History of the Silver State: Nevada and its Silver Districts
Nevada and its silver districts built the western territory into a modern American state.
Today, the world best knows Nevada for its modern gold production—however, a new generation is rediscovering Nevada’s famous silver districts and their potential.
This infographic comes to us from Blackrock Gold and outlines the history of Nevada and its legendary silver districts.
A Timeline of Nevada’s Famous Silver Districts
The Paiute, Shoshone, Quoeech, Washoe, and Walapai tribes populated the territory that is now the American state of Nevada before the Europeans arrived in the 18th century.
Nevada became part of the Spanish Empire as part of the greater province of New Spain, and then later Mexico after independence. As a result of the Mexican–American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico permanently lost Alta California in 1848.
The United States continued to administer the area as a territory. As part of the Mexican Cession in 1848 and then the California Gold Rush, the state’s area was first part of the Utah Territory, then the Nevada Territory in 1861.
However, the great Comstock mining boom of 1859 in Virginia City consolidated the area as part of the United States. Silver discoveries and mining spurred development and statehood, all by uncovering the famous silver districts of Nevada.
An eccentric Canadian from Trenton, Ontario, Henry Comstock gave his last name to a discovery that launched mining in Nevada. In 1859, Comstock revealed his discovery and sparked a silver rush, sending thousands of prospectors into Nevada and becoming the genesis of Nevada’s mining industry.
Accidental Treasure: The Tonopah Silver District
Over time, miners exhausted the initial discoveries of silver until the Tonopah District in 1900 revived silver mining in the state.
As the legend goes, Jim Butler discovered the Tonopah district and its silver-rich ore. He went looking for a pack mule that wandered off in the night and sought shelter near a rock outcropping.
When Butler discovered the animal the next morning, he picked up a rock to throw at it in frustration and noticed the rock was heavy. He had stumbled upon the second-richest silver strike in all of Nevada’s history.
Silver production exploded in Tonopah and peaked at 450,000 ounces a year in 1915. However, between World War 1, the Great Depression, and World War 2, the country was exhausted of workers, and silver production tumbled by 1950.
The early suspension of mining in the region left it ripe for new exploration and discovery.
Unrealized Potential in Nevada for Silver Discovery
Today the bulk of the current mining in Nevada occurs along the Cortez and Carlin gold trends in the northeast. However the state’s earliest discoveries lie in what is known as the Walker Lane Trend that extends the entire western border of the state.
Several companies have taken note and are applying modern exploration to a neglected area for a new generation of silver discovery, and the Tonopah lies at the center of the Walker Lane Trend.
It is in the Tonopah Silver district where the past of Nevada lies—and the future will, too.
An Introduction to MSCI ESG Indexes
With an extensive suite of ESG indexes on offer, MSCI aims to support investors as they build a more personalized and resilient portfolio.
An Introduction to MSCI ESG Indexes
There are various portfolio objectives within the realm of sustainable investing.
For example, some investors may want to build a portfolio that reflects their personal values. Others may see environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria as a tool for improving long-term returns, or as a way to create positive impact. A combination of all three of these motivations is also possible.
To support investors as they embark on their sustainable journey, our sponsor, MSCI, offers over 1,500 purpose-built ESG indexes. In this infographic, we’ll take a holistic view at what these indexes are designed to achieve.
An Extensive Suite of ESG & Climate Indexes
Below, we’ll summarize the four overarching objectives that MSCI’s ESG & climate indexes are designed to support.
Objective 1: Integrate a broad set of ESG issues
Investors with this objective believe that incorporating ESG criteria can improve their long-term risk-adjusted returns.
The MSCI ESG Leaders indexes are designed to support these investors by targeting companies that have the highest ESG-rated performance from each sector of the parent index.
For those who do not wish to deviate from the parent index, the MSCI ESG Universal indexes may be better suited. This family of indexes will adjust weights according to ESG performance to maintain the broadest possible universe.
Objective 2: Generate social or environmental benefits
A common challenge that impact investors face is measuring their non-financial results.
Consider an asset owner who wishes to support gender diversity through their portfolios. In order to gauge their success, they would need to regularly filter the entire investment universe for updates regarding corporate diversity and related initiatives.
