The Nickel mine was located in 1880 by John Mason and Charles and William Bell. The Lovelock (or Cobalt) mine was located at the same time, just to the west, by George Lovelock, Sr. and at that time the camp of Bolivia was formed. Some of the first ore from the Lovelock mine is said to have been shipped to Swansea, Wales. In the late 1880s, a $50,000 sulfuric acid leaching plant was erected, but the Italian chemist who designed the plant wasn't familiar with the composition of the ore, causing the plant to be a failure. A 5-ton furnace was later erected, but it blew up shortly after being put into use.

The mines were continuously from 1880 until 1890, when litigation caused them to close. They opened again for a short time from 1904 to 1908, but have remained dormant since.

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