Filed Under Montana Tech

Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology

The Montana State Bureau of Mines and Metallurgy was created in 1919 under the direction of Dr. C.H. Clapp, then president of the Montana State School of Mines. Clapp was director of the Bureau from 1919 to 1921. After his departure, the Bureau floundered a bit until Francis Thomson became president of the Montana State School of Mines, and subsequently the director of the Bureau. Under his leadership, the Bureau published a study that brought increased visibility to the institution, which in turn brought increased funding. Thomson is also credited with changing the name to the State Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Because of Thomson’s efforts, the Bureau was able to hire its first full-time employee, Uuno M. Sahinen. Sahinen worked his way up to become the first Bureau Director and State Geologist who was not president of the School of Mines. So great were his contributions to the Bureau that an annual award is given by the Bureau called the Uuno Sahinen Silver Medallion, which acknowledges outstanding contributions in understanding and development of energy, mineral, or groundwater resources in Montana.

Today, the Bureau is located on Montana Tech’s campus in the Natural Resources Building, and employs 59 people.


Bureau of Mines and Metallurgy Bulletin Cover of a bulletin issued to draw attention to the creation of the Bureau of Mines and Metallurgy, and to explain its purpose and the services available. Creator: State School of Mines (now Montana Tech) Date: 1919


Montana Tech Campus


Story of Butte
Contributors: Lindsay Mulcahy, “Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology,” Story of Butte, accessed September 30, 2023,