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Department of Mines and Minerals - RG 245 | Illinois State Archives

Name: Department of Mines and Minerals - RG 245

Historical Note:

The Department of Mines and Minerals was created in 1917. It absorbed several boards and commissions which had been created earlier to regulate mining. In 1883 the state was divided into five inspection districts and the Governor appointed an inspector for each to oversee practices and safety regulations (L. 1883, p. 118). Also in that year a Board of Examiners for Mine Inspectors, composed of two coal operators, two coal miners, and one mining engineer, was created to judge the qualifications of candidates for the position of mine inspector (L. 1883, p. 119). In 1899 this board's name changed to the State Mining Board and its responsibilities included examining and certifying mine inspectors, mine managers, mine examiners, and hoisting engineers. It further supervised the state mine inspection service (L. 1899, p. 306). A Commission on Mine Fire Fighting and Rescue Stations in Coal Fields was created in 1910 to establish regional rescue stations for mine disaster situations. It made annual reports to the Governor and was composed of two coal operators, two coal miners, one state mine inspector, one representative of the Department of Mining at the University of Illinois, and one representative from the Federal Bureau of Mines, all appointed by the Governor (L. 1910, p. 2). In 1913 a Miner Examining Board, composed of three members appointed by the Governor, was created to examine the qualifications of miners and to issue certifications (L. 1913, p. 438).

The Civil Administrative Code of 1917 brought all of these responsibilities under the newly created Department of Mines and Minerals. The State Mining Board, the Miners' Examination Commission, and the Mine Fire Fighting and Rescue Station Commission were preserved under the new department. The department also was charged with studying the nature and prevention of mine accidents; distributing information on improved mining methods and equipment; studying the economic conditions affecting mining, quarrying, metallurgical, clay, oil, and other mineral industries; and cooperating with the University of Illinois in promoting the technical efficiency of mining operations (L. 1917, p. 22). The department added a Division of Oil and Gas in 1941 to regulate oil, gas, and water wells (L. 1941, p. 934) and a Division of Land Reclamation in 1962 following passage of a surface mining law to ensure surface mine closure and reclamation (L. 1961, p. 3113).

For an administrative history of the STATE MINING BOARD see RG 365.000.

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