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Leadville Colorado, (date unknown). Photo credit: unknown.

Historic Mining Districts


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Colorado’s historic mining districts tell the tale of a state rich in precious minerals. From silver and gold to globally-ranked quantities of industrial minerals and coal, Colorado has a bit of everything. Geologists and miners recognized a broad area throughout central Colorado that contained many precious minerals: the so-called Colorado Mineral Belt. This region has produced much of Colorado’s mineral wealth for many decades, beginning in the 1800s. Prospectors came from all parts of the country to seek their fortune in the mountains of Colorado. When prices of minerals were high, mining hit boom times, creating large communities like historic Leadville, towns that lost population after mineral prices fell or mineral deposits were depleted.

Many mining-related structures stand as a testament to Colorado’s mining history. Some may be seen in towns such as Silverplume along Interstate-70. Mine tailings and spoil piles can be spotted covering hillsides throughout the state.