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Ready... The Mining Quarterly staff shadowed Barrick’s Cortez Hills surface blast crew for a day. This combination photo is of blast technicians Bruce Krajewski, left, and Malea Filippini and a trim shot.

Photos - Ross Andreson/Elko Daily Free Press Cover Design - Ken Green/Elko Daily Free Press


— CONTENTS — COVER: 3, 2, 1 MINE Mining Quarterly staff shadowed the Cortez Hills blast crew for a day

Page 48

A challenging edition

MIDWAY Birth of a mine: Company breaks ground for new Pan Mine — Page 4

NEVADA COPPER Pumpkin Hollow: Project full of promise, if the stars align —

Page 14

FLORIDA CANYON Manager predicts busy year: Company continues to experiment with green energy —

Page 38

ELKO — The spring edition of the Mining 2011, it has worked on a project to turn waste Quarterly seems to be a little more chal- material into copper. The leach pad was lenging than the others throughout the year. built in 2011 and construction on the facility I think it is partly due to began in 2012. At the end of trying to schedule mine tours in October the solvent extraction December. No one is available and electrowinning or SX-E during the two weeks before facility began producing and after Christmas and then copper plates. the companies are preparing The Mining Quarterly has their year-end reports. followed this story from the This also is the edition beginning, so it was satisfying that the quarterly reports to see the end product. come in at the last minute — Another beginning we covif they arrive before deadline ered this time around was the at all. Only Barrick’s fourthstart of a new mine. Midway quarter made it this time and Gold broke ground in January it was released the day I finand hopes to have a gold pour ished putting the magazine by the end of this year. The together. staff of the Mining Quarterly As a journalist I love a chalwill keep our readers informed lenge, but sometimes I wish on how this latest addition to they wouldn’t arrive on a regNevada’s mining industry ARIANNE ular basis. fairs. While I faced challenges I was also fortunate to OBAK C OWN shadow a blast crew for a day. with writing deadlines, the mining industry is facing its The Cortez Hills crew allowed own challenges. me and staff photographer Ross Andreson The gold price hovered in the $1,200 to follow them during their daily duties. range through most of December and I always thought it would be fun to blow January and just made a slight jump above stuff up for a living and this group of folks $1,300 Feb. 13. I won’t guess where it will go didn’t change my opinion. While they from here, but the mining companies who worked hard and kept things safe, they are planning around an $1,100 price seem to also showed a camaraderie between each be heading in the right direction. other that seemed more like family. While the gold price may make the future The Mining Quarterly wants to highseem gloomy, many of the mines in Nevada light more miners, whether to examine are doing well and finding new ways to be what their jobs entail or showcase their more efficient and cost effective. hobbies — such as one miner’s passion for While gold receives most of the glory in cowboy poetry. our state,this time around Mining Quarterly We also have continued our “Blasts staff visited three mines producing copper. I From The Past” series. Mining Quarterly almost called this issue our copper and gold correspondent Dee Holzel wrote about the edition. KGHM’s Robinson Mine in Ely reported town of Jungo and its nearby mine, Jumbo. You can find the details on all these storecord production and recovery in 2013. Nevada Copper’s Pumpkin Hollow hopes ries and more in this edition of the Mining to move from exploration to full production Quarterly. ——————— by 2015. If it does, the copper mine estiMarianne Kobak McKown is editor of the mates it will create more than 1,000 jobs. Newmont Mining Corp.’s Phoenix Mine Mining Quarterly and mining editor for the still produces gold, but I have almost started Elko Daily Free Press. She can be reached at to think of it as a copper mine as well. Since mining@elkodaily.com.

M

K

NEWMONT Mine to manufacturer: Phoenix begins copper plate production —

Page 24

Twin Creeks: Work on a new layback begins, site has new process, pilot programs —

Page 90

BARRICK Turquoise Ridge: Mine will soon have a new underground backfill plant —

Page 106

KGHM Robinson: Mine sets several records —

Page 122

MK

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— CONTENTS —

FEATURES

New Agriculture dean at UNR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Northwest Mining Association talks sage grouse . . . . . . .44 Cortez Hills manager sees challenges at site . . . . . . . . . .65

MINER POET

RAM Enterprise opens facility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80

Walt “Bimbo”

Pole Line in business of electricity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88

Cheney talks

Lt. Gov. candidates talk mining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98

about his

Miners on medallions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105

years as a

Cashman Caterpillars built to be rebuilt . . . . . . . . . . . . .112

cowboy —

Meet the blast crew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64

Cooperative Extension to test biochar . . . . . . . . . . . . . .115

Page 101

ALS Minerals in science of soil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .116 Road to Long Canyon closed from public access . . . .119 Barrick reports $2.83 billion loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120 MSHA issues 61 violations to Jerritt Canyon . . . . . . . . . . .129

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Marigold Mine for sale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130 Klondex buys Midas Mine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131 Geologist find natural asbestos fibers in Nevada . . . . . .132

BLASTS FROM THE PAST SERIES Jumbo, Jungo: A tale of a town & a mine . . . . . . . . . . . .69

COLUMNISTS

Richard Baker

Crowley says minerals essential part of life . . . . . . . . . . . .23

MCCOY AND THE REBELLIOUS ORES

Boyce tells how tradition and safety fit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

Columnist Richard Baker examines the impact

Dobra says frack it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79

one man had on Eureka —

MAP & INDEX Mine Map of Nevada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .133 Advertisers Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134-135 2 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

Page 83

MINING QUARTERLY Travis Quast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Publisher Marianne Kobak McKown . . . . . . . . . . Editor To advertise, call 775-738-3118 Mining Quarterly is published in March,June, September and December by the Elko Daily Free Press (USPS No. 173-4320) at 3720 Idaho Street, Elko, Nevada 89801, by Lee Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Lee Enterprises. Periodical postage paid at the Elko Post Office. For change of address write 3720 Idaho St., Elko NV 89801


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Birth of a Mine Midway Gold breaks ground for Pan project By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining QuarterlyEditor

ELKO — Midway Gold broke ground in January for its new mine, and the company is hoping to have a gold pour by the end of the year. “Today we are celebrating a team effort,” Midway Gold President and CEO Ken Brunk said during the ground breaking ceremony Jan. 14. Pan is Midway’s first Nevada mine. “Midway did not make these permits happen - you did,” Brunk told the crowd of company employees, community Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly leaders, and state and federal agencies’ staff who gathered Former Midway Gold CEO Alan Branham, left, and Midway Gold President and CEO Ken Brunk help each other with the compa- for the ceremony. Midway Gold is based in Denver, Colo., and the Pan ny’s ground breaking of its Pan Mine.

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Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

This ceremonial gold shovel was made to commemorate the Jan. 14 groundbreaking. Mine is in White Pine County, about 50 miles west of Ely and 22 miles southeast of Eureka. The mine received its record of decision from the Bureau of Land Management Dec. 20. The mine will consist of two primary open pits, three satellite pits, one heap leach pad, three rock disposal areas and a transmission line. The total surface disturbance will be about 3,301 acres, according to the BLM. Brunk said the Pan Mine is a low-cost, oxidized, Carlin-style gold deposit. The deposit is more than 1 million ounces in size. Brunk said there are three groups of people who make a mine possible - the visionaries, true believers and the doers. The visionaries are the geologists. “These are the folks who recognize what can be here,� he said. “These are the folks who know enough to poke holes in the right places in the ground.� The true believers are the board of directors, and the doers consist of the permitting team. Those who work on the permits range from the company’s employees to the state and federal staff who help finalize the documents. Brunk said the team that worked on the permits set “a new benchmark.� See PAN, 6

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Pan Mine Quick Facts Parameters 130-150 jobs for operation 160 jobs for construction 9 years of mine life 81,000 ounces average annual production

Dollars $1.2 million in property tax estimated per year $12.1 million in payroll estimated per year $18.1 million in net proceeds tax at $1,200 per ounce of gold $70 million total construction cost estimate $585 per ounce in cash cost (this includes royalties, state tax and 5 percent contingency) $824 per ounce in fully loaded cost (this includes cash cost, initial capital and sustaining capital)

Pan ... Continued from page 5

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Jill Moore, EGAN field manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management speaks about the project.

Jill Moore, EGAN field manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said she began working on the project about a year ago, when the draft environmental impact study was being prepared. She said the final EIS was published Nov. 20, and a month

later, the record of decision was signed. “From the notice of intent to that point in time was less than two years. That’s a very significant accomplishment,” she said. See PAN, 9

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Above: Tom Williams, vice president of environmental affairs for Midway, speaks about the Pan Mine project. Opposite page top: A map showing the Pan Mine location. Opposite page bottom: A group photo of those in attendance during the groundbreaking.

Pan ... Continued from page 6 “… That particular accomplishment speaks to the benefits and the importance of open and honest communications, and a true desire to collaborate together toward a goal. I am, speaking for the Bureau of Land Management, I am proud to have been working with this team. ... I just wanted to just take a few minutes to say job well done.” Tom Williams, vice president of environmental affairs for Midway, said the team did a good job. He also said the project would not have been possible without the surrounding communities. “We’ve had a great community support team,” he said. Brunk said the support from the community has been outstanding, but mining companies also have a responsibility to the surrounding area. “When we came here, one of the philosophies … you come in as a guest and you have to earn your way as a resident,” Brunk said. “And we did that not just with contributions as well as not just dollars, but man hours from people who care about the communities they live in.” Brunk said Midway and its employees have taken an active role to be “good neighbors.” “I think it is something mining companies have to do,” he said. “I think every company has to do it, and I really mean that. It’s from the heart. … It’s not just hype, and

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Pan ... Continued from page 9 I’ve done it all my career, all over the world. This is no different.”

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Midway CEO Ken Brunk, far left, presents a map showing the fault on the Pan Mine property is named after the company’s former CEO Alan Branham, who holds the other side of the map. Midway board director Roger Newell is holding the corner of the map.

Highlights of the Pan Project Brunk joined Midway in 2010 when Midway went from an exploration company to production. He became the CEO in 2012. During the ground breaking ceremony, Brunk acknowledged one of his predecessors at Midway. The Pan deposit was discovered in 1978, and in 2007, Alan Branham, Midway’s former CEO, recognized its potential and brought it to the company, Brunk said. In appreciation of Branham’s involvement in the project, Midway decided to name a fault at the site after the former CEO, Brunk said. “We named the fault running through the heart of Pan after Alan, because he gave the company its heart,” Brunk said. When he was CEO, Branham oversaw the growth of the company. He began planning for the Pan Mine and later led the way to five projects total. The Gold Rock Project is also in White Pine County and is scheduled to begin production in 2016. The Spring Valley Project is in Pershing County and a joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp. The Tonopah and Golden Eagle projects are still in exploration phases. Golden Eagle is in Washington state. Branham said the Pan deposit was found in the

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1970s, but he began working on the project in 2007. “We began drilling and we discovered three new ore bodies,� he said. “Then went into permitting and we’re here now ready to begin breaking ground.� Branham said the rapid pace of the permitting was due to an experienced team and the “ecofriendly� nature of the land. The Pan Mine will have minimal impacts to the environment, Brunk said. The property does not have any surface water and there is a minimum of 300 feet between the bottom of the lowest planned pit and the area’s groundwater. The project also won’t impact any threatened or endangered

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

See PAN, 13

Midway Board director Roger Newell, far left, former CEO Alan Branham and mining engineer David Mosch, break the ground where the Pan Mine offices will be constructed. At top left: The blueprints of where the office structures will be located on the property.

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Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Above: CEO Ken Brunk speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony. At left: Laura Baldwin, a geologist at Midway, explains some of the things seen on the geological map of the Pan Mine property.

           

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Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Midway investor relations representative Jaime Wells, far left, Midway Senior Vice President of Operations Rick Moritz, David Mosch and Roger Newell stand with the ceremonial shovel during the Pan Mine ground breaking.

Pan ... Continued from page 11 species, Brunk said. Construction of Pan Construction at the Pan Project was already underway in January. The access road was built and the next steps would be building the mine’s facilities, said Mike Protani, vice president and general manager of Nevada operations. The office buildings would be constructed during the winter and the mine’s other facilities would be built during the summer. The company hopes to start the leach pad by late spring or early summer, Protani said. Ore should be on the pad by June or July. Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly “The ore is basically right on the surMike Protani, vice president and general manface,” he said. “It’s low grade by Nevada ager of Nevada operations for Midway listens standards. It’s .016 ounce per ton. … We during the groundbreaking ceremony. should produce gold most likely fourth quarter of this year.” Protani said the site should have about 50 Midway employees and 80 contractors at the beginning of production. The company expects the employees to come from Eureka and Ely. The South Pan Pit will be mined first. “Our average production will be around 80,000 ounces a year, and of course year one it won’t be that high,” Protani said. “We have about nine years of mine life. We’re currently permitted for 13 years. … Brunk said he expects the mine to last longer than the 13 years. “I look to be a long-term employer for a few decades,” he said. “I think that’s good.” Protani also thought the mine would last longer than the current plan. “We’re excited to get underway and bring in some jobs to central Nevada that needs them and start Nevada’s newest operation,” he said.

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Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

Above: This is the future location for Nevada Copper’s north/south surface pit at Pumpkin Hollow. The company estimates 70,000 tons will be mined per day. Below: A core sample from Pumpkin Hollow.

