About ASMI Agency

Paul D. Marsh

Arizona State Mine Inspector

Letter from the Mine Inspector

Arizona has always had a rich history of mining, with the earliest miners in what is now Arizona were Native Americans who chiefly mined surface outcrops of salt, clays, hematite, quartz, obsidian, stone, turquoise, and coal.  In the late 1600s, Spanish explorers hunted for metallic deposits with especial interest in gold and silver. 

In 1854, in Ajo Arizona, the Arizona Mining and Trading Company launched the modern era of hard-rock mining.  A burgeoning mining industry stimulated early growth in the Arizona Territory, and by 1864 nearly 25 percent of the male, non-native populace was prospectors.  By the 1870’s a plethora of hard-rock mines were yielding impressive volumes of copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold ore.  In 1912, the newly christened state of Arizona supported 445 active mines, 72 concentrating facilities, and 11 smelters. Today, Arizona leads the nation in non-fuel mineral production with over 450 active mines. Arizona continues to be the leader in Copper production, supplying over 70% of the copper production in the USA.

The Mission of the State Mine Inspector’s Office is to ensure the health and safety of people working at mines, coordinate the closure of abandoned mines on state and private land posing a threat to public health and safety, and to ensure that lands used for mining are properly reclaimed for public use once mining is completed. The State Mine Inspector is a statewide elected constitutional officer, the only elected mine inspector in the US and the director of the Office of the State Mine Inspector.

The Office of the State Mine Inspector was established by the Constitution of the State of Arizona, Article XIX. The agency enforces statutes, rules, and regulations applicable to mine safety, health, and land reclamation under ARS Title 27 Minerals, Oil and Gas and Arizona Administrative Code Title 11 - Mining. The agency helps ensure miner safety by inspecting work conditions and practices at active mining operations; investigating mine accidents, employee and public complaints about mine safety; and by conducting federally certified miner and instructor safety training.

To protect the public against the dangers of abandoned mines, the agency investigates and inventories abandoned mine sites, assesses their risk to public health and safety, coordinates securing or closure of those that are found to be dangerous. The agency promotes public safety regarding abandoned mines by "Stay Out Stay Alive" promotions, presentations and publications; complaint investigations and mine owner ARS 27-318 compliance notifications.

Finally, the agency administers reclamation plans and assurances by enforcing the Mined Land Reclamation laws, rules and regulations for the restoration of disturbed mine lands to a safe and stable environmental condition once mining is completed.

Yours in Safety and Health,

Paul D. Marsh
Arizona State Mine Inspector

Inspections - Eliminate fatal accidents and reduce number and severity of lost time due to accidents.

Education & Training - Educate and train inexperienced and experienced mine employees in safe work practices and to be in compliance with state and federal mine safety regulations.

Abandoned Mine Lands - Promote public health and safety by identifying and assessing abandoned mines and securing those abandoned mines found to be a threat to the public and the environment.

Reclamation - Promote the restoration of lands disturbed by mining to a safe and stable environmental condition.

Arizona Revised Statutes

Title 27- Minerals, Oil and Gas
Chapter 1, Article 2, State Agencies and Officers
Chapter 3, Articles 1 - 7, Operation of Mines
Chapter 5, Articles 1-6, Mined Land Reclamation
Chapter 6, Articles 1 -6, Aggregate Mined Land Reclamation

Arizona Administrative Code

Title 11. Mines
Ch. 1. State Mine Inspector
Ch. 2. State Mine Inspector - Mined Land Reclamation
Ch. 3 State Mine Inspector - Aggregate Mined Land Reclamation