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U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3109

Historical Files from Federal Government Mineral Exploration-Assistance Programs, 1950 to 1974

By David G. Frank


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.5 MB)

Congress enacted the Defense Production Act in 1950 to provide funding and support for the exploration and development of critical mineral resources. From 1950 to 1974, three Department of the Interior agencies carried out this mission. Contracts with mine owners provided financial assistance for mineral exploration on a joint-participation basis. These contracts are documented in more than 5,000 “dockets” now archived online by the U.S. Geological Survey. This archive provides access to unique and difficult to recreate information, such as drill logs, assay results, and underground geologic maps, that is invaluable to land and resource management organizations and the minerals industry.

An effort to preserve the data began in 2009, and the entire collection of dockets was electronically scanned. The scanning process used optical character recognition (OCR) when possible, and files were converted into Portable Document Format (.pdf) files, which require Adobe Reader or similar software for viewing. In 2010, the scans were placed online ( and are available to download free of charge.

  • This report is also available in print from:

    USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
    Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
    telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail:

For additional information:
Contact Information, Western Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center, Spokane Office
U.S. Geological Survey
904 W. Riverside Ave., Room 202
Spokane, WA 99201

This report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Frank, D.G., Historical files from Federal government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3109, 2 p.

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