Nevada Copper’s Pumpkin Hollow project full of promise By DEE HOLZEL Mining Quarterly Correspondent

YERINGTON — While those in northern Nevada watch the gold market with some trepidation, as one mine closing follows another, in the little town of Yerington, in Lyon County, economic prosperity is knocking at the door. Just southeast of Yerington, perhaps a 15 minute drive, is Nevada Copper’s Pumpkin Hollow project. Currently in the advanced exploration stage, the company intends to begin mining in 2015 to recover an estimated mineral inventory of 5.22 billion pounds of copper. Timothy Dyhr, of environment and external relations, said it’s the right time and the right place to fully develop the mineral potential of the property. Copper is particularly profitable right now due

14 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

to the growth in China, which is the primary purchaser of the world’s copper. China requires copper to keep up with demand from industry – in particular the electronic industry. Copper is used in cars, refrigerators, cell phones, and water pipes. What’s good for China may ultimately be good for Lyon County, too, and particularly Yerington. Nevada Copper estimates 1,000 – 1,100 jobs will be created through the development of the mine. Including the primary jobs at Pumpkin Hollow and the secondary jobs created when people have employment and money to spend – the total jobs created was estimated at 2,500. There will be additional jobs through the construction phase. Dyhr pointed out the property itself is ideal for development. Unlike some mines, where the employees have a long distance to travel between home and work,


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Material streams out of the headframe at Nevada Copper.

nearby Yerington is close enough to house a labor force without being so close problems might arise between neighbors. Of course, the most serious issue facing the county right now is not the proximity of jobs but the lack of them. Unemployment in Lyon County has hovered at 11 percent during the last year. Another factor that makes the location attractive for development is the fact the infrastructure is in place to include paved roads and a railroad. There is an airport nearby and the Reno/Tahoe Airport is a 90 minute drive. In some cases, mines have to construct the infrastructure themselves, hiking up the cost of the project. Additionally, there are no sensitive environmental factors that could derail the project, such as sage grouse, and there’s no running water nearby; in fact, the surrounding area has little in the way of plant life. Nevada Copper was formed and acquired the property in 2006 from US Steel, who had drilled 180,000 meters. Since acquiring the property, Nevada Copper has completed more than 154,000

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See COPPER, 16

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 15


Copper ... Continued from page 15 meters of drilling. Following exploration, Nevada Copper will refine the plans for the underground facilities. • Located on the property, a short drive from the main office, is the headframe. From the ground to the top of the steel is 150 feet; to the top of the lightning rods is 154 feet. Four-hundred tons of steel were needed to build the headframe, which is used with the hoist to move materials and people in and out of the shaft. • The hoist house is located nearby. Inside are two hoist drums with enough cable to reach the bottom of the shaft, can move at 2,140 feet/minute, and weigh 77,000 pounds each. • The shaft is 24 feet in diameter and will be 2,200 feet deep. When it is time to mine the deposit, the shaft will be capable of hoisting 7,500 tons of ore per day. That’s enough ore to cover a basketball court with ore 16 feet deep. • The property has about seven core shed storage facilities, of which Nevada Copper built two modern facilities, which house over a million feet of drill core. Less than half of which was drilled by previous companies. Although everything appears rosey, Lyon County – like many in northern Nevada – has been Photo courtesy of Nevada Copper

See COPPER, 19

An excavator moves material in Nevada Copper.

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Copper ... Continued from page 16 waiting for Congress to pass a land’s bill, known as the Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act, which was wrapped up in six other land-use bills. The bill would sell 19 square miles of federal lands at fair market value to Yerington for development of the copper mine. In order to get the bill through committee, the Nevada delegation agreed to a trade: they would sell the property needed for development of the copper mine and other economic development opportunities and in exchange new wilderness area would be created. But the largely conservative House Natural Resource Committee has no love for creating wilderness areas, which are considered the most restrictive of the land-use designations. So the committee tweaked the language in the bill just a bit. Among the changes was language that would prohibit the option of selling privately-held land within the wilderness (known as inholding) to further the cause of conservation. In essence, private property owners could only exchange or donate the property. So? Well, at issue is the possibility the language could Photo courtesy of Nevada Copper

See COPPER, 20

Korin Barnes, project geologist for Nevada Copper, examines samples.

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Copper ... Continued from page 19 derail the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, legislation that puts federal property into private hands with the proceeds going for conservation projects on protected land. The act was negotiated by Senator Harry Reid and political wisdom does not believe he will vote for a bill that would undermine the SNPLMA. Technically the lands-bill passed through the House of Representatives, but whether or not it will make it to the president’s desk seems unlikely. The groan from Yerington was almost audible. Should the bill fail to make it into law, the result would be Nevada Copper would be permitting the open pits on federal lands, which means a Photo courtesy of Nevada Copper

A ride to the top at Nevada Copper’s Pumpkin Hollow.

20 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

See COPPER, 22


Photo courtesy of Nevada Copper

Unloading the muck bucket at Nevada Copperโ€™s Pumpkin Hollow.

Photo courtesy of Nevada Copper

A miner works in the Hank shaft at Nevada Copperโ€™s Pumpkin Hollow.

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Copper ... Continued from page 20 longer permitting process – perhaps up to two years longer. For Yerington, without the land transfer, the city wouldn’t be able to receive any tax dollars from the project. The little town would have to take the load of new employees on their infrastructure without receiving the tax dollars necessary for the city’s upkeep. Most serious, any delay in the project would mean a delay in jobs. The next stop for the bill is for the Senate and House to line up their individual versions. Meanwhile, Nevada Copper has continued seeking financing for development of the project. According to a statement released by the company, the pace for development of the project will be determined by available funding.

Photo courtesy of Nevada Copper

A miner examines the wall of a shaft in Pumpkin Hollow.

22 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


From Nevada’s ground to your home, our minerals are an essential part of modern life By TIM CROWLEY Nevada Mining Association President

I always enjoy reading the Mining Quarterly for detailed updates on various mine projects throughout the state. Each issue consistently has dozens upon dozens of pages filled with valuable information about mining-related economic development. Upon gathering all this data, you might say those stories combine into meaningful points of pride for all miners. For instance, our industry generates roughly 6 percent of all economic activity in Nevada, contributes more than 8 percent of all general fund revenues, and employs nearly more than 12,000 Nevadans with salaries that are double the state average. Nevada mining does this because we are world leaders in providing many of the minerals on which our society depends. Whether it’s gold and silver for

technology, copper for electrical conductivity and plumbing, or clays for paints and other commercial uses, the minerals mined in Nevada are used in people’s lives every day. I find it hard to imagine life without smart phones and computers or pavement for our highways and streets, and none of these demands could be met without mined materials, many of which come from Nevada. Here’s a quick rundown of our state’s accomplishments providing essential minerals: • Nevada is a leading producer of gold, generating 70 percent of all U.S. gold and 8.5 percent of world gold production. From this production, our daily lives are

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enhanced through gold’s integration in technology – such as satellites, personal computers, and high-definition televisions – medical equipment, automobiles and, of course, jewelry. • Nevada is the 15th leading global producer of copper, providing a resource needed for most of our electric cables, wires and switches. In addition, copper is commonly used in alloys for plumbing fixtures and piping. Our homes are filled with copper and the list of essential products dependent upon this metal is long. • Nevada produces 8 percent of the world’s barite, making our state the fourth leading global producer. Mostly known for its application with drilling fluids, barite is also used in many paints, enamels and plastics. • Nevada is one of the world’s top 25 producers of gypsum, used for wallboard and plaster products, and much of that production comes from Clark County.

Every modern home in North America and many commercial buildings use wall board for interior construction. • Nevada produces more than 20 percent of the world’s diatomaceous earth supply. This porous material is used extensively in filtration systems to eliminate impurities in everything from foods and beverages to swimming pools to oils and greases. The list of Nevada minerals is long and includes silver, limestone, lithium, molybdenum, iron ore, geothermal heat, specialty clays and more. The list is varied and showcases the dynamic opportunities and talents on display in our industry. The list is filled with the companies and dedicated individuals featured in these pages, who should all be proud that their work helps fill our societal demands each and every day through the products they mine.

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Mine to manufacturer

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

One of the pits at Newmont’s Phoenix Mine.

Phoenix produces copper plates By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining Quarterly Editor

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

BATTLE MOUNTAIN — Phoenix Mine is living up to its name, since it is turning waste material into something useful. At the end of October, Phoenix, owned by Newmont Mining Corp., began producing copper plates out of its SX-E facility. The plates are shipped directly to manufacturers. The material processed into copper was considered waste a couple of years ago. In 2011, Phoenix built a leach pad and then in 2012 began construction on its SX-E plant or solvent, extraction and electrowinning facility. The plant is expected to produce 20 million to 25 million pounds of copper a year. It may produce about 200 million to 300 million pounds over the life of the mine.

Process Operations Superintendent Bob Tucker talks about the shipping of copper plates at Newmont’s Phoenix Mine.

See PHOENIX, 26

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Phoenix ... Continued from page 24

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

The solution containing copper flows from the leach pad to the pregnant leach solution pond.

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After material is mined, it is sent to the copper leach pad and a sulfuric acid solution attaches to the copper. The leach pad had two lifts of material on it in January, said Bob Tucker, Phoenix process operations superintendent. “We have 1.2 million square feet of material under leach,” Tucker said. Each cell on the leach pad is 400,000 square feet and 20 feet high. The leach pad is 8 million square feet and contains six cells. Tucker said the leach pad will continue to grow higher as more ore is mined. After solution is put on the pad, it moves through the pad and into the PLS, or pregnant leach solution, ponds. The solution in the ponds looks very green since it contains a high concentration of copper. The solution or raffinate contains 8 to 9 grams of copper per liter. The color of the solution will lighten as the concentration comes down, Tucker said. It will look more yellow eventually. The darker color is because the early leach was started in July 2013. “We started early leach on purpose so we would get a good amount of copper,”


said Phoenix Process Manager Lauren Hafla. The pregnant leach is then pumped to the solvent extraction building. When the solution enters the extraction building, an organic is added. The organic attaches to the copper. “This is where we start to extract the copper out,” Tucker said. “You will see a change in color in the first extractor.” The solution is in a large building so it is kept clean. The liquid is in layers in the solvent extraction building. The organic is on top, then the gunk and below that is the aqueous, which will continue in the cycle with the raffinate, Tucker said. The raffinate travels in pipes back to the leach pad. As the facility processes more solution, islands of gunk will build up on top of the liquid, Tucker said. “Employees will harvest the gunk islands,” he said. This process is similar to gold leaching, Tucker said. The solvent extraction step could be compared to the carbon in leach columns in the gold leaching process, he said. In the SX building, the organic and aqueous break apart and the organic enters into the next building. Concentrations of sulfuric acid is used to strip the copper from the organic, Tucker said. The color of the solution changes again as it becomes a rich electrolyte solution. The PLS is 8 grams per liter of copper, but the rich electrolyte is 50 to 55 grams per liter. Tucker said the dry air in Nevada is a disadvanRoss Andreson/Mining Quarterly

See PHOENIX, 28

Bob Tucker talks about copper leach processing in the solvent extraction facility at Newmont’s Phoenix Mine.

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Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Bob Tucker holds a dipper of rich electrolyte copper solution in the solvent extraction facility at Newmont’s Phoenix Mine.

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tage to this process of extracting copper. As soon as air bubbles in the solution pop, it forms copper sulfate, which builds up and is a waste material. “Eventually we will get it to a rate where you don’t see the buildup,” Tucker said. From the SX buildings the solution moves into the electrowinning plant. This is where the liquid copper is turned back into a solid. The solution is pumped into one of 30 cells in the building. Each cell holds 2,000 gallons of solution. The cells also con-

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Javier Esquibel washes copper plates in the electrowinning building at Newmont’s Phoenix Mine.

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Phoenix ... Continued from page 28 tain mist balls, which float on the top of the solution. The small balls, about the size of a grape, keep the mist from popping and help to keep the heat in the cell, Tucker said. The mist balls and the covers on the cells allow employees to work in the building without respirators. The cells are large, covered tanks that contain 60 cathode blank plates. Copper attaches to both sides of the blank so each cell contains 120 sheets of the metal. “The harvest is on a six-day plating cycle,” Tucker said. Each harvest produces about at 600 sheets. The employees harelkodaily.com vest five cells a day. After the copper plates are complete in the cells, they are pulled from the cells and washed with 160 degree water. The copper plates are flexed so they pull away from the top of the steel blank cathode. Then the plates are sent through the knife machine where they are popped off the blank. If there is too much copper on a plate, sometimes they have to be hand-stripped from the steel cathode. After each harvest, a plate from

Video

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

See PHOENIX, 33

Gene Estella operates the control room in the copper processing facility at Newmont’s Phoenix Mine.

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Phoenix ... Continued from page 31 each cell is sampled to determine the grade of the copper. “The grade relates to the percentage of copper in a plate,” said Phoenix Senior Metallurgist Kola Koiki. Most of the copper plates in the plant were grade A, which is about 99.99 percent copper. Koiki said a loss in power could produce grade B copper, which is less desirable but still sellable. While the copper plates are tested, the employees also monitor the blanks, Koiki said. The employees make sure the bars holding the blanks stay straight and inspect the blanks to make sure they don’t get pitted and the side guards stay on. The copper samples are sent to the lab in the facility for testing. The metal is tested using a DC ARC spectrometer and a Leco machine. “We test the sulfur content in the Leco machine and everything else is tested in the DC ARC Spectrometer,” Koiki said. The grade of the copper and when it Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Javier Esquibel watches as the knife machine separates the copper plates from the steel blank in the electrowinning building at Newmont’s Phoenix Mine.

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Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Above: Senior Metallurgist Kola Koiki explains the machines used to test the grade of the copper produced in Phoenix’s SX-E facility. Above at right: Copper plates are bundled together and ready to be transported to manufacturers. At right: Suzie Disanza-Drake, metallurgic specialist, shows how one of the machines works to test copper samples.

Phoenix ... Continued from page 33 was harvested is put on the label of each bundle of metal. After it’s bundled the copper plates are weighed, Tucker said. Each plate weighs 100 to 180 pounds. The copper plates are trucked from the facility in 40,000-pound lots. Each bundle is 4,500 to 5,000 pounds. “When we’re done it leaves on a truck and is ready to be used,” Tucker said. “We actually get to see the final product.” Mining at Phoenix While the copper processing plant has received a lot of attention, gold is still the

main product at Phoenix, said Mine Manager Walt Holland The mine is 12 miles southwest of Battle Mountain on private and public lands in Lander County. It employs about 500 people. The site has 16 Caterpillar 793 haul trucks with 250 ton capacity, as well as two Hitachi 3600 hydraulic shovels, one Hitachi 5500 hydraulic shovel, six Atlas Copco Pit Viper drills and various other support equipment, Holland said. The material mined at Phoenix is processed faster than at other sites. “Phoenix is a little different from other mines,” Holland said.

