Community Description and Overview
Mineral County spans an area of 3,813 square miles, over 80% of which is federally managed. Hawthorne is the county seat. The 2014 United States Census Bureau estimated Mineral County to have a population of roughly 4,500 with the majority of the population dispersed throughout the towns of Hawthorne (3,269), Schurz (Walker River Paiute Indian Reservation) (658), Walker Lake (275) , Mina (155), and Luning (98).
Mineral County is located in west-central Nevada and is adjacent to Mount Grant and the Wassuk, Gillis, Gabbs Valley, Pilot Mountains, Excelsior and White Mountain ranges.
Mineral County was officially created in 1911. The county was aptly named for the discovery of gold in the town of Aurora in 1860. Mining of gold, silver, copper, mercury, and iron are just a few of the minerals that have been mined from Mineral County.
The U.S. Ammunition Depot (Hawthorne Army Depot) is the largest industrial proponent of the county. The Hawthorne Army Depot was established in September of 1930. Since then it has had numerous name changes. The facility’s original purpose was to receive, store, maintain, renovate, and issue ammunition, explosives, and other ordnance weapons. The site currently serves as a storage facility and holds training exercises for Reserve Marines.
Many residents and tourists love Mineral County for the abundant recreational activities made available such as hiking, fishing, boating, horseback riding, and ghost town exploration. Walker Lake offers many recreation opportunities to residents and visitors year-round. Hawthorne is also home to the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum and the 1942 USO Building.
With the exception of two small areas (northern and southeastern), Mineral County is supplied electrical energy from NV Energy.
Renewable Energy Factors
Mineral County contains an ample supply of renewable energy resources, including biomass, geothermal, and solar resources. Mineral County has the potential, due to its geographic proximity, to transmit power across state lines to the California system.
The RDSBC Mineral County, NV Renewable Energy Resources map (right) shows solar resources for Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and tilted Photovoltaic (PV), favorability for Geothermal Potential, annual average Wind Resource at 50-meter height above ground surface, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland as a Biomass energy source, and transmission lines and substations for capacities 230 kV or greater.
CLICK here or on the map image to view or download the 34″ x 44″ PDF version of the map. Please note: the file is large and may take a while to display.
Mineral County has potential biomass resource utilization in the form of Pinyon-juniper forests, which can be harvested and used directly as a heat source when burned or used for commercial purposes.
The Don A. Campbell geothermal power plant, located 20 miles west of Gabbs, Nevada, went online at the end of 2013. Ormat Technologies, Inc. made a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA). Ormat will sell the power to SCPPA, using the One Nevada Transmission Line, at a rate of $99 per megawatt hour. Mineral County has favorable resources for geothermal development, as shown by the Don A. Campbell facility, and has the potential to provide Mineral County with economic development opportunities, and to provide clean energy to Nevada and California.
A solar field known as the “Luning Solar Energy Center” has been proposed for construction on 560 acres of public land on the Luning Flats. Invenergy Solar Development, LLC (Invenergy) has submitted an application to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to construct the utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar project. The solar plant would have a generating capacity of up to 50 megawatts (MW) peak capacity and create up to 100 construction jobs. The project will supply $1 million annually to the local economy.
Mineral County Utility Table
CLICK HERE for a PDF version of a table summarizing Mineral County Load Service Utility Information for the load serving utility in Mineral County: NV Energy
RDSBC Brownfields Properties
Under the RDSBC project, five parcels were assessed in Mineral County. The assessed properties included: one parcel at the Cinema Building, one parcel at the ISOM Property, one parcel at the Mineral County School District Administrative Building, one parcel at the Mina School, and one parcel at the Sixth Street School.
Cinema Building (001-134-11):
The Cinema Building, a 3,225 square foot, two-story, wood frame, steel shell, and concrete foundation Quonset hut constructed in 1936 was historically operated as the Cactus Movie Theater.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was conducted in April 2016. Based on the findings of the Phase I ESA, additional environmental investigation was recommended to identify potential underground storage tanks, asbestos-containing materials, and lead-based paint associated with the construction of the Cinema Building. Environmental reports are available upon request.
Isom Property (006-670-09):
The subject site is 19.72 acres of vacant undeveloped land. Based on information gathered from interviews during the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), the subject site was utilized as part of the Former Hawthorne Landfill, which was in operation from the early 1920s until 1972. Easements for electrical transmission lines were granted in 1988.
A Phase I ESA was conducted on the 19.72-acre site in October 2016. Based on the findings of the Phase I ESA, additional environmental investigation was recommended to identify the potential presence of asbestos-containing materials, hazardous waste, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metals associated with the former Hawthorne Landfill buried burn debris. Environmental reports are available upon request.
Mineral County School District Administration Building (001-162-03):
The subject site is comprised of a 0.69-acre parcel containing one 2,752 sq. ft. single-story building constructed in 1918. The subject site is owned by Mineral County School District (MCSD) and was operated as the MCSD Administration Building until 2010; the building was also used as a high school and Western Nevada Community College Hawthorne Centre for periods during its history.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was conducted in October 2016. Based on the findings of the Phase I ESA, additional environmental investigation was recommended to identify potential asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint, and mold growth in the building. Additional investigation was also warranted for identifying any release of petroleum hydrocarbons into the soil on the subject site and potential for vapor migration into the building. Environmental reports are available upon request.
Mina School (003-034-05):
The Mina Elementary School was constructed in 1925 and has been owned by Mineral County School District (MCSD) since. The Mina Elementary Library, a duplex located next to the Mina Elementary building, was constructed in 1940. Based on information obtained through the interview process, this building was used as a library and teacher housing quarters until the school closed in 2001.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was conducted in October 2016. Based on the findings of the Phase I ESA, additional environmental investigation was recommended to identify potential releases of petroleum hydrocarbons, asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint, and vapor migration into the Mina Elementary building via the unfinished basement with open access to the crawlspace beneath the building. Environmental reports are available upon request.
Sixth Street School (001-133-03):
The current building was constructed in 1940. Based on a review of historical documents and interviews, including Mineral County Assessor records and National Register of Historic Places records, the subject site was operated as a school from 1886 until the 1980s and as an Arts and Cultural Center from approximately 2000 to 2012.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was conducted in October 2016. Based on the findings of the Phase I ESA, additional environmental investigation was recommended to identify potential releases of petroleum hydrocarbons, asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint, and mold in the building. Environmental reports are available upon request.