Eureka County was established in 1873 and formed from Lander County after silver was discovered more than 100 miles (160 km) east of Austin. The residents of the new mining camp complained that Austin was too far to go for county business and a new county was created. It was named for the ancient Greek term, Eureka, meaning, “I have found it.” This term was used earlier in California and other locations. Eureka has always been the county seat.
Gold was discovered in the vicinity of Carlin in Eureka County in the 1870s, but production was small. Placer deposits were discovered in 1907, but the deposits were too small to cause much excitement. It was not until 1961 that the Newmont Mining Corporation found the large low-grade gold deposit at Carlin that the mining industry began to take notice. The Carlin mine began producing gold in 1965, but at the price then of $35 per troy ounce, the ore grade was still too low to cause a rush to northern Nevada. It was not until the gold price shot up in the late 1970s that mining companies rushed to look for similar deposits.
The Carlin Trend, part of what is also known as the Carlin Unconformity by geologists, is 5 miles (8 km) wide and 40 miles (60 km) long running northwest-southeast, has since produced more gold than any other mining district in the United States. The trend surpassed 50,000,000 troy ounces (1,600 t) of gold in 2002. The Carlin and other mines along the trend pioneered the method of open-pit mining with cyanide heap leach recovery that is today used at large low-grade gold mines worldwide.
New ore deposits are still being opened along the trend. The South Arturo deposit was discovered by Barrick Gold in 2005. The deposit contains an estimated 1,300,000 troy ounces (40 t) of gold. Gold Standard Ventures is currently exploring the Railroad project on the southern portion of the Carlin Trend, within the historic Bullion Mining District and has drill intercepted Carlin styled gold mineralization in 2011/2012.
Nevada is now the leading gold-producing state in the nation, in 2007 producing 80% of the gold mined in the United States. Almost all the gold in Nevada comes from large open pit mining and cyanide heap leaching recovery. A number of major mining companies, such as Newmont Mining, operate gold mines in the state. Active gold mines include Jerritt Canyon and the Getchell Mine.