34 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

Phoenix has about three to five days of stock piles, while other mines will have three to five years of stockpiles, he said. “We lose recovery out of it if we let it sit too long,” Holland said. The copper and gold go through the mill as a concentrate. If it needs to be refined it goes to Newmont’s Twin Creeks facility. Phoenix doesn’t have a refinery nor a gold leach pad, Holland said. The mine has four main pits. “We have some of the hardest rock in the world here,” Holland said. “Fragmentation has been key here. We

drill 40-foot benches and blast 40-foot benches, but mine 20-foot benches. We do that for fragmentation. The ore is all low grade, 0.019 ounce per ton. The low grade ore is why we mill. About 40,000 tons per day are put through the mill.” Most of the mining is done in the Bonanza and Glory Hill pits. A lot of the copper for the SX-E facility comes from both pits, Holland said. “The life of mine is 2038, all depending on the value of gold,” Holland said.


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Honoring tradition is an important part of safety improvement By THOMAS E. (TED) BOYCE, Ph.D.

I was recently asked at a conference what “really” sets apart Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) from other safety programs? Given mining’s tradition of managing safety through topdown enforcement of policy, my initial reaction was to state the obvious “its focus on behavior, positive-reinforcement of safe behavior, and employee-involvement in all aspects of the process. “Upon further reflection, I added, “it produces culture change.” And this is the key. Safety programs that are successful at reducing injury rates over the long-term change a mine site’s safety culture. For this reason, many mine sites continue to use BBS years after it was first implemented and those who are

not may still be reaping some of the benefits. Work culture is as much or more about traditions as it is about Indeed, I’ve been told by formal rules, regulations and policies. And, my experience suggests some mine operators with whom I worked years ago that traditions that have not evolved to keep up with changes in that they still practice what they learned during processes are the biggest disruptors. It produces a sort of complatheir years of using BBS even though a new safety cency as reflected in the statement “we’ve been doing it this way program may be formally for 20 years, so why should we change now?” emphasized. To me, this is evidence I have learned that successful implementation of that BBS was able to change behavior, thinking, and any program or process intended to change what feelings about safety through a focus on behavior, people do must first succeed in the existing work culpositive reinforcement of safe behavior, and ture in order to influence the culture in positive ways. employee involvement. Otherwise, these efforts will be short-lived and Deeper in thought, I realized that not all BBS your mine site will fall in to the “flavor of the month” processes have such an impact even when they syndrome often mentioned when a new safety proemphasize the three characteristics mentioned gram is “being pushed down from management or the above. corporate office.” What’s the difference? How the process was To avoid this trap we must be aware of certain implemented.

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things. Recently, I provided the following quote that summarizes the major issues to consider. Work culture is as much or more about traditions as it is about formal rules, regulations and policies. And, my experience suggests that traditions that have not evolved to keep up with changes in processes are the biggest disruptors. It produces a sort of complacency as reflected in the statement “we’ve been doing it this way for 20 years, so why should we change now?” If Western culture had taken this attitude, we’d still be travelling via horse and carriage rather than cars, we’d still be using telegraph instead of smart phones, we’d still be heating our homes with fire instead of electricity or gas. Having said this, businesses must honor tradition. So, any innovation that is introduced must find a balance between the benefit of the innovation and the tradition it may displace. Involving workers in the implementation of these innovations will make it more likely that this balance can be found. In other words, safety programs will be more successful at reducing injury rates and have longevity if they honor tradition rather than fight it. Thus, during implementation, the process should be customized to fit the current work culture instead of forcing the culture to fit the process. And, customization does not have to be complicated. In fact when done properly, you will get better results faster and for less cost. The solution is not always the process that is implemented, but how it is implemented. Unfortunately, many “experts” don’t have the skills your mine site may need to make a process that looks good on paper actually work. In my next column, I will talk about five kinds of safety experts and their relative strengths and weaknesses in hope that all of those who regularly read the Mining Quarterly can make more educated decisions about how to involve such experts in their safety efforts and what result they can expect. Until then, take the time to look for people who are performing in a safe manner and let them know you appreciate their safe example and the positive impact that it has on your mine site’s safety culture. ——————— Dr. Thomas E. (Ted) Boyce is a behavioral strategist and President and Senior Consultant with the Center for Behavioral Safety, LLC. The Center is a NevadaBased Safety and Leadership consulting firm that turns managers into leaders and helps companies create an injury-free workplace. You are experts in your business. We are experts in human behavior. Together we can make a difference. Learn more at www.cbsafety.com or contact Dr. Boyce directly at ted.boyce@cbsafety.com.

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Florida Canyon manager predicts busy year The company continues to experiment with green energy, will return to primary mine site By DEE HOLZEL Mining Quarterly Correspondent

Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

Miners use heavy equipment to move material at the Standard Mine.

HUMBOLDT — As travelers on Interstate 80 pass Florida Canyon Mine, which sits to the east of the roadway near the Humboldt Exit, there is little to give away all that’s going on just over the hill and out of sight. The mine is actually two operations under one umbrella: Florida Canyon Mine, right off the Interstate, and Standard Mine about five miles southeast higher up in the mountains. Those passing by could hardly guess that for a number of years now Florida Canyon has been the site of experimentation with green energy. Joel Murphy, the general manager, explained since the early 2000s the country has been seriously looking into alternative energy sources, and the government became interested in supporting those alternatives. For example, at one time a joint effort between a private company and University of Nevada, Reno, placed wind turbines on the site, primarily for data collection.

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For the last couple of years, though, Florida Canyon has partnered with ElectraTherm in an ongoing experiment with geothermal energy. Using a $1 million Department of Energy grant, ElectraTherm installed a Green Machine at the Florida Canyon site, which is in Phase II of development. The Green Machine uses waste heat to generate electricity. It could be any kind of waste heat, such as the methane gas generated in the bowels of landfills, but at Florida Canyon it’s geothermal water. The machine generates power through heat differentials. In the first stage of development at the Florida Canyon site, miners used geothermal water to heat it and process water to cool the other side, to get the heat differential necessary for generating power. The process water was an issue because it had cyanide in it, which tended to heat the soft metal on the exchangers pretty quickly, Murphy said. Now it is geothermal water heated and air cooled with a cooling tower. NV Energy also worked closely on the project. Murphy said NV Energy came out and helped set up the switchgear necessary to put more power into the system from the Green Machine. The Green Machine generates an average 60kilowatt-hour, which is not a significant amount but it is the test phase. Murphy said ultimately the site has the resource in waste heat from geothermal sources to run six machines, and that Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

See FLORIDA, 40

Once the water has been through the Green Machine it goes into the cooling ponds — at temperatures between 275-312 degrees.

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Florida ... Continued from page 39

Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

Alfredo Garcia is a leach pad tech at the Standard Mine.

would certainly generate some savings. “We have always used geothermal water as our makeup water,” Murphy said. “So we had the heat and they had the machine. It’s winwin.” As he noted, the other benefit to running the water through the Green Machine is that it cools it quicker than just pumping it into cooling ponds and waiting. Murphy said alternative energy sources are really the wave of the future. Right now solar is not very cost effective, but it might be in the future as coal-fired plants and those kinds of older energy sources are replaced. In this case, the heat for them is free – making it cost effective. Murphy praised the ElectraTherm team saying, “ElectraTherm is a good group to work with. Very hands on, easy group to work with, supportive of their equipment. It’s been interesting. We’ve learned a lot, and they learned a lot out here.”

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In addition to generating energy, Florida Canyon is also interested in saving energy – where possible. It was the first mine in Nevada to go completely LED with its lighting. In response, NV Energy presented the mine with a rebate check for $55,698. Meanwhile, the company is gearing up for a busy year. Murphy said staff members have been working on a permit that would allow them to expand the heap leach pads at Florida Canyon. He explained for some time the primary mining has been at the company’s Standard Mine operation, about five miles southeast of Florida Canyon. Once construction is complete on the heap leach pads, primary mining will switch back to the Florida Canyon site. Mining at Standard will continue on a smaller scale for about a year after that. The mines have operated on a small scale, employing just about 163 people, while they mitigated for wedge issues. Murphy explained wedge issues occur when there is a fault behind a slope that is being mined. The fault makes the wall of the slope unstable and eventually – unable to support its own weight – the material crumbles See FLORIDA, 42

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Florida ... Continued from page 39

Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

These six carbon column plants are between Florida Canyon and Standard Mine. After leaving the heap leech pads, the solution is run through the carbon columns where carbon attracts the gold-bearing cyanide.

42 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

to the floor of the pit. There’s no mining around that, Murphy observed, it has to be addressed and that is what is taking place in Standard Mine’s big open pit. Now that the company has the necessary permit to proceed, a bridge comprised of waste material will be constructed across the open pit to allow better access to the area of the largest wedge failure. After the bridge is constructed, miners will remove 3.1 million tons of material from the top in a process that may take four to six weeks of continual mining. After that, they will be able to return to the plan for mining in the open pit. This will be a busy year, Murphy predicted. Once the permit is in place for the leach pad expansion, and expansion is completed, and the wedge issues in the Standard open pit are addressed, he said the mine will start to expand the number of employees from 163 closer to the amount allowed by budget of 187. Since 2005 Florida Canyon has been a subsidiary of Jipangu International.


Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

Once the transition is made back to mining at Florida Canyon, the crusher will be moved from the Standard Mine to the Florida Canyon site and a smaller crusher will be brought to Standard.

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Northwest Mining Association announces new name Group keeps same goals for promoting mining interests By DEE HOLZEL Mining Quarterly Correspondent

RENO — The Northwest Mining Association, now known as the American Mining and Exploration Association, met in early December to discuss the issues most pressing to the industry at the 119th Annual Conference. At the membership luncheon, Richard Brown, the organization’s president, addressed those gathered – with special preference to the possibility of the sage grouse being listed as an endangered species. Brown told the crowd since he frequently travels to China he keeps an eye on the Chinese calendar. “This is the year of the snake,” he said. “Except for our industry, this year has not been the year of the snake; it has been the year of the sage grouse.” He explained the issue is one in which anti-development folks do not have to do much except say, “There’s an issue here.” The Endangered Species Act does the rest for them. Taking action, the NMA assembled a group of folks to put together a white paper strategy to address the sage-grouse issue, which sets a path for moving forward. The key to that strategy, Brown said, is the goal of making sure the state plans in the Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

William Perry Pendley speaks at the Northwest Mining Association annual conference in December in Reno.

See CONFERENCE, 46

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Conference ... Continued from page 44

Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

Richard Brown speaks at the Northwest Mining Association annual conference in December in Reno.

11 western states where there are sage grouse are supported and implemented in order to avoid listing. He added the states put these plans together, and are the ones with the most understanding of the issue in the area, but the plans will fall by the wayside if the listing occurs. The strategy created a three-pronged approach to addressing future action: litigation preparation, advocacy, and a media campaign to educate the public. In terms of litigation preparation, he said advocates are seeding the record with critical information that will need to be brought out if lawsuits are necessary. In terms of advocacy, Brown continued, the NMA is working to help build coalitions with public land users, anyone, including conservation groups – should they want to join. The effort to build coalitions is just getting off the ground, but he the told the audience they would be hearing more in the upcoming year. The third prong involves a grassroots focus on educating the public to promote an awareness that the potential listing of the sage grouse as an endangered species is just as critical to them as those in industries it impacts. Ultimately, Brown said, what needs fixing is the Endangered Species Act, which he called broken.

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Other issues the NMA is monitoring • An effort by the EPA to force greater financial assurance requirements on the mining industry. Brown said, “Apparently they think we’re not regulated enough in that area.” • Continued monitoring of an EPA effort to change the Clean Water Act, particularly the definition of what constitutes water in the US so that every single drop of water that falls on the continental land mass of the US and Hawaii becomes water of the United States that needs to be regulated. Mining reform continues to be an issue the NMA keeps their eye on simply because it is not going away, with special reference to Section 22 rights. Brown reported the industry had some success in the long-hoped for critical mineral legislation. Congressman Mark Amodei (R-Nev) crafted legislation to put forth a strategic minerals bill, which passed the House of Representatives but there was no corresponding legislation in the Senate. “So right now it’s not going anyplace, but at least it got the issue aired and we’re going to continue to pursue that,” Brown said. Brown concluded, “This year has been challenging, but it has been a rewarding year and a darn good year.”

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The luncheon’s keynote speaker was William Perry Pendly, president of Mountain States Legal Foundation, and noted author. Picking up where Brown left off, Pendley began with the Endangered Species Act. “Environmental extremist called the Endangered Species Act the pitbull of environmental law, and they do so for an excellent reason, which is because it is the only statute we have on the books that says not one of the endangered species may go out of existence – regardless of the cost,� Pendley said. Almost every other environmental statute calls for a cost-benefit analysis, or the most practical approach, he added, but the Endangered Species Act was the result of a United States Supreme Court decision, whose justices determined not one species may disappear, regardless of cost. He claimed the people who wrote the ESA in 1973 would hardly recognize it today. He continued by noting at the time they only intended to cover about 100 species on federal land, and if the species were ever found on private land the owner would be compensated. There are now 2,000 species on the list – including the northern spotted owl and the sand dune lizard. Pendley claimed those behind the scenes at the Fish and Wildlife Service were without adult supervision and lacked the scientific background to work on the issue resulting in action that did not make sense. As an example, he pointed out a species could go on the list because it was endangered in the US, but have plentiful numbers across the southern and northern borders – depending on the species.

Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

William Perry Pendley speaks at the Northwest Mining Association annual conference in December in Reno. He pointed out the decisions by FWS were made based on the results of modeling, as opposed to scientific findings that can be duplicated again and again, as was done with global warming. Pendley was not a big fan of NEPA, either. “It’s the workshop equivalent of measure twice cut once,� he said. “It is not an environmental protection statute.�

He said NEPA just means the government is gong to “take a look at what we’re going to do� then they’ll “take a hard look.� He said, “You have judges making decisions about whether or not we took a hard enough look.� “Unfortunately, environmentalist and activist judges and radical bureaucrats have used NEPA to stop any project they simply did not like, and that is why since NEPA was signed into law we have not built an oil refinery in this country,� he said. “And we did not improve the levies in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina.� NEPA is supposed to be a procedural statute, Pendley explained to the crowd, but radical environmentalist and some radical judges have interpreted it to be an environmental statute. That leads to a situation where judges say, “If you’re going to sue under NEPA you have to care about the environment. You can’t sue under NEPA if you care about jobs.� That’s the rule of law in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Pendley claimed and added, “It’s a crazy jurisdiction to begin with.� What did Pendley recommend the audience do about all these problems? Buy his new book. The answers and explanations are in there, he said. The Northwest Mining Association is approaching 120 years of representing the interests of the mining community. Now known as the American Exploration and Mining Association, it has 2,400 members in 42 states and Canada.

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SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 47


3, 2, 1 - Mine

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

A trim shot goes off at Cortez Hills open pit.

A day in the life of the Cortez Hills blast crew By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining Quarterly Editor

CRESCENT VALLEY — Whether it’s a surface pit or the underground, mines need explosives and people to handle them. A blast crew completes this integral part of the mining process.

Before the dirt can be dug up by a shovel and processed, it has to be broken apart. The best way to accomplish this is to loosen the hard rock. The first step begins with the geologists and engineers. The geologists identify what types of materials are in the ground and the engineers design the blast pattern over the areas to be mined, whether it

48 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

contains ore or not. Once the pattern is designed, the drillers dig the holes for the explosive materials. When they are done, the ground resembles the most aggressive gopher field anyone would ever see. After these initial steps, the blast or powder crew takes over the area. The blast crew arrives at Barrick Gold

Corp.’s Cortez Hills at 5:45 each morning. The crew goes over safety issues and other responsibilities during its meeting at 6:15 a.m., said Kevin White, Cortez Hills drill and blast supervisor. The blast usually goes off at 2:45 p.m. and everyone is on their way home by about 4 p.m. after See BLAST CREW, 51


Blast technician Travis Cummins sets up a safety sign near a blast pattern at Barrick’s Cortez Hills Open Pit. Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

A blast truck displays a sign of danger at Barrick’s Cortez Hills open pit.

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Blast technician Andy Riutta measures a hole in the blast pattern in the main pit of Cortez Hills.

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 49


D2 drill lead Pablo DeLeon, left, makes contact with blast technician Travis Cummins before entering the blast pattern at Barrick’s Cortez Hills open pit. Ross Andreson Mining Quarterly

50 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


Blast Crew ... Continued from page 49 working a 10-hour day. “We blast Monday through Friday,” said blast technician Travis Cummins. “We usually blast once a day. Sometimes it’s twice a day. It depends on how fast the shovels operate. … We’re on call on weekends. If we don’t hear anything by Friday afternoon we’re usually OK.” The patterns vary in size. They can be 30 to 200 holes, depending on what needs to be mined and what kind of material is in the ground, Cummins said. At Cortez Hills, the crews “shoot” or blast 40foot benches and mine 40-foot benches, Cummins said. The benches at the mines look like steps for giants once they are dug up. Cortez crews will shoot a ramp at 15 to 40 feet. “What we’re shooting today is a combination of five and a half patterns,” Cummins said during a tour at the end of January. “The first thing we do when we get on a pattern is cone it off and put up signs,” Cummins said. “It lets people know this is our work area. The signs and cones have to be a minimum of 50 feet from the outermost zone of our work area. No one is allowed in the area unless they communicate with the crew first.”

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

See BLAST CREW, 53

Cortez Hills blast technician Travis Cummins holds up a stake with information that is placed next to this blast hole on one of the blast patterns at Barrick’s Cortez Hills open pit. The letter H means the ground is hard material.

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Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Above: Blast technician Malea Filippini rolls out a wire connected to a blast cap and booster that will be used for a trim blast at Barrick’s Cortez Hills open pit. At left: Cortez Hills Drill and Blast Supervisor Kevin White holds a sample of the Anfo that is used to explode blast patterns.

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Continued from page 51 Among the safety measures used are the colors on the blast crew’s equipment — green. No one else in Cortez is allowed to use the color green for safety equipment. The trucks have green reflective stripes and the cones and signs also are green. This helps everyone on the mine site identify the blast crew at a distance. Once the safety notifications are put in place, the blast crew begins to measure each of the holes to make sure it was drilled to the correct depth. Each member of the crew has a 50- to 100-foot tape measure to check the holes. Each hole has a wooden stake with information on it to tell the blast technicians what they need to know. The top number tells the technician which hole it is and the middle number indicates the depth the hole was drilled to. Next is a letter, informing

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SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 53


Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Above: Blast technician Malea Filippini explains what is happening at a trim pattern at Barrick’s Cortez Hills open pit. At left: Filippini explains how the air bags are placed in the holes of a trim shot.

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Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Two drills square off a blast pattern at Cortez Hills.

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Blast technician Andy Riutta tosses part of an explosive device near a hole as he makes the rounds to each of the shot holes on a blast pattern at Cortez Hills.

Blast Crew ... Continued from page 53 the blast crew what type of material surrounds the hole — hard, medium or soft. Below that are the initials of the person who drilled the hole and the bottom number indicates which pattern the hole is in, Cummins said. This allows them to make sure they are on the correct pattern. Once all the holes are measured, it is time for the explosives. Choreographed Chaos Like other miners, the blast crew must follow U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration regulations, but it also is regulated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol,

Tobacco and Firearms. Only a handful of people on the mine site are allowed to remove the boosters and blasting caps from their storage areas. “There are restrictions on how explosives are stored, transported and handled,” White said. A Pentex booster with a blasting cap is tossed into the bottom of the hole, White said. The wire connected to the blasting cap is tied around the stake on the surface. Then the explosive mixture, called Anfo, is pumped into each hole. A member of the crew monitors how much Anfo is used, See BLAST CREW, 57

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 55


56 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Above: A drill finishes up the blast pattern, while contractors fill the holes with Anfo. At right: Blast technician Brian Dunn unwinds the spooled wire to lower the blasting cap and booster into a hole on a pattern in the main Cortez Hills pit.

Blast Crew ... Continued from page 55 White said. “It looks kind of like chaos, but it is very choreographed,” White said. The amount of explosive is determined by the depth of the hole and the type of rock, and it is critical the holes are not overloaded or underloaded. From a distance the Anfo looks like a light pink liquid, but it actually comes out of the trucks in dry pellet shapes about the size of a BB. “They put a pre-determined amount of explosive in each hole,” White said. “We want to contain the energy. We don’t want it just flying up in the air, so we fill the holes with dirt.” Covering the holes with dirt is called stemming, Cummins said. While finishing the pattern, the crew was talking about the stem height of the holes, which refers to the amount of dirt in the hole. An 18-foot stem means there is 18 feet of dirt from the surface to the top of the Anfo in a drill hole. Good Vibrations After the holes are filled and covered, the wires connected to the boosters and See BLAST CREW, 58

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 57


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Blast technician Eric Ragland uses a tape measure to monitor the amount of Anfo poured into a shot hole as the blasting crew makes the rounds to each of the shot holes in preparation for the day’s blast at Barrick’s Cortez Hills open pit.

Blast Crew ... Continued from page 57 blasting caps are wired together in a pre-determined order, White said. “The engineers determine where the holes go, but the blast crew determines how the holes are tied together,” he said. “We put a seismograph on every blast. It helps us identify the vibrations coming off the blast to maintain fragmentation and vibration. We create a wave in the ground. We could make it too big. We want the shot to cancel itself out to stop the vibration when the crew wants it to stop. We want to maintain the highwall. “We’re not blowing the rock up, we’re blowing the rock apart,” White said. “The material will move the rock about 15 feet. It pulls it apart. The blasting cap and booster

58 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


detonate the bulk of the explosives.� A harness wire is used to log in each hole in the order it will be blown. “The harness wire is a 22-gauge wire,� said Brian Dunn, blast technician. “It’s like a phone wire you have in your house.� Dunn and Bruce Krajewski explained the process while they loaded each hole’s information into a Logger. The Logger is a device that helps to run the computer program that sets off the blast. After inputting the first 50 holes, a new spool of wire is connected to the first harness wire. Before they connect the next set of holes, the technicians check the connection. “We’re checking for leakage,� Dunn said. “It’s like looking for a short circuit. We don’t want to connect 50 more holes and have the wiring not work, so we check to make sure the connection is good.� Blasting Patterns After the holes are connected with the Loggers — only so much data can be connected to each Logger — the machines are then connected to the fire line and a surb, called the Blaster 2400R, which connects to a remote detonator. A surb is

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Blast technicians Brian Dunn, left, and Bruce Krajewski connect all the blast holes using Loggers.

See BLAST CREW, 61

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Andy Riutta, left, and Eric Ragland prepare to connect the harness wire to the remote blasting box. Ross Andreson Mining Quarterly

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After loading blast holes with explosives, Bruce Krajewski operates a skid steer loader to fill the holes with dirt. This process is called stemming.

Blast Crew ... Continued from page 59 a surface remote blasting box. The blast pattern has an electronic ignition and the fire line is what initiates the charge into the pattern, Cummins said. The Blaster can shoot 2,400 detonators, and it needs 24 volts to power it up, said Eric Ragland, blast technician. The receiving surb stays at the pattern and the minimum distance for it to be from the blast is 150 feet, Ragland said. The crew uses a computer program to set when the holes go off. It takes the program about 25 seconds to tell all the holes when to go off, White said. “They’re doing this regardless of what the weather is,” White said. “We can load 900 holes in a day without pushing the crew too hard.” The main blasts are called “a production shot.” They provide the majority of the material that feeds the shovels. However, these aren’t the only types of blasts at the mine. See BLAST CREW, 62

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 61


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A trim shot is a special type of blast that establishes the highwall. It usually has three rows of drill holes, Cummins said. Each hole has an air bag for a toe load of 250 pounds, Dunn said. The gas bag, called an Infladeck, is placed in the hole at 13 feet. “We want to crack between the holes rather than over break,” Dunn said. “We’re protecting the highwall.” Evacuation Once the patterns are prepared, certain areas must be evacuated for the blast to occur. Personnel and equipment must be moved away from the blast. All employees are moved outside the perimeter of the blast, which is a 1,500-foot radius. Equipment can stay within the 1,500 feet, however, people cannot, Cummins said. While the surface is evacuated, so is the underground. “Every day we shoot over here (main Cortez pit) there is a portion of the underground that we evacuate,” White said. “We send information of where the holes are to the underground. At the very bottom of the pit we will be 400 feet from the underground workings. We stay as tight to the schedule as possible.” They try to schedule blasting Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Cortez Hills and Tuesday and Thursday at Pipeline, White said. When blasting at the Pipeline Pit, the crew doesn’t have to evacuate the underground. Blast Time After areas of the mine are evacuated, the blast crew visually checks those locations. Each member of the crew checks different areas. Large mine equipment is also See BLAST CREW, 66

62 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Above: Blast technician April Sledge monitors the amount of Anfo put in a blasting hole. At right: Cortez Hills Drill and Blast Supervisor Kevin White explains how the pattern for a blast works. Below: The once flat blast pattern is now blown apart after the explosives did their job in the Cortez Hills open pit. Below at right: A close up view of the area after a blast. Miners refer to this type of material as shot muck.

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 63


Courtesy of Barrick Gold Corp.

Cortez Hills Drill and Blast Supervisor Kevin White kneels in front, while the rest of the blast crew stands in back. From left are blast technicians Andy Riutta, April Sledge, Kaycee Williams, Travis Cummins, Malea Filippini, Brian Dunn, Eric Ragland, Curtis Wintle and Carey Belcher.

Meet the Cortez Hills Blast Crew Kevin White, Cortez Hills drill and blast supervisor has been in blasting since 1994 and his employees vary in experience. Travis Cummins has been on the blast crew for three-and-a-half years, and he has been at Cortez for almost four. He had a pyrotechnicians license in Reno, but after fireworks jobs dried up, he applied to work at Barrick. “The goal was to be on the blast crew,” Cummins said. While he still blows things up for a living, Cummins said pyrotechnics are

different from the explosives used at the mine. April Sledge has been working at with the blast crew for “two, going on three years.” When asked why she wanted to work with explosives, she said “fate drew me.” Malea Filippini has been on the blast crew almost 10 years. She started her mining career in the geology department - right out of high school. When asked why she joined the blast crew, she said “it’s a more active job.” “I was sitting in an office all day,” she

64 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

said “This gets me out of the office.” Both Sledge’s and Filippini’s fathers worked in mining. Filippini also had uncles and a grandfather who worked in mining. Several of the blast crew have more than a decade in mining. Brian Dunn has been in mining for 27 years and at Cortez for 17 years. “I joined the blast crew because of the hours and being able to work outside,” Dunn said. “It’s common to be able to work the day shift, and you can communicate with other people while at work.”

Bruce Krajewski started with mining in 1979, and has been at Cortez since 2005. “Our drillers were also blasters,” Krajewski said about his previous mining jobs. “I really respect explosives. We can’t blast at night so you’re pretty much guaranteed day shift.” “Brian and I have quite a career in this, so whatever we can teach the younger kids is better for everyone,” Krajewski said. “We’ve all learned from our mistakes, so hopefully they don’t have to repeat ours.”


