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CHAPTER 47

BUREAU OF MINES * 1. Mission

The Director of the Bureau of Mines is charged with the investigation of the methods of mining, especially in relation to the safety of miners and the appliances best adapted to prevent accidents, the possible improvement of conditions under which mining operations are carried on, the treatment of ores and other mineral substances, the use of explosives and electricity, the prevention of accidents, the prevention of waste, and the improvement of methods in the production of petroleum and natural gas, and other inquiries and technological investigations pertinent to such industries. He has charge of tests and analyses of coals, lignites, ores, and other mineral fuel substances belonging to or for the use of the United States; supervises the work of mine inspection in Alaska; and administers the regulations governing the production of coal, oil, gas, and phosphate from lands mined under government lease. He also has charge of the government fuel yards for the storage and distribution of fuel for the use of and delivery to all branches of the federal service and the municipal government in the District of Columbia and such parts thereof as may be situated immediately without the District of Columbia.1

2. History

The Bureau of Mines was organized July 1, 1910, the result of a demand for special recognition and aid from the federal government for the mining industry, especially for lowering mine accidents and eliminating waste in the mining and metallurgical industries. On its organization, it took over certain mining technologic duties that had been imposed on the Geological Survey, as shown ante.

The scope of the new bureau was considerably extended beyond that of its predecessor, the Technologic Branch of the Survey, especially in including technical processes of production and of utilization, including mineral technology and

*The President, acting under authority of Act Feb. 14, 1903 (32 Stat. 826), by executive order dated June 4, 1925, transferred from the Department of the Interior, to the Department of Commerce, “the Bureau of Mines and the employees thereof, save and except those employees engaged on oil-leasing work and mineral-leasing work, who, with their equipment, shall remain in the Interior Department, together with all appropriations pertaining to the said Bureau of Mines, save and except the appropriations with which the oil and mineral leasing work respectively, are paid for and conducted; the records, save and except those pertaining to leasing work above mentioned, and all public property of said service in the District of Columbia or elsewhere, as provided in the Act of February 14, 1903, supra." This transfer was effective July 1, 1925, but the Bureau of Mines will continue indefinitely to occupy its present quarters in the Department of the Interior, and the nominal transfer is of no practical significance so far as ordinary business concerns with the bureau are involved.

1 Act Feb. 25, 1913 (37 Stat. 681 [Comp. St. 88 783, 78+-787]); Act March 3, 1915 (38 Stat. 959 (Comp. St. 88 787a, 787b]). 2 Act May 16, 1910 (36 Stat. 369).

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metallurgy. In reference to its authorized investigation of the methods of mining, special attention was to be given to the prevention of accidents, the appliances best adapted to provide for the safety of miners, the use of explosives and electricity, the treatment of ores and other mineral substances, and, in short, the possible improvement of mining operating conditions.

In 1910 a federal Inspector of Mines for the territory of Alaska was appointed, in pursuance of the act for the safety of miners in the territories. He reports to the Secretary of the Interior, through the Director of the Bureau of Mines.

In 1911 congressional provision was made for making tests and investigations other than those conducted for the United States government,4 for a reasonable fee.

The bureau's activities during that year may be outlined as follows, and, by
comparison with the activities of 1925 (see Activities, post), its rapid growth
may be seen:
I. Investigations of methods of mining, especially in relation to:
(1) Safety of miners.

(a) Causes and prevention of explosions and fires.
(b) Appliances best adapted to prevent accidents.
(c) Use of explosives and electricity in mining.

(d) Mine rescue and first aid work.
(2) Improvement in mining methods and equipment.

(3) The treatment of ores, etc.
II. Fuel investigations.

(1) Utilization of fuels.
(2) Sampling and analysis of coal, ores, and mineral fuels belonging to

or for the use of the United States government.
The Bureau of Mines was transferred from the Department of the Interior to
the Department of Commerce by the President's Executive Order of June 4, 1925,
effective July 1, 1925.
3. Activities

(a) To conduct and publish reports of inquiries and investigations, with recommendations concerning mining, quarrying, metallurgical and other industries with reference to:

(1) Accidents: Their nature, causes and prevention.
(2) Improvement of conditions, methods, and equipment, in especial ref-

erence to:
(2a) Health.
(2b) Safety

(2c) Prevention of waste.
(3) The use of explosives.
(4) The use of electricity.
(5) The use of safety methods and appliances.

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3 Act June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 703, 742, 743). 4 Act March 4, 1911 (36 Stat. 1363, 1419).

(6) Rescue and first-aid work.

(7) Causes and prevention of mine fires. (b) Establish mining experiment stations, and mine safety stations or cars, with a view to improving conditions in said industries, by safeguarding life and preventing unnecessary waste of resources.5

(c) Enforce regulations governing the operation of mineral leases on public domain.

(d) Manage the government fuel yard at Washington. (e) Manage the inspection of mines and mineral properties in Indian lands.

(f) Conduct various investigations concerning minerals; e. g., lignite. 4. Organization

The organization of the Bureau of Mines is shown in Chart 29. The chiefs of the several divisions serve as consulting engineers to the Director and the bureau in matters pertaining to the field work instrusted to them. The Director reports to the Secretary of the Interior.

6 Act March 3, 1915 (38 Stat. 959 [Comp. St. 88 787a, 787b]).

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5. Publications

(a) Annual Report of the Director of the Bureau of Mines to the Secretary of the Interior. The annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1924, discusses safety measure for coal mines and in the oil industry; automobile exhaust gases; mine ventilation and sanitation; coal preparation in the Northwest; desulphurization of coke by steam; coal utilization and powdered coal and lignites; coal-mining methods; composition of cannel coals, boghead coals, and fuel shales; ash in anthracite; smoke prevention; oil and gas conservation, production, and refining; motor benzol as automobile fuel; Utah hydrocarbons; oil shale; helium gas; studies in ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy; rare metals, radium; researches in ore dressing, leaching of copper ores, flotation of copper minerals, and purification of copper sulphate solution; research on utilization of nonmetallic minerals.

(b) Bulletins, Technical Papers, and Miners Circulars.

(c) Papers printed in technical press. Many brief papers are published by the bureau, on results of its scientific work, in the technical journals.

(d) See List of Publications of the Bureau of Mines, obtainable by addressing Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington. The bureau also publishes various miscellaneous papers, for example, “Coal-Mine Fatalities," Charts, Handbooks, Leasing Regulations, and Report of Committee on Standardization of Petroleum Specifications.

6 Obtainable from Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. ; price, 10 cents. Act March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. 1104 [Comp. St. 88 3502-3520]).

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