for their potential industrial use. The early history of the State of Colorado runs parallel to the history of metal mining and is directly tied to the first significant and documented discovery of gold in the summer of 1858. A party of prospectors discovered placer gold in stream gravels at what is now downtown Denver, near the confluence of the Cherry Creek and South Platte Rivers (Auraria). This discovery led to the first Colorado gold rush. “Pike’s Peak or Bust” was emblazoned on many of the ox-drawn wagons carrying optimistic prospectors.

At various times throughout its history, Colorado has been the leading U.S. producer of gold, silver, molybdenum, lead, zinc, uranium, and tungsten. Other metals that have been mined in Colorado include copper, tin, vanadium, iron, beryllium, lithium, rare earth elements, thorium, tantalum, and manganese.

Total Metallic Mineral Production through 1953
Gold
1858-1953 39,937,129 fine ounces
Silver
1858-1953 750,098,322 fine ounces
Copper
1868-1953 640,702,430 pounds
Lead
1869-1953 5,303,666,583pounds

Zinc

1895-1953
3,326,405,985pounds