Cortez Hills manager sees challenges at site By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining Quarterly Editor

ELKO — Cortez Hills is one of Barrick Gold Corp.’s more profitable sites, but Matt Gili, its new general manager still sees challenges for the site. Gili became general manager for Cortez Hills Oct. 2. He started in mining in 1990. “I started off with Hecla Mining Co. then I worked for Rio Tinto and I joined Barrick in October,” Gili said. The opportunity at Cortez Hills brought him to Barrick. He said he wants to make the surface operations more efficient and explore how to extend the underground deeper. Cortez mines about five different ore deposits. In general the mine life is at mid to late 2020s, but in the process of converting resource to reserves all the time, Gili said. “It’s an extremely profitable site,” Gili said of Cortez. “The challenges are that the source of overwhelming profit from Cortez comes from the Cortez Hills open pit. That will be depleted over the next four to five years, and then it becomes, still a lot of life left, it’s just not as high grade as it has been historically. So there’s a challenge there.” He also said the remoteness of the mine makes it

more difficult to retain employees. Just like other mines, the falling gold price also affected Cortez. “How can we get back to the operating efficiencies that we had 10 years ago with lower gold prices without losing the significant gains we’ve made in both safety and health, environment and operational excellence?” he asked. Cortez Hills has 1,250 Barrick employees, about 300 underground and 950 on the surface, which includes the open pit, process and support group. Gili is the general manager for the surface and underground. Cortez Hills has a fleet of 25 Liebherr T 282 B trucks rated at a payload of 400 short tons and a fleet of 30 Caterpillar 795FAC trucks rated at 350 short tons. The site also has one P&H 4100XPB electric rope shovel with a 74 cubic yards dipper, one P&H 4100 XPC electric rope shovel with a 77-cy dipper, three P&H 2800 XPB electric rope shovels with 43-cy dipper, one Hitachi EX5500 hydraulic front shovel with 35-cy bucket and one LeTourneau L-2350 frontend loader with 53-cy bucket. The Cortez Hills pit is in pushback this year. Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

See GILI, 66 Cortez Hills General Manager Matt Gili talks about the mine site.

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Blast Crew ... Continued from page 62 used to help set up road blocks around the perimeter. Cummins pointed out a dozer that was parked sideways on the haul road. “The roadblock is put on one side of the road when we don’t want people to come through,” he said. “They can leave the area, but we don’t want people to come back through. … We’ve gone eight years without a reportable (safety) incident.” The siren sounds three minutes before the blast. Cummins said there are three types of shots. “An echelon is pulling it off a corner; a chevron is pulling energy to the middle,” Cummins said. “A diamond is typically the first shot on a bench. There’s nowhere for the energy to go because there is hard dirt on all sides.” The blasts done during the Mining Quarterly’s tour were echelons. The blasts started at a corner and moved through the pattern like a wave. Each hole went off one at a time, but they all explode within milliseconds of each other. Visually, the bench goes from a flat surface to at rolling dirt and then settles as the dust cloud clears. “Once the shot is done, we can check what happened electronically, elkodaily.com but we also do a visible inspection,” Cummins said. The blast crew looks for faults or breaks in the remaining bench and in the highwall. Some people also may need to walk the “shot muck” after the ground settles. Shot muck is what miners call the material that has been blown apart. “To walk the shot muck, you have to be trained,” Cummins said. “Ore control, survey and geology, other than blasters and shift supervisors are trained to walk the shot muck. There could be voids and other things under the shot muck, so you have to be careful.” The other advantage to the electronic monitoring of the holes, is that it allows the blast crew to determine if some of the explosives did not detonate. The crew will give the information to the shovel operators, so they can treat the area as a hot zone. The area that was blown apart at the end of January was probably reached by the shovels for mining at the end of the first week in February.

Video

Gili ... Continued from page 65 “We’ve got a massive strip on that highwall,” he said. “We’ll move over a hundred million tons of strip off there this year, exposing the next phase of the Cortez Hills open pit. That will come online in 2015. In the meantime we are still continuing with the underground mining on the Cortez Hills side. Now, we’ve shifted our production over to the Pipeline side for ore production; a lot of lower grade material over there, a lot more heap leach.” Refractory ore is shipped to the Goldstrike plant. “We’re aiming to ship over 800,000 tons of ore to the Goldstrike plant this year,” Gili said. Being a miner runs in Gili’s family. He was led to mining because his father was a mining engineer. “He worked for Getty Minerals,” Gili said. “That’s when the oil companies had mining divisions.” Gili majored in mining engineering at the University of Idaho. Gili worked in Winnemucca in the 1990s. He later worked in South Africa, where he met his wife, El-Marie. Before he came back to Nevada, he worked for three years in Mongolia for Rio Tinto. The mine was called Oyu Tolgoi, which means turquoise hill, Gili said. He hopes to stay with Barrick for quite some time. He and his wife are enjoying living in Elko. “I came to Barrick for the great opportunity at Cortez and for a great opportunity within the organization,” Gili said. “It is a very dynamic organization, changing rapidly and with lots of opportunity. I’m very happy to be here.”

66 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


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Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

The remnants of the Jungo Mine.

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Jungo, Jumbo: A tale of a town & a mine By DEE HOLZEL Mining Quarterly Correspondent

WINNEMUCCA — George and Bernice Austin’s rags to riches story did not necessarily begin with the Jumbo Mine, in the Slumbering Hills of Humboldt County, once one of the country’s most famous gold strikes. Neither did it necessarily begin with the town of Jungo, which they founded. Perhaps it began with who they were as people when they wandered into the mining camps of northern Nevada sometime in 1908 or 1909. They were hard workers and risk takers. At the time the couple was married, Bernice Austin — a nurse — had fled the loss of Photo courtesy of the Humboldt Museum

See JUNGO, 70

The Morgan Huntington Camp in 1938.

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 69


Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

The remnants of the Jungo Mine.

Jungo ... Continued from page 69 life and misery from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Reportedly, she was so stressed by the aftermath all her hair fell out. George Austin, her husband, had struggles of his own as a miner in California, due to chronic asthma. Recounting the rise of the Austins to national prominence was their grandson, Greg Austin, who lives in Reno and who carries on the family legacy of entrepreneurship in mining. He said his grandparents were married in northern California then they picked up and moved to Nevada where they joined thousands of others who hoped to strike it rich in mining. The riches did not necessarily follow in a hurry. Greg Austin said his grandmother recounted stories of those early days when the family moved from mining camp to mining camp. They were so poor they lived in a

70 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

tent and had “hardtack” for supper. Hardtack was simply flour and water cooked — something like a large cracker. Along the way George and Bernice Austin made a bit of money on a piece of property called Haystack, which was about 15 miles south of what would one day be known as Jungo. Greg Austin said that may have been where his grandparents got the money to invest in a little general store that would later grow into the town of Jungo. Initially, the business catered to the customers who wandered off the train but eventually others began to collect at the whistle stop and a little town began to form. The beginning was modest but the town grew to have a post office — Bernice served as the post mistress — and a little school. George did triple-duty as the proprietor of the store, the bar tender and peacekeeper — as needed. Eventually the town boasted a population of

about 400 people. The community of Jungo was pretty well settled when two men came to Nevada who sought to make their fortunes in mining. They made their way to a remote corner of the Slumbering Hills in Humboldt County where they began developing the Jumbo Mine late in 1934 through spring 1935. The two would-be prospectors scratched some gold out of a hillside. Come spring, they walked out and stopped over in Jungo where they struck up a conversation with the proprietor of the general store, George Austin. According to his own account, Austin offered to buy the mine. He borrowed $500 and promised the two See JUNGO, 72


Cabins at the Huntington Camp when they were still in good condition. Photo courtesy of the Humboldt Museum

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prospectors $10,000 more within two years. These were the dark days of the Great Depression and money was hard to come by. When asked if his grandmother supported George’s decision to buy the mine, Greg Austin said yes. He explained his grandparents might be viewed as risk takers, but they were actually entrepreneurs at a time when that was a respectable occupation. Austin, who was about 63 at the time, arrived at the mine site with his brother, his two sons, and some picks and shovels. They went to work digging out veins of ore that were 6-8 inches in diameter in some places and as wide as 2 feet in others. In 1935 the family erected a small “coffee grinder” mill that could treat one and one-half tones of ore per day, but the water had to be trucked in. See JUNGO, 74


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Jungo ... Continued from page 72 According to Greg Austin, the gold was shipped to the mint in coffee cans, which weighed about 10 lbs. He said in those days the Post Office had a very secure method of shipping, and they experienced no problems with stealing. What they needed was more hands. Back at the Jungo General Store there were men who owed the Austins money, but times were tough. Greg Austin explained people bought goods “on the cuff”, which meant they would pay when they could. They were honorable men, he said. When given the opportunity to pay the debt by working in Austin’s new mine, they agreed. That year, 1935, the Jumbo Mine earned George Austin $80,000 and he was able to pay off the original prospectors. Gold was about $35 an ounce. By 1936, the rich mine was becoming famous – first by word of mouth then by news articles. Austin received two substantial offers to purchase the mine, one from former President Herbert Hoover.

Dee Holzel/Mining Quarterly Correspondent

The remnants of the Jungo Mine. See JUNGO, 76

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People in front of the school in Jungo. Photo courtesy of the Humboldt Museum

The town of Jungo from a distance. Photo courtesy of the Humboldt Museum

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Although Hoover is generally remembered for having been at the helm as the country drifted into the Great Depression, few realize he got his start in life as a miner who made his millions investing in gold mines. He once famously remarked that a man who had not made a million by 40 years old was not worth much. Hoover was impressed by what he saw at the Jumbo Mine, and legend has it he made the owner an offer of $1 million, but George Austin declined to sell. In an article that appeared in the Berkeley Daily Gazette in 1936, Nevada Congressman J.G. Scrugham reported on Austin’s reluctance to sell the mine. Scrugham made the comments after visiting the Jumbo Mine site. At that time Austin, family, and miners were pounding out $500/day – net – and had received an offer of $1 million for half-interest in the property. When asked why he wouldn’t accept such an attractive offer, Austin reportedly replied because he would have to give half to the government in taxes. Scrugham reported Austin as saying, “That would leave me about half-a-million. I’ve got two sons. A half-million would probably make loafers of them. No, it’s better to hold the mine and work it ourselves. The boys will appreciate it more if they have to dig the money out themselves.” Although the family agreed amongst themselves to hold the property for 50 years, in 1937 they did sublease to two rather famous men: HK Huntley and JK Wadley. The 35-year lease promised a 20 percent royalty, $100,000 minimum royalty, and a $250,000 down payment, and an end price of $10 million. Not bad for a piece of property Austin paid $10,000 for two years before. Greg Austin reports his grandparents, his great-uncle, Jess, and both sons met at the Humboldt Hotel in Winnemucca to split up the $250,000. George and Bernice each received two piles; the rest a single pile. As the story goes, the family’s attorney reached over and took one of the piles saying, “And this one is for me.” The family was so taken aback, no one said a word in their surprise. By this time Bernice Austin was living in Reno with her youngest son, Wilfrid, Greg Austin’s father. She reportedly said she wasn’t raising anymore of her sons in Jungo. Although people who come suddenly to money can sometimes live high, Greg Austin said his grandparents always lived modestly. Wilfrid Austin’s family returned to Jumbo mine for two years when Greg Austin was a child. They lived in the mining camp in a two-room house that featured a kitchen and bedroom. Greg’s mother acted as teacher and cook in the camp while Wilfrid mined. Greg said the times were probably hard but he and his sister had a good time. The mine has been leased on and off over the years, but it never quite regained the promise it showed when former President Herbert Hoover declared he was “favorably impressed with the mine.” Ten years ago many buildings still survived, but there are only a scattering few now, and the extensive underground tunnels have been blasted shut, a monument to the promise that while hard work doesn’t always lead to riches – sometimes it does. There is nothing left of Jungo; the old buildings burned down long ago. Greg Austin said the little town was a victim of geography: there was no water. The community relied on the passing train for water. As Jungo declined, Winnemucca flourished. Two trains went through Winnemucca, it had water, and some of the county’s riches farms were not far off. Only the story of George and Bernice Austin is left, a testament to a time when people took chances and risks and worked hard. They were ethical people, in their lives and business, and did not take advantage of folk. Gregory Austin said to be an “entrepreneur” in his grandparents’ time was a respectable line of work; the word did not yet carry the hint of manipulation of people that it gained in modern times. Gregory Austin followed in his grandparents’ footsteps, developing mines and owning his own business. Jungo is not the only town to know the influence of the Austin family. Austin, Nevada was named for a brother of George Austin’s.


The hotel in Jungo. Photo courtesy of the Humboldt Museum

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New interest in oil attests to Nevada’s geological diversity By JOHN L. DOBRA, Ph.D.

and is seeking permits to start drilling on the Tabor “There are other companies out there seek- Flats northwest of Wells. There are other companies out there seeking to use Oil has been produced in Nevada since its discovery ing to use fracking to unlock oil and gas fracking to unlock oil and gas from the Chainman fornear Elko in 1875, according to the Nevada Bureau of and if success stories from other shale operaMines and Geology at the University of Nevada, Reno. from the Chainman formation and if suc- mation tions in the U.S. can be repeated, Nevada may well Some of the active wells are on itself in an oil boom. Highway 278 between Carlin and cess stories from other shale operations in findThese success stories will also be good news for the Eureka, however, a more active area is in Railroad Valley in the U.S. can be repeated, Nevada may environment. Using natural gas generates far less greenhouse gas than other carbon fuels. northeastern Nye County. well find itself in an oil boom.” Between 2005 and 2012, U.S. carbon emissions fell Nevada oil production reached by almost 11 percent, more than any other region in four million barrels in 1990 but the world including Europe, which has adopted an has generally declined since energy strategy wedded to renewables like wind and then, according to the Nevada yet its increasing use has created an oil and gas boom in solar. Division of Minerals. the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania (New Europe has not only been less successful in reducing Now, however, hydrologic York also sits on the Marcellus but prospective procarbon emissions but it has also driven its energy fracturing techniques for ducers have been denied permits by the state), and the prices through the roof. extracting oil and natural gas, or Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota. Germany’s electrical rates have reached more than “fracking”, is opening up new Now, a number of producers are seeking to bring 40 cents per kwh, over three times average prices in opportunities. fracking to Nevada. the U.S. Fracking injects fluids — primarily water but other The Chainman Shale formation underlies northern So, let there be fracking. various chemicals and sand — into oil shale formaNye, White Pine, parts of Lincoln, Elko, Eureka coun——————— tions under high pressure to fracture the rock and ties and parts of western Utah. John L. Dobra, Ph.D., is director of the Natural release oil and gas. One of the larger of these oil producers is Noble Resources Industry Institute, a senior fellow of the Fracking injects these fluids well below the water table so proponents claim it is safe for drinking water. Energy, a producer with production from off the shore Fraser Institute and an associate professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Reno. However, as with anything that disturbs the natural of Israel, the Gulf of Mexico and fracking operations in Pennsylvania and Colorado. It claims oil resources environment, there are doubters and critics. Fracking has been used for decades in various places, of 7.5 billion barrels and it has set its sights on Nevada

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Heather Kennison/Mining Quarterly

RAM Enterprise Warehouse & Inventory Specialist Jacob Hyzer shows a rubber skirtboard liner, used for dust containment in conveyer systems.

