The Bureau of Mines was first created as the Federal Department of Mines in 1896. The conservation movement at that time envisioned a federal role in helping the Nation use its mineral resources responsibly. Concern over the waste of both human and natural resources was reflected in the President's 1907 recommendation that a U.S. Bureau of Mines be established in the Interior Department.
Congress, however, did not act on this until a series of disasters in the Nation's coal mines had focused public attention on the loss of human life. These disasters took more than 3,000 lives in 1907 alone. On May 16, 1910, Congress passed the Organic Act (Public Law 179) establishing the agency known as the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM). The USBM became functional on July 1, 1910. The USBM's scope of responsibility was extended in 1913 by an amendment to the Organic Act (Public Law 386). This amended act added significantly to the duties, which included the following functions:
-To inquire into the economic conditions affecting these industries.
-To disseminate information concerning these subjects.
The Minneapolis Bureau of Mines campus was constructed in the late 1950' and early 1960' with a $1.5M appropriation from Congress from the then Senator Hubert Humphrey. Prior to ownership of the Minneapolis site by the Bureau of Mines,
Last updated: April 10, 2015