In this scenario, linking their portfolios to an MSCI Women’s Leadership Index would negate much of this groundwork. Relative to a parent index, these indexes aim to include companies which lead their respective countries in terms of female representation.
Objective 3: Exclude controversial activities
Many institutional investors have mandates that require them to avoid certain sectors or industries. For example, approximately $14.6 trillion in institutional capital is in the process of divesting from fossil fuels.
To support these efforts, MSCI offers indexes that either:
- Exclude individual sectors such as fossil fuels, tobacco, or weapons;
- Exclude companies from a combination of these sectors; or
- Exclude companies that are not compatible with certain religious values.
Objective 4: Identify climate risks and opportunities
Climate change poses a number of wide-reaching risks and opportunities for investors, making it difficult to tailor a portfolio accordingly.
With MSCI’s climate indexes, asset owners gain the tools they need to build a more resilient portfolio. The MSCI Climate Change indexes, for example, reduce exposure to stranded assets, increase exposure to solution providers, and target a minimum 30% reduction in emissions.
An Index for Every Objective
Regardless of your motivation for pursuing sustainable investment, the need for an appropriate benchmark is something that everyone shares.
With an extensive suite of ESG indexes designed specifically for sustainability and climate change, MSCI aims to support asset owners as they build a more unique and personalized portfolio.
Tracked: The U.S. Utilities ESG Report Card
This graphic acts as an ESG report card that tracks the ESG metrics reported by different utilities in the U.S.—what gets left out?
Tracked: The U.S. Utilities ESG Report Card
As emissions reductions and sustainable practices become more important for electrical utilities, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting is coming under increased scrutiny.
Once seen as optional by most companies, ESG reports and sustainability plans have become commonplace in the power industry. In addition to reporting what’s needed by regulatory state laws, many utilities utilize reporting frameworks like the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) ESG Initiative or the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.
But inconsistent regulations, mixed definitions, and perceived importance levels have led some utilities to report significantly more environmental metrics than others.
How do U.S. utilities’ ESG reports stack up? This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council tracks the ESG metrics reported by 50 different U.S. based investor-owned utilities (IOUs).
What’s Consistent Across ESG Reports
To complete the assessment of U.S. utilities, ESG reports, sustainability plans, and company websites were examined. A metric was considered tracked if it had concrete numbers provided, so vague wording or non-detailed projections weren’t included.
Of the 50 IOU parent companies analyzed, 46 have headquarters in the U.S. while four are foreign-owned, but all are regulated by the states in which they operate.
For a few of the most agreed-upon and regulated measures, U.S. utilities tracked them almost across the board. These included direct scope 1 emissions from generated electricity, the utility’s current fuel mix, and water and waste treatment.
Another commonly reported metric was scope 2 emissions, which include electricity emissions purchased by the utility companies for company consumption. However, a majority of the reporting utilities labeled all purchased electricity emissions as scope 2, even though purchased electricity for downstream consumers are traditionally considered scope 3 or value-chain emissions:
- Scope 1: Direct (owned) emissions.
- Scope 2: Indirect electricity emissions from internal electricity consumption. Includes purchased power for internal company usage (heat, electrical).
- Scope 3: Indirect value-chain emissions, including purchased goods/services (including electricity for non-internal use), business travel, and waste.
ESG Inconsistencies, Confusion, and Unimportance
Even putting aside mixed definitions and labeling, there were many inconsistencies and question marks arising from utility ESG reports.
For example, some utilities reported scope 3 emissions as business travel only, without including other value chain emissions. Others included future energy mixes that weren’t separated by fuel and instead grouped into “renewable” and “non-renewable.”
The biggest discrepancies, however, were between what each utility is required to report, as well as what they choose to. That means that metrics like internal energy consumption didn’t need to be reported by the vast majority.
Likewise, some companies didn’t need to report waste generation or emissions because of “minimal hazardous waste generation” that fell under a certain threshold. Other metrics like internal vehicle electrification were only checked if the company decided to make a detailed commitment and unveil its plans.
As pressure for the electricity sector to decarbonize continues to increase at the federal level, however, many of these inconsistencies are roadblocks to clear and direct measurements and reduction strategies.
National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource for all things decarbonization in the utilities industry. Learn more.
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