RAM Enterprise opens IMTECH production facility By HEATHER KENNISON Mining Quarterly Staff Writer

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PROFESSIONAL & EXPERIENCED CREWS 80 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

ELKO — In December, RAM Enterprise began full production of its IMTECH rubber product line. The Elko facility at 1225 W. Main St. processes IMTECH Rubber Products, which include lagging systems and skirtboard liners. “We anticipate adding between 15 and 18 new jobs in the future,” RAM Enterprise Inc. Director of Marketing Jerry Hayes said during the facility’s grand opening. The company moved its corporate headquarters from Portland, Ore., to Elko in 2010. In 2012, it moved to its current facility on West Main Street. “All our customers are in this area, so it made more sense to move here,” Hayes said. RAM Enterprise employs more than 200 people corporate-wide in conveyor belt services, industrial construction and maintenance, industrial fabrication, electrical services and engineering services. About half of its employees are in Elko, Hayes said. “We support about 400 people inside the local community,” said CEO Richard Milroy Jr. during the ribbon cutting ceremony. IMTECH Rubber Products are shipped throughout the nation and internationally. With the facility in full production, the company has a backlog of two to four weeks. “On a busy month, we can go through 18,000 to 19,000 pounds of rubber,” Inside Operations and Production Manager Paul Barris said in December. Typically, it is around 12,000 pounds in a month, he said. Raw rubber is purchased from Oregon Rubber Co. and is made into different grades. Hayes said customers can expect two new products to come out this spring: ceramic liners and lifter bars. Most of the company’s work is done outside the building, he said. “Ninety-nine percent of our work is out in the field,” Hayes said. “... We truly are a turnkey operation in terms of taking it to the cradle and the grave.” Products such as the rubber skirtboard liners are used to solve problems with con-


Heather Kennison/Mining Quarterly

RAM Enterprise Production Assistant Scott Spring inserts raw, uncured rubber into a mold to be made into a skirtboard liner. veyer systems. Skirtboard liners aid in dust control and also protect the machinery. “We design products to solve problems, then we manufacture the products,” Milroy said. RAM Enterprise has also expanded its offerings in the fabrication sector with the acquisition of Triple J Welding and Machine (formerly known as Patzer Fabrication). This facility, located in Beowawe, will function as a satellite shop to RAM’s Elko service center. Triple J specialized in the repair, refurbishment and modification of underground mobile mining equipment and RAM plans to continue satisfying that market with this acquisition. Although RAM already offered fabrication services prior to this merger, it now has a more strategic location from which to service the local area mines. “The real value of this offering will be that RAM can now perform this business without our customers incurring additional transportation costs to send this equipment to Elko or Salt Lake City for repair. We also gained another 12,000-plus square feet of space for fabrication and repairs,” said Dale Putman, team leader for RAM’s Fabrication Service Group. RAM Enterprise has service centers in Elko, Salt Lake City and Payson and Tucson, Ariz.

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 81


82 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


Major McCoy and the rebellious ores of Eureka

Courtesy of Richard Baker

Submitted

A Eureka street sign honors Major William Wirt McCoy.

An historical photo of Major William Wirt McCoy.

How one man helped a small Nevada mining town boom By RICHARD P. BAKER The Eureka Miner’s Market Report

“At its essence, history is biography.” Winston Churchill If Nevada mining history is biography, there are few finer examples than the life of Major William Wirt McCoy. A descendant of Scottish immigrants, he was born in 1811 in Boone County, Ky. In his 70 years, Major McCoy was a physician, cattleman, statesman and mining entrepreneur. He served with distinction in the Mexican-American War and the legislatures of three states. Fortunately for Nevada, the Major applied the same bold leadership in battle to one of Nevada’s most vexing mining problems of the day — an economic way to reduce the stubborn argentiferous lead ores of the Eureka mining district. His solution brought Eureka from a struggling mining camp in 1869 to become Nevada’s second largest city with a population of 10,000 and a world class lead-silver producer by 1878. Before the Major arrived in Eureka, he tallied enough

accomplishments to fill several lifetimes. After receiving a degree in medicine, he moved from Kentucky to Shelbyville, Ind., to begin a practice and eventually become a member of the Indiana legislature. In 1847, Major McCoy assembled volunteers for service in the war with Mexico. He courageously led his regiment as American forces pursued General Santa Anna of Alamo infamy from Vera Cruz to Mexico City. In 1848, the Richard P. Baker Mexican-American War concluded with the Treaty of Hidalgo and a defeated Mexico ceded a great swath of western territories to the United States. This included California, that became a state in 1850, shortly after the start of the gold rush. Nevada followed achieving state-

hood in 1864. It wasn’t gold dust fever but the opportunity to become a cattleman that brought the Major to the Golden State in 1852. Major McCoy raised high-bred cattle in San Mateo County and was elected to the California State Legislature in 1858. Nevada Innovations in Metallurgy While the Major tended cattle, prospectors slowly moved east from California in search of the next “excitement.” It came with the discovery of the massive Comstock Lode located near Virginia City. This sparked Nevada’s silver rush in 1859. Although the Comstock represented unimagined wealth, Americans were unfamiliar with how to extract silver from the dark clay-bound ore. After much experimentation, the Washoe Process evolved - an industrialscale improvement of a sixteenth century technique used by the Spaniards in Mexico and Peru. It involved crushing ore then adding water, mercury and other See MCCOY, 84

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 83


McCoy ... Continued from page 83 chemicals in large steam-heated iron tanks with mechanical agitators. In a system of strainers and retort sponges, silver was then recovered from the mercury and the latter recycled for future processing. As prospectors moved further east across Nevada, each new discovery required increasingly complex techniques to “win� silver and gold from ores more challenging than the Comstock variety. In 1869, Carl August Stetefeldt adapted the Washoe process to handle the arsenic and antimony sulfides particular to some ores of the Reese River mining district near Austin. He developed a chloridizing roast as a precursor to the original Washoe process. That same year, the expanding silver rush attracted Major McCoy to Nevada. He would join Stetefeldt and other mining enthusiasts in Eureka, the next push east from Austin.

Courtesy of Richard Baker

The remains of a Richmond blast furnace in Eureka.

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84 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

The McCoy Furnace Although Austin prospectors had been in the Eureka area since 1864, the abundant lead-silver ores were oxide com-


pounds that resisted previous metallurgic treatments. Smelting was next tried to tame the “rebellious ores.� In the smelting process, crushed ore is melted in a high-temperature blast furnace and the various states of the molten mass are drawn off in layers: speiss (arsenic and antimony compounds), matte (metal sulfides) and slag (silicates) with liquid lead and precious metals settling near the furnace bottom. A lead-silver smelter was demonstrated successfully in Oreana, Nevada, but initial attempts failed in Eureka. Morris, Monroe & Co. employed Stetefeldt to construct a furnace on their large mining property. Unfortunately, three attempts by the Austin metallurgic expert also failed. Upon arriving in Eureka, Major McCoy acquired the Morris, Monroe & Co. property and their furnace. The Major determined the Stetefeldt design suffered from an insufficiency of blast, poor quality of lining and technical shortcomings of its operators. He summoned two Welsh smeltermen to Eureka familiar with the latest European technology - Richard P. Jones and John J. Williams, Jr. As they traveled to Eureka from White Pine County, the Welshmen discovered a sandstone in the Pancake Range adequate for a refractory furnace lining. By July, 1869 Jones and Williams lined the Stetefeldt furnace with Pancake sandstone, increased the blast nozzles (called tuyeres) from one to two, and successfully reduced ore from three local mines. This effort demonstrated that Eureka ores were fairly easy to reduce with a proper smelter design. The native ores were self-fluxing as they contained enough silica and carbonate to be processed by themselves. This and an abundant local supply of trees for furnace Courtesy of Richard Baker

See MCCOY, 86 Former Eureka County Hospital was originally the site for the office of the Eureka Smelting Company. `â &#x201E;Ă?â&#x20AC;šâ&#x20AC;şďŹ ďŹ&#x201A;â&#x20AC;ĄÂ°Âˇâ&#x20AC;&#x161;â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Âą"'ÂťĂ&#x161;Ă&#x2020;ÂŻË&#x2DC;Âż|åÊíóúâêÎôÝàèÏòÚäÍïÜßÿãùþà Ă&#x2030;Ă?Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x161;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x201E;Ă&#x2039;Ă?Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x153;ŸĂ&#x2018; Ă&#x192;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x201A;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x201D;Ă&#x203A; granjon_italic_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;',./ABCDEFGHIJKL MNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:"<>?_ĂĽ0ç,ĂŠĆ&#x2019;ŠË&#x2122;ĂŽ6Ë&#x161;Οùø/Ĺ&#x201C;ÂŽĂ&#x;â&#x20AC; Ăź3-5 ÂĽ1Ă ÂĄâ&#x201E;˘ÂŁÂ˘'§œâ&#x20AC;˘ÂŞÂşâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;&"'ÂŤâ&#x20AC;ŚĂŚ)*á|Ă&#x2026;ÄąĂ&#x2021;Ă&#x17D;´Ă?Ë?Ă&#x201C;Ë&#x2020;Ă&#x201D; Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x201A;Ë&#x153;Ă&#x2DC;.Ĺ&#x2019;â&#x20AC;°Ă?Ë&#x2021;¨9â&#x20AC;&#x17E;Ë&#x203A;à ¸`â &#x201E;Ă?â&#x20AC;šâ&#x20AC;şďŹ ďŹ&#x201A;â&#x20AC;ĄÂ°Âˇâ&#x20AC;&#x161;â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Âą"'ÂťĂ&#x161; Ă&#x2020;ÂŻË&#x2DC;Âż|åÊíóúâêÎôÝàèÏòÚäÍïÜßÿãùþà Ă&#x2030;Ă?Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x161;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x201E;Ă&#x2039;Ă?Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x153;ŸĂ&#x2018;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x201A;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x201D;Ă&#x203A; granjon_bold_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;',./ABCDEFG HIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:"<>?_ĂĽ0ç,ĂŠĆ&#x2019;ŠË&#x2122;ĂŽ6Ë&#x161;Οùø /Ĺ&#x201C;ÂŽĂ&#x;â&#x20AC; Ăź3-5ÂĽ1Ă ÂĄâ&#x201E;˘ÂŁÂ˘'§œâ&#x20AC;˘ÂŞÂşâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;&"'ÂŤâ&#x20AC;ŚĂŚ)*á|Ă&#x2026;ÄąĂ&#x2021;Ă&#x17D;´Ă?Ë?Ă&#x201C;Ë&#x2020;Ă&#x201D; Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x201A;Ë&#x153;Ă&#x2DC;.Ĺ&#x2019;â&#x20AC;°Ă?Ë&#x2021;¨9â&#x20AC;&#x17E;Ë&#x203A;à ¸`â &#x201E;Ă?â&#x20AC;šâ&#x20AC;şďŹ ďŹ&#x201A;â&#x20AC;ĄÂ°Âˇâ&#x20AC;&#x161;â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Âą"'ÂťĂ&#x161;Ă&#x2020;ÂŻË&#x2DC;Âż|åÊíóúâêÎôÝàèÏòÚäÍïÜßÿãùþà Ă&#x2030;Ă?Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x161;Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2019;Ă&#x2122;Ă&#x201E;Ă&#x2039;Ă?Ă&#x2013;Ă&#x153;ŸĂ&#x2018; Ă&#x192;Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x201A;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x17D;Ă&#x201D;Ă&#x203A;

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SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 85


McCoy ... Continued from page 85

Courtesy of Richard Baker

The remains of a brickyard south of Eureka.

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charcoal ensured the economic viability of the approach. Sandstone quarries near Pancake Summit supplied Eureka smelters modeled after the original McCoy furnace. It sold for $20 per ton at the quarry with an additional $12 charge for hauling it 30 miles to Eureka. Smelter lining not in contact with molten material used regular red bricks manufactured locally. One site is seven miles south of Eureka on Highway 50 across from the Schaefer ranch. The McCoy furnace evolved to larger and more efficient models used by the Eureka Consolidated and Richmond smelters. Their prodigious output led to peak lead-silver production in the late1870s. The newer designs had up to ten tuyeres charged by high-pressure Roots blowers and could process up to 90 tons of ore per day per furnace. The resulting base lead bullion was typically shipped elsewhere for silver and gold recovery although some refinement capability existed at the Richmond facility. Pieces of the Richmond furnaces can be found behind the Eureka County Annex building.

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Courtesy of Richard Baker

Drill marks on a Pancake quarry block.

A Town and County Born With the furnace conundrum solved that summer, Major McCoy and Alonzo Monroe surveyed and platted Eureka in the fall of 1869. They became the first proprietors of the town to host a mining boom second only to the Comstock Lode. Like a good mining manager, the Major understood that community infrastructure was key to running a successful mining enterprise. He established the Eureka Water Works and constructed a 55,000 gallon water tank sourced by a network of springs near the terminus of New York Canyon and McCoy Ridge on its western flank. The tank, once located at Eureka’s present lower baseball field, was primarily used as a reserve for fires - an ever-present danger in early mining towns. The office for Major McCoy’s Eureka Smelting Company was located at the site of the County Hospital. It is abandoned now and but still visible from Hwy 50 looking east, one mile south of the Eureka County Courthouse. Elected State Senator of Nevada soon after completing the waterworks, Major McCoy helped to partition of Eureka County from the then larger Lander County. Eureka became the county-seat. Major McCoy Remembered With the arrival of Nevada’s sesquicentennial, it is noteworthy that Gov. Bradley appointed Major McCoy United States Centennial Commissioner for Nevada. He was elected to be one of its vice-presidents by that commission and placed at the head of the Committee on Mines and Mining. Before his death in 1881 from a railroad mishap, this remarkable man had contributed to the creation of Nevada through his brave actions in the Mexican-American War, served as a Senator of the “Battle Born State” and helped form Eureka town site and County. Together with his significant contributions to Nevada mining, Major McCoy’s biography is certainly deserving of Churchill’s headline quote. ——————— Richard P. Baker is the author and editor of The Eureka Miner’s Market Report at eurekaminer.blogspot.com. He owns common shares of mining stocks: General Moly (GMO), Newmont Mining (NEM) and Timberline Resources (TLR). Please do your own research, markets can turn on you faster than a feral cat.

