CGS geoscientists conduct mineral resource studies to identify and describe the rocks and minerals associated with these resources. We study mineral deposits to support land use planning and the development of these resources. Some of our projects are currently focused on critical mineral deposits, aggregate, and other industrial mineral resources. Our older publications that are still in use today are being converted to digital formats. GIS data downloads and interactive maps associated with some of our more recent and older studies are included in the GIS Data tab. Results of these studies are available for download on our publications page. The Publications tab on this page includes some of our minerals publications dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.
Mineral resource information is also provided to the general public, teachers, state and federal agencies, and private companies through public requests. The CGS answers email and phone requests for information about a minerals from a large variety of public and private entities. We also have recently provided mineral resource information to several state and federal entities including the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Colorado Office of the State Auditor, Colorado State Land Board, US Bureau of Land Management, and the US Geological Survey. The state’s mineral and energy commodity production, prices, value, exploration, mineral resource issues, and severance tax trends are presented annually in our Mineral and Energy Industry Activities (MEIA) report (IS-85 Colorado Mineral and Energy Industry Activities 2021-2022). This report also provides historic commodity production and price trends.
ON-007-01 — Aggregate Resources of Colorado — Includes information from CGS sand, gravel, and quarry aggregate publications for most of the Front Range counties, Garfield County, as well as a statewide map of older quarry locations. Also includes locations and ratings of these potential resources to assist with land use planning and resource development.
ON-007-02 — Colorado Historic Coal Mines — A compilation of all known coal mining operations in Colorado between 1864-2002: (IS-64 Historic Coal Mines of Colorado). Of the 1,700+ coal mines reported, about 90% have location data that are included on the IS-64 map. Locations include point location data and the estimated extent of the undermined areas from historic maps if available.
ON-007-03M — Mineral Resource Potential Derivative Map — Mineral resource derivative maps using 7.5-minute quadrangles published under the current CGS STATEMAP geologic mapping program. These maps show the general location and mineral potential rating of select aggregate and industrial mineral deposits by geological unit as mapped during the STATEMAP program. The maps are created from these geological maps and historic mining/quarry information to provide a general rating as to their potential for containing select mineral resources. Potential mineral resources include sand and gravel, decomposed granite, crushed stone, clay/claystone/shale, fluorspar, gypsum, limestone and dolomite, dimension stone, and others. Derivative maps are generalizations of detailed geological information that are used to assist non-geologists with evaluating complex geological information. For more about geologic mapping and what the information is used for, see our RockTalk on the subject.
ON-007-05 — StoryMap: Colorado Aggregate Resources – Geology and Industry Overview — Integrates maps, text, and photos about the location and geology of sand, gravel, and quarry aggregates in the state. Includes a description of aggregates, what they are used for, where they are found, how and why the location of these deposits are important to land-use planning, and the general geology of sand, gravel, and rock quarry aggregates.
ON-007-07 — Reconnaissance of Potential Sand Sources in Colorado for Hydraulic Fracturing — Includes data on the two plates included in: RS-47 Reconnaissance of Potential Sand Sources in Colorado for Hydraulic Fracturing. Data from over 800 sample locations across the state include photos of each sample location, photomicrographs of samples, geologic descriptions, estimates of rounding and sphericity, estimates of quartz content and friability, mineralogy, sieve results, and resource ratings.
ON-007-08D — Historic Metal Mining Districts of Colorado (Data) – v20201112 — This data download includes a compilation of individual mining district reviews, organized by county, as well as GIS shapefiles of all districts.
ON-007-08M — Historic Metal Mining Districts of Colorado (Map) – v20201112 — This GIS map includes the most current information for this project.
ON-B-40D — Radioactive Mineral Occurrences of Colorado and Bibliography — This data download includes locations and descriptions of over 2,000 radioactive mineral occurrences in Colorado. Originally published as CGS (B-40 Radioactive Mineral Occurrences of Colorado and Bibliography), locations on the original plates were combined with the information provided in the text document to create a comprehensive spreadsheet, electronic bibliography, county summary document, and GIS data download. Information includes the original mine name, location notes, mine development information, production, background radiation measurements, host rock types, alteration, mineralogy, structure, and references.
ON-B-40M — Radioactive Mineral Occurrences of Colorado and Bibliography — Includes descriptions and the locations of over 2,000 radioactive mineral occurrences in Colorado. Originally published as CGS Bulletin 40 (B-40 Radioactive Mineral Occurrences of Colorado and Bibliography), locations on the original plates were combined with the information provided in the text document to create this informative map. Location information includes the original mine name, location notes, mine development information, production, background radiation measurements, host rock types, alteration, mineralogy, structure, and references. See ON-B-40D for data associated with this map including county summary text, a spreadsheet, and the GIS data files.
