The Journal was started in Nevada City, California, in September 1931, by
Mrs. Elsie Willoughby, under the name California Mining Journal, to fill a need by providing miners with a voice and a marketplace for their goods and services.
Within a year it was purchased by J.P. Hall and moved to Auburn, California. Mr. Hall remained the editor for 30 years, overseeing the Journal during Roosevelt's intervention to halt the convertibility of dollar bills into gold and his raising of the gold price to $35.00 per ounce, the closure of all non-essential mines for WWII, and the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944 which set an international gold exchange standard and created the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The Journal thrived in California due to the efforts of J.P. and his staff, and began reaching miners in other western states. The Journal headquarters was moved to Santa Cruz, California, in 1948.
In 1962, the Journal was sold to Newell H. Leppert and his wife Jean. Mr. Leppert's time at the helm was cut short, and Jean took over after Newell's death in 1966. Herbert Reid was hired as managing editor, and along with his wife, Jewell, they purchased the magazine in 1969.
The Journal continued to expand its circulation, adding readers in several eastern states and a few in Canada. In 1979, Herbert and Jewell Reid were ready to retire, and the Journal was purchased by Kenneth and Kathleen Harn—Herbert Reid's son-in-law and daughter.
From 1979 to 1981, the monthly Journal more than tripled in size, helped along by high gold prices ($870 on January 21, 1980) and increased advertising. The offices were moved a few miles, relocating in Aptos, California. Efforts to increase circulation were successful over the years, and the name was changed to International California Mining Journal in 1994 to reflect the worldwide coverage and readership.
The Journal would change hands one more time. In 1999, Scott and Sally Harn purchased the magazine from his parents, marking the third generation of the same family to run the Journal.
The web site was expanded from six pages to over 1,600. The familiar gold cover received a splash of color. The word "California" was removed from the title in 2002 to what we are now known as—ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal.
In 2005, the office was moved about two miles to the town of Soquel, California, though the post office box remains in Aptos.
The Journal has continued to expand, with readers in every state and 23 countries. It's now distributed monthly to paid subscribers, newsstands and various tradeshows, with over 40,000 monthly readers and approximately 42,000 monthly web site visitors.
While the Journal has changed hands and titles a few times since its beginning in 1931, the goal still remains the same—to provide miners with a voice, a marketplace for their goods and services, and maybe teach them something new.