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 87


Pole Line Contractors are in the business of high-powered voltage By ELAINE BASSIER Mining Quarterly Staff Writer

Courtesy of Pole Line Contractors

Powerlines at Barrick Cortez Hills Mine are de-energized and raised by Pole Line Contractors so a shovel can be moved.

ELKO — Mines need energy and a lot of it. That’s where Pole Line Contractors comes in. Pole Line builds and maintains power lines and substations for the mining industry, President Spencer Porter said. The high-voltage power lines charge everything from electric shovels to mills. Porter and his wife Gail started the company almost 11 years ago. It employs 35 workers, almost all of whom moved to Nevada from other states. “Thanks to the mining industry, we all live around here and make a living,” Porter said. Pole Line has an office and storage facility in Carlin, and its employess have worked at mines all over Elko County and in cities such as Ely and Fallon, Operations Manager J.D. Gill said. Pole Line has even worked out of state as far as El Paso, Texas. “It’s always changing, even if we do the same thing,” Gill said, adding that new technology makes a difference in this field of work. Pole Line just completed a crossroad substation at Barrick Gold Corp.’s Cortez mine. Substations drop the electricity down to distribution voltage to use at a mine, Porter said. Pole Line also designs power lines and substations. Pole Line builds and energizes lines as well as maintains them, Porter said. Employees wear rubber gloves and learn “hot stick” work. They can be called out to a mine in the middle of the night or on the weekends if the power goes out. They also work in adverse

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conditions, such as bad weather. Gill said safety is number one to Pole Line, because especially in this line of work, there are no second chances. “That’s something we attribute to our success as a company — our employees,” Porter said. At Pole Line’s onsite shop, a mechanic was recently working on one of its Hi-Ranger bucket trucks, which workers use to reach the power lines. “This is one of our major pieces of equipment,” Porter said. The 55-foot lift has built-in insulation to keep the machine grounded, Porter said. Pole Line has six bucket trucks, ranging from 35 to 80 feet long. It also has seven line beds, which are used to transport wooden power line poles. Gill said the poles can be as tall as 100 feet. Pole Line is busy and happy to be serving the mining community, Porter said. The office is located at 1901 Griffen St. in Carlin and can be reached at 777-7001. Elaine Bassier/Mining Quarterly

J.D. Gill, operations manager at Pole Line Contractors, talks about the design plan for a recently completed substation at Barrick Cortez Hills Mine.

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 89


Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

The Mega Pit at Newmont’s Twin Creeks Mine.

Twin Creeks begins new layback, pilot programs By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining Quarterly Editor

GOLCONDA — Staff at Newmont Mining Corp.’s Twin Creeks Mine will stay busy this year with new projects and pilot programs. The mine is north of Golconda in Humboldt County and work has begun on cut 23, a layback on the north end of the Mega Pit. Cut 23 is “a huge success story for the site,” said Twin Creeks Mine Manager Steve Johnson. Operationally it is supported by the existing equipment and personnel. Twin Creeks has more than 500 employees, Johnson said. Mining on the layback began late in the fourth quarter of last year. To begin Cut 23, Newmont employees had to shift the access road for better visibility, redesign the storm water collection points and reconfigure them, and re-route the power to the layback and move substations, Johnson said. Johnson said the first ore should be reached in 2015 and the layback will be mined through 2017. The miners must remove the overburden or non-ore bearing rock first to reach the ore. Johnson said they expect to recover 527,000 ounces of gold from the layback. “It’s a source of higher grade refractory ore that will be recovered through our Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly Sage Mill,” Johnson said. The refractory ore goes through an on-site autoclave. Twin Creeks Mine Manager Steve Johnson, left, talks about Cut 23 at the overlook to the Mega Pit. Mike Life of mine runs out in 2022, Johnson said. Lester, mine superintendent is in the background.

90 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


Courtesy of Newmont Mining Corp.

A shovel loads up haul trucks on the Cut 23 layback.

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

This P&H 2800 shovel is on the Cut 23 layback. It can be seen in the distance near the top of the Mega Pit in the larger photo on the opposite page. “Keep in mind going through an extensive exploration drilling program, and there are plenty of opportunities to expand both in Mega Pit and Vista Pit,” he said. “We have a robust mine life,” Johnson said. “We have opportunities in both the Mega Pit and Vista Pit.” The mine moves about 175,000 tons of material a day out of the Mega and Vista pits. The waste rock is mined in 40-foot benches and the ore is mined in 20-foot benches. Twin Creeks has 18 Caterpillar 793 haul trucks that are 240-ton, said Mine Superintendent Mike Lester. The mine also has two hydraulic Hitachi shovels and a P&H 2800 electric shovel with a 41-yard bucket. The Hitachi shovels include a 5500 with a 41-yard bucket and a 3600 with a 30-yard bucket. The electric P&H is the main shovel for Cut 23, Lester said. The support equipment fleet is mainly Caterpillar. “About two-thirds of our production will come out of Cut 23,” Lester said. The site also has four Atlas Copco drills — two Pit Vipers and two DMLs. The Pit Vipers are single pass drills. “Those two drills (Pit Vipers) will be able to support the Cut 23 layback,” Lester said. See TWIN CREEKS, 93

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 91


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Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Haul trucks move in the Mega Pit.

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Twin Creeks General Manager Mark Evatz talks about the mine.

Twin Creeks ... Continued from page 91 The Pit Vipers are more efficient for the bench height, he said. They can go down a further distance without having to add to the drill length. Mine Safety Twin Creeks General Manager Mark Evatz said he has “a tremendous amount of pride” for his staff and what they are doing at the mine. He said the Twin Creeks Mine leads the industry in a couple of areas. “Everything we do out here is built around the foundation of safe work performance,” Evatz said. “So, all the successes, and we have a multitude of successes that we celebrate over the course of the year. … Those are only as good as us getting safety right. “You’ll see there is a tremendous amount of effort put into safety, because we are trying to move our culture toward a culture where zero harm is not just a catch phrase, but it is something that people believe in and work hard to achieve.” After getting safety right, Evatz said the mine tries to be a good neighbor to the surrounding areas. “It’s real easy to be community stewards because we’re doing it for ourselves, and our family and friends,” Evatz said. The hierarchy is checked at the gate, from the manager to the truck drivers, so everyone works together for a safe mine, he said. Part of that safety culture includes starting a traffic control system using lights. Steve Johnson said the mine has a red light, green light system. “It’s efficient from a safety standpoint,” Johnson said.

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

A pickup stops at the red light on the haul road at the Twin Creeks Mine.

See TWIN CREEKS, 94

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 93


Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Above: Bill Janhunen, process operations superintendent, talks about the pre-aeration process. At right: The new tank for the pre-aeration process is operating, but awaits to be painted. Below at right: Rich Neu, Twin Creeks metallurgist, talks about the new tank.

Twin Creeks ... Continued from page 93 The program began last year for efficiency and safety between the haul trucks and light equipment. The light system is still in a pilot program stage. “We have a sensor on each truck that tells the light they’re coming,” Johnson said. As a haul truck approaches an intersection, the light switches from red to green so the haul truck is given priority over any smaller equipment. “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from operators,” Johnson said. New Process Twin Creeks added a pre-aeration tank to the beginning of its carbon in leach circuit. “We’re using air from air compressors to oxidize the iron in the ore,” said Project Manager Dean DeCock. “After that stage it goes on to the leach circuit, and we add the cyanide. By oxidizing the iron we are able to use significantly less cyanide.” One of the byproducts of an autoclave process is ferrous iron, which is a cyanide consumer, said Twin Creeks Chief Metallurgist Greg Thies. “When that’s consuming cyanide, obviously, you have to add more cyanide in order to compensate,” Thies said. “With pre-aeration that oxidizes that ferrous to a ferric iron, which does not interact with cyanide, so we can overall lower our cyanide consumption.” The concept for the tank was “home grown,” Thies said. “Metallurgist Rich Neu came up with the concept and it was tested and implemented on site,” he said. Neu said he came up with the idea from different processes he worked with at other mine sites. “This is much easier to do,” Neu said. See TWIN CREEKS, 96

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SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 95


Twin Creeks ... Continued from page 94

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Above: Chief Metallurgist Greg Thies, left, and Project Manager Dean DeCock stand on the top of the pre-aeration tank. Top: The material in the pre-aeration tank bubbles and moves and the Vista Pit can be seen in the background.

96 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

A pilot or test program ran for more than a year at Twin Creeks before the full size tank was approved for construction. The new tank cost was estimated at $6.3 million but came in under budget, DeCock said. Thies said while the process does not affect recovery, it does reduce the amount of cyanide consumed, so it is cost effective. Before the pre-aeration tank, cyanide use varied, but the staff is no longer seeing “big swings” in cyanide consumption. “It’s already paying for itself,” he said. The field work for the tank began in April and it was started up at the end of 2013. Construction took more than 27,000 man hours, with zero incidents. TIC, Schmueser and Great Basin Industrial were the main contractors. The tank is 76 feet tall from the surface and about 52 feet in diameter. It holds about 850,000 gallons, said DeCock. When standing at the top of the tank, the brown slurry looks similar to a mud bath. The liquid churns and bubbles as agitators move the slurry to help it oxidize. This new tank was built next to the CIL tanks and is the first step in the process, said Don Wilhite, process manager. “We process 3.8 million tons from Sage and 1.4 million tons a year from Juniper,” Wilhite said. The Juniper Mill processes the oxide ore. Some of the ore that goes through the mills comes from Turquoise Ridge and Newmont’s Carlin site. Turquoise Ridge is owned jointly by Newmont and Barrick Gold Corp. The new tank has been running about three weeks, Wilhite said.


SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 97


Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Republican Nevada lieutenant governor candidates talk about issues with Elko Daily Free Press staff. Mark Hutchison, left, visited Elko in February and Sue Lowden visited in October.

Lieutenant governor candidates speak on mining issues By DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS Mining Quarterly

ELKO — As November’s midterm election approaches, Nevadans are paying close attention to candidates’ positions on important issues, such as health care, education and local economies. And to many northern communities, mining is the economic backbone. One of the more closely watched races at this stage is for the office of lieutenant governor. Although mining isn’t directly affected by that office, two Republican candidates vying for the seat either served or are serving in the Legislature, which has recently discussed changes to mining taxes. The Elko County Republican party’s Feb. 7 Lincoln Day Dinner featured a “candidate forum,” in which the lieutenant governor candidates — Sue Lowden and Mark

98 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

“It’s unfortunate that (SJR 15) is on the ballot, that we had so many senators who voted for that, to put that question whether or not the mining tax should be out of the constitution. ... It should have been safe.” —Sue Lowden Hutchison — were invited to share their positions with voters. Lowden slipped a subtle reminder to county Republicans that her opponent voted for a bill that could affect mining taxes. The two Republican lieutenant governor candidates agreed on issues across the board at the event, and

organizers instructed the speakers to focus on themselves and avoid characterizing their opponents’ positions. The resulted was a cordial forum. But when asked about the possibility of voters amending the state constitution as it relates to mining’s net proceeds tax, Lowden said lawmakers shouldn’t have supported legislation that will allow the change. “It’s unfortunate that it is on the ballot, that we had so many senators who voted for that, to put that question whether or not the mining tax should be out of the constitution,” she said “… It should have been safe.” Hutchison was among the Republican legislators to vote for the measure. Republican Party Chairman Lee Hoffman, who was moderating the forum, told each candidate they “carried some baggage with Elko County Republicans.” Hutchison was asked if he would explain his choice, which was considered controversial among northern


“The battle over the next decade is going to be over whether or not states retain their sovereignty. ... The states then ought to transfer those lands — for the most part — to the counties, and the counties ought to look at those lands and get them in the hands of individuals, particularly the lands that are around developed areas.” — Mark Hutchison A member of the American Lands Council Supports Western states gaining control of federal land Nevada Republicans. Hutchison, who described himself as a strong supporter of mining, said his decision was based on a principle that voters should have a say in the constitution. “As a constitutional lawyer,” he said. “I think the people should ultimately decide what’s in their constitution.” The party, he added, needed to educate southern-Nevada voters on the statewide benefits of mining. Speculation by pundits that Gov. Brian Sandoval will challenge Sen. Harry Reid, DNev., in 2016, has caused a heightened interest in the lieutenant governor’s race. Both candidates emphasized, however, they were focused on 2014 and the job of lieutenant governor, which deals with economic diversity and tourism in the state. Hutchison said transferring federal land to the state and defeating the margins tax were pillars of his campaign. Lowden agreed that the state should control its public lands, and she also opposed the margins tax. Lowden, former state senator and former GOP state chairwoman, spoke to the Free Press in October. Hutchison, a state senator and former private attorney, met with members of the Free Press in February. In Elko, Lowden reiterated her support for the mining industry. “I have an appreciation for the fact that mining is our second largest industry, and for many communities it’s the first industry,” she said. “… I think it was not prudent to vote for the issue to be on the ballot, and I certainly would be against any new taxes in mining — or for any other industry.” By statute, the lieutenant governor serves on the board of economic development. Lowden said her business experience would help in that arena. She would also serve on the board of the department of transportation. “I have an appreciation for how vast the state is,” she said. Lowden made a bid for the U.S. Senate Seat in 2010, but was defeated in the primary by former state assemblywoman Sharron Angle. Hutchison said his early support for a mine tax increase was a tactic to kill a 2 percent margins tax on businesses grossing more than $1 million, which he characterized as the “most disastrous tax proposal in (his) lifetime.” Party leaders suggested the mine tax as an alternative to the margins tax, and Hutchison was asked if he could support it. “I said I would consider it as a way to diffuse this nuclear bomb that was about to go off,” he said. The proposal didn’t make it out of committee and since then, he said, he’s toured mines, met with executives, learned more about the industry and committed to supporting mining. As the election approaches, he adding, public officials need to make a concerted effort to educate voters on mining issues. Issues related to sage grouse, land management and even unemployment could be alleviated, Hutchison said, if the state had control over public lands. “The battle over the next decade is going to be over whether or not states retain their sovereignty,” he said. As a member of the American Lands Council, Hutchison said he is a strong supporter of that nonprofit’s efforts to build a coalition of Western states demanding a transfer of public lands to the states. “The states then ought to transfer those lands — for the most part — to the counties, and the counties ought to look at those lands and get them in the hands of individuals,” he said, “particularly the lands that are around developed areas.”

