PRECIOUS METAL INDUSTRY IN THE UNITED STATES. 77
000 in silver and gold in the approximate proportion of 6 to 4. Owing to the great expense of working and the exhaustion of its great bonanzas, its lower workings were abandoned at the close of the last decade, and its production during the present decade has been little more than an eighth of what it was during the previous one. In spite of this greatly reduced production its proportion of the total product of the State has been nearly two-fifths of the silver and over three-fifths of the gold. Its lowest years were 1881 and 1882, but, although in 1891 and 1892 its product was more than double that of the two former years, inasmuch as this product mtfst have been derived from ground that had been already worked over, it can not be expected to continue this rate of production for many years longer, especially with the reduced x>rice of silver.
The Eureka district, in the central portion of the State, which has been the largest producer next to the Comstock, gets its ores, which are largely argentiferous galenas and their decomposition products, from the Silurian limestones. They have to be reduced by smelting, which is rendered expensive by the high cost of fuel, and the district consequently has been among the first to be adversely influenced by the reduced price of silver. The output of precious metals has fallen off from $1,250,000 in 1887 to $030,000 in 1892. The most important mines have stopped all new work, and with a continuation of the i>resent low price of silver the production of the district will probably be reduced to an insignificant amount. The ores carry one-third of their value in gold, and the amount of this metal produced by them during the decade, combined with that derived from Comstock ores, make up all but about $2,000,000 out of the $25,000.000 of gold reported during this period for the entire State. If these two sources of supply of the precious metals become exhausted or cease to produce, the additional stimulus which may be given to the search after and development of gold deposits can hardly be expected to afford any adequate compensation for the loss to our gold product which will result therefrom.
Of the numerous smaller mining districts scattered through various portions of the State, it can only be said that, owing to the high cost of working consequent upon the physical conditions described above, their product has been subject to considerable fluctuations during the decade, and their development as a rule can hardly be said to have become established upon a permanent basis. With a reduced price of silver it is probable that many of them, especially those in the southern and eastern part of the State, which have rich silver-beating ores in limestone, will be abandoned. The Pioche district, which, prior to 1880, had produced nearly $20,000,000 from its rich silver-bearing lead ores in limestones and quartzites, has lain idle during the entire decade for the reason that its ores can no longer be profitably worked except by smelting, and this is not possible until the district is reached by a rail-