ON-OF-78-08M — Select Geological Logs Associated with Coal Resources, Denver and Cheyenne Basins, Colorado — Scanned images of geophysical and lithology logs with rock descriptions for more than 500 locations drilled in the 1960s during coal exploration of these two basins. Useful for geologic mapping, mineral and groundwater resource evaluations, and for land-use reviews.
Annual Colorado Mineral and Energy Industry Activity report — This annual report covers all aspects of mining and extraction in Colorado. This report includes current and historical data for oil, natural gas, molybdenum, gold, uranium, and other commodities produced in the state. Data includes production, prices, tax revenue and distribution, and other mining related subjects relative to Colorado. The following are links to these reports by year: 2021-22 — 2020-21 — 2019-20 — 2018-19 — 2017-18 — 2016-17 — 2015-16 — 2014-15; — 2007
County-wide geology and mineral resource publications — Comprehensive county reports describing the geology, mineral resources, and historic mining for the following counties were completed by the CGS: Gunnison, Lake, Mesa, Moffat, Park, and Saguache. These publications also include compilation geologic maps of each county.
Detailed county-based mineral resource surveys of properties owned by state and managed by the Colorado State Land Board (SLB) — In 1998 the SLB requested that the CGS begin an inventory of the mineral and mineral resource potential on the 4,000,000+ acres of state trust lands. This project proceeded on a county-by-county basis beginning with Phillips County in 1999 and culminating with Baca County in 2003.
Metal deposit publications — Several publications listed in the bibliography below include information about the geology and economics of metal deposits of Colorado. For a summary of metal occurrences, descriptions, and notes about their economic potential see the map and document provided in CGS publication MS-28. Also, MI-01, MI-03, and MI-07 all provide historic summaries of mining in Colorado. The CGS has two comprehensive reports about the location and history of gold and gold placer deposits in Colorado: Gold Occurrences of Colorado and Gold Panning and Placering in Colorado: How and Where.
The following is a bibliography of CGS publications related to energy and mineral resources (as of 2018):
Additional resources associated with mining and mineral resources in Colorado are provided below.
Prospecting — Determining the land status is one of the most important parts of prospecting. Counties can provide more specific information on land ownership. Prospecting in Colorado should not be done on private lands without consent of the property owner. Prospecting on federal land is regulated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. The BLM and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) can answer questions about staking claims, mine permitting, and other information about land status. The Colorado State Land Board manages the state-owned surface and mineral properties.
Colorado Department of Local Affairs — Provides data on federal mineral lease revenue distributed to Colorado counties.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) — Waste water permitting.
Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety — Mine permitting and regulations.
Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety — Inactive and abandoned mines program.
Historic annual mining reports — Reports about mining in the state from the late-19th century to 1965 are maintained by the Colorado State Publications Library.
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission — Oil and natural gas production and other data.
Colorado State Land Board — Information about leasing state lands.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management — Information about mining on federal lands. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also provides specific information about prospecting and how to establish a mining claim. The BLM Royal Gorge Field Office recently (2018) published a mineral potential report for the eastern half of Colorado.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) — Mineral resources program. Specific information about individual commodities are updated in the USGS annual commodity reports. The USGS also provides an online map of their historic Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS). A more recent program, named USMIN, was established by the USGS to provide an updated mineral deposit database for the U.S. The USMIN project also provides a digital download of prospect and mine-related symbols that were digitized from topographic maps.
Mindat.org — the world’s largest open database of minerals, rocks, meteorites, and the mineral localities.
Russell L. & Lyn Wood Mining History Archive (at the Arthur Lakes Library, Colorado School of Mines) — established in 1995 through the generous donations of former Mines Board of Trustees member Russell L. Wood and his wife Lyn, the archive supports research on the history of mining, with emphasis on Colorado and the US West.
Several organizations have more information on minerals mined in Colorado. The Colorado School of Mines Museum of Earth Science in Golden and Denver Museum of Nature and Science both have several specimens collected from Colorado mines on display. The Friends of Mineralogy Colorado Chapter has several publications associated with their field trips and meetings that include metals and mining districts throughout Colorado. Also, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville and the Western Museum of Mining and Industry in Colorado Springs has more on mining and minerals.