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SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 99


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Walt “Bimbo” Cheney holds two 45 rpm records given to him by friends. The records feature Gene Autry and Grady Martin singing the song “Bimbo,” from which Cheney got the nickname.

Bimbo Cheney: Local miner recalls cowboy life through poetry By HEATHER KENNISON Mining Quarterly Staff Writer

ELKO — Walt “Bimbo” Cheney might be known best for his cowboy poetry. But while he writes about that lifestyle, he’s long been employed in the mining industry. Cheney, 62, of Spring Creek, has worked for Newmont Mining Corp. for 25 years. He currently runs a front end loader to feed Mill 6 at the Gold Quarry Pit outside Carlin.

“You can find good and bad in anything you do, but I don’t duck my head when I tell people I work at the mine,” Cheney said. He worked for Dee Gold before he worked for Newmont. Cheney said he knows others of his generation who later became miners. And he isn’t the only one who fosters talents on the side. Several years ago, Cheney tried to start a group called “Miner Talents,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are miners that have a

gift,” Cheney said. “… We once had a guy who played bagpipes.” Cheney’s life has included a series of professions, including rodeo and “cowboy-ing.” Roots Cheney earned the nickname of “Bimbo” at the early age of 4 or 5 years old. As he often explains to the puzzled listener, its origins See POET, 102

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Local cowboy poet Walt “Bimbo” Cheney performs during the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January at the Western Folklife Center.

Poet ... Continued from page 101

Know a miner you think should be featured in the Mining Quarterly? Contact the editor at mining@elkodaily.com

ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS 102 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

are from the song “Bimbo,” written in the 1940s by Rodney Morris. When Cheney began singing the song around the house, it became a childhood nickname that he’s had ever since. “When it became a bad word, I almost dropped it,” Cheney said. But having been called “Bimbo” for so long, it just kind of stuck. Growing up, Cheney lived on various small farms in the midwest (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Missouri). He left high school in his junior year and began working as a rodeo clown at 17 years old. “All my early poetry was rodeo-oriented because that’s what I was doing. ... I was trying to make a living, but I was actually starving to death,” Cheney said, laughing. He discovered what he really wanted to do: cowboy. “If a young person grows up wanting to do a certain thing, they’re never really happy until they at least try it,” Cheney said. At first, he worked in cattle feedlots, starting in 1979. In 1981, he came to Nevada. “Nevada was the first place that ever gave me the chance to cowboy,” Cheney said.


Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Local cowboy poet Walt “Bimbo” Cheney watches a performance from the stage during the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January at the Western Folklife Center.

He worked on the J.D. Ranch south of Carlin and the Sheep Creek Ranch. His work as a cowboy ended after he married his first wife, who had three children. Cheney started working for Dee Gold. “It was easier for me to adapt to town than for them to adapt to the ranch style life,” he said. “They did because I did, but they weren’t very happy.” Not only that, but Cheney said he tired of sleeping on the ground. “It’s not a good job if you like to be warm and comfortable,” Cheney said. Still, Cheney’s poetry is a reflection of his experiences as a cowboy. “There’s an old saying ‘Nobody gets to cowboy forever,’ and I think it’s true. We’d all like to do it ‘til we’re old and gray, but few do,” Cheney said. See POET, 104

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 103


Quakie Braille By Walt “Bimbo” Cheney Printed with permission

Did you ever get that feeling like you were in a special place? Where not too many folks had been and where the spirits touched your face? And you feel that there’s a reason, but you can’t quite pin it down, That you were picked to be there when there was no one else around. I don’t know why I was chosen, but that happened once to me, When I was riding in the mountains, weaving through the quakie trees. We had some steers on forest permits and the lease was running short, So the boss sent me to fetch ‘em, so as to keep him out of court. Now, I had been up on that mountain probably twenty times, or more, But I’d never been up quite that high, I hadn’t been on that trail before, When I come across some carvings on a tree there by the trail. Two names were carved inside a heart, in lasting quakie braille. Now, that alone weren’t special—I’d seen carvings many times— But I think these were the oldest, carved in 1889. As I set my horse and watched ‘em, two small figures caught my eye In the underbrush behind ‘em and I ceased to wonder why. These figures, too, had carvings and they matched those on the tree. Time hadn’t been so good to them, but they sure matched I could see. The names carved on that quakie were “Sy” and “Anna Fay.” Those same names on wooden markers crowned two forest-guarded graves. My imagination took control and I was back in ‘89, And I saw Sy with his folding knife pledge that their lives would entwine. And then I saw them riding on that same trail I had rode, Stopping many times thereafter, in that shade there by the road. And not just when they was courtin’, but many times besides, And I think it was their special place till the day I made that ride. At first I thought to pull some weeds and knock down all that brush, But then I thought the better, why disturb them with my fuss? So I straightened up the markers, piled some stones back on the mounds, Put some flowers in-between the sweethearts, forked my horse, and rode back down. Since then I have kept their secret, I haven’t told one soul till now, For some fifty years they have slept up there, where the two first made their vows. Time will not erase it. It’s engraved like quakie braille, What I saw there on that mountain and those sweethearts’ secret trail. I suppose in time they’ll vanish, the marks on those boards and the tree, But never will they vanish from this cowboy’s memory. So, I wrote it down on paper, hopin’ these words would last, Can then preserve their story that I tell here from the past. I hope you folks will tell your children and they will then tell theirs, About that heart that’s carved on that quakie and those folks that rest up there. And maybe when you’re asked what love is by some youngster at your knee, You will tell them of that special place that once was shared with me. 104 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Local cowboy poet Walt “Bimbo” Cheney performs during the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January at the Western Folklife Center.

Poet ... Continued from page 103 Poetry Jana Cheney knows the cowboy lifestyle is still close to her husband’s heart. She has been married to Bimbo Cheney for more than a year. With changing shifts at the mines, he sometimes needs to sleep during the day. “He talks in his sleep — I can’t say this without laughing — and when he does, it’s about being a cowboy,” Jana Cheney said. In his poems, Bimbo Cheney describes cowboy life and his love for Nevada and the West. He’s got about 50 that are still only partly complete, he said. Cheney frequently recites poems at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. “Bimbo has been a part of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering since day one,” said Western Folklife Center Artistic Director Meg Glaser during a Jan. 27 event in which


Cheney performed. “He’s continued to write when he’s not working at one of the local mines or helping on the ranches.” In one of the poems he performed this year, Cheney told about the first time he stayed in Nevada. He ended up stopping in Elko for five days, and returned three years later. “She is not my birthright, but Nevada is my home and she will be ‘til the sage entwines my bones,” Cheney said. Cheney also performed “Rain Upon the Sage.” “Of all the simple pleasures acting out on nature’s stage, for me there’s none that can compare than rain upon the sage,” he said. Cheney’s signature poem is “Quakie Braille,” which he performed in Disneyland about 15 years ago. The poem describes the journey a man takes through the mountains and discovers two names carved upon a quaking aspen in 1889. Home Eddie Brooks of Spring Creek has known Cheney since he worked on the ranches. They are still neighbors. Brooks has been a saddlemaker for 60 years, and originally came from Texas. “He’s a good guy,” Brooks said. “I’ve known him forever.” A few years ago, Cheney had Brooks make him a saddle, saying he wanted to recite poetry on horseback with he retires. Jana Cheney said her husband currently doesn’t have a horse, and she’s been convincing him to wait until it isn’t winter. Each year, nearly all her husband’s vacation time is saved up for the Gathering, Jana Cheney said. He enjoys getting to talk with others from all over the world. “You usually give each other hell, but you know what the other guy’s talking about,” Cheney said. What’s more, cowboy poetry gives a voice to those who he believes are the salt of the West. “A lot of people who are past their prime aren’t really heard,” he said. Cheney said it is inspiring to meet people who have lived on ranches for several generations. He feels he never took root anywhere while he was growing up. Now, he said he can’t imagine being anywhere else besides Nevada.

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New Nevada medallions feature miner CARSON CITY — Orders for the second of four commemorative medallions marking Nevada’s 150th birthday began Feb. 3 through the Nevada Legislative Gift Shop. Wells Fargo has been announced as the official sponsor of the medallions. “I am thrilled to welcome Wells Fargo as the newest sponsor of our celebration; Nevada and Wells Fargo have an incredible and unique shared history,” said Lt. Governor and Nevada 150 Commission Chairman Brian Krolicki. “The design of the second medallion, depicting a miner, truly captures the history and impact mining has had on or state.” Each one-ounce collector’s medallion is made from pure Nevada silver from the Coeur Mine in Rochester on the historic Coin Press No. 1 at the Nevada State Museum. Depicting a Nevada miner on the front side and the Nevada Sesquicentennial logo on the back side, the silver medallion is available to the public at $100.50 each. The copper medallions have the same design as the silver medallions and are available for purchase at $15 each. Beginning Feb. 10, orders for the Sesquicentennial medallions can be made through the LGS website at https://www.leg.state.nv.us/app/lcbstore/a/default.aspx or in person at the LGS, located at 401 South Carson St., Carson City. Sales of the commemorative medallions help fund the Nevada 150 events and yearlong celebration. Throughout the year, four different medallions will be released at different dates for purchase. For more information about Nevada 150, visit www.nevada150.org.

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SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 105


Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Turquoise Ridge Joint Venture Project Manager Rosa Whisenand talks about the surface facilities connected to the new underground backfill plant.

Turquoise Ridge to finish new underground backfill plant By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining Quarterly Editor

GOLCONDA — Mining companies want their projects to grow, but sometimes expansions can create challenges, like the one found at Turquoise Ridge Joint Venture. The mine, a joint venture between Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp., operates in some of the most difficult ground conditions in Nevada. “The geology here is a real challenge,” said Lynn Bradshaw, surface general supervisor for the north zone backfill plant. The mine uses backfill to improve the ground conditions.

106 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

“For every ton of ore we take out, we have a ton of backfill to put in,” said John Laird, mine operations superintendent. However the batch plant, where the backfill is mixed, is far from the main area of mining. As the mine has grown, it has gone deeper, but it has expanded horizontally as well as vertically. The current plant is on the 1,250 level, said Technical Services Superintendent Mern Vatcha. The backfill is dropped about 500 feet down a bore hole and then the material is trucked where it is needed. “This new bore hole will be right in the heart of where we will be mining for the next 20 to 30 years,” he said. “The new plant is at about the 2,000 feet level.”

The current mine life is 2041, Vatcha said. “It will be 1,150 feet deeper and about one mile closer to the mining,” said Simon Pollard, safety and health superintendent. The current batch plant handles about 2,000 tons a day, but the new plant will do about 4,000 tons a day and “not break a sweat,” Vatcha said. Construction Challenges Almost from the start the project had challenges. “The plant we projected to finish the first of this year. We had a permit delay straight away with Humboldt County,” Bradshaw said about the surface construction. “It cost us four weeks of construction time which threw


us into the winter pouring concrete instead of the early fall.” Project Manager Rosa Whisenand said they were pouring concrete at below zero temperatures. The entire project has taken more than three years. The concrete was poured from November 2012 until June 2013. After the concrete was poured, the steel was brought in for the underground chamber. All of the equipment brought in had to be moved underground. The largest piece of equipment was the mixer — the biggest one underground in North America, Whisenand said. “It was very challenging to take it down through our drifts,” Whisenand said. The drifts are the tunnels in an underground mine. When the mixer was moved underground, it had to be stripped down because of its size and it still weighed about 22,000 pounds, Whisenand said. Then it had to be elevated and put on a deck. “Once the mixer is in place and all together it weighs more than 50,000 pounds,” she said. “We’re very proud we did that with no safety issues.” The next big challenge was drilling the bore holes from the surface down to the mixer. “The bore holes are a significant achievement,” Vatcha said. Turquoise Ridge had more than 50 contractors working on the project, but Boart Longyear was the main contractor used to drill the bore holes. The new batch plant needed four holes — two for aggregate, one for cement and fly ash and one for shotcrete,

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Mern Vatcha, technical services superintendent for Turquoise Ridge, talks about the backfill project.

See TRJV, 108

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SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 107


Courtesy of Barrick Gold Corp.

Above at left: Miners work on a 12-inch borehole used as a cement line for the underground pads in March 2013 it the area that will become a new backfill plant. Above: The steel work for the underground backfill plant is partially done in July. At left: Miners look at the underground batch plant in January.

TRJV ... Continued from page 107 Vatcha said. The contractors drilled a 24-, 20-, 12and an 8-inch bore hole. The holes were the biggest expense of the project and had to be drilled to reach the already developed chamber in the underground, said the project’s manager Whisenand. She said the project was difficult because it left little room for error. “It was only eight feet from the wall to where the room is,” Whisenand said. “You would think a drill would want to go down straight but they tend to drift,” Laird said. All four were directionally drilled 2,400 feet down and within 50 feet of each other, Vatcha said. The first 12-inch hole drilled was about 60 feet off from center. The rest of the holes were only a couple feet off from where expected, Vatcha said. When drilling 2,400 feet down a 1 percent drift means the hole is 27 feet off, Whisenand said. The four bore holes are 12 feet apart from each

108 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


other, center to center, Bradshaw said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This was new to the drillers also,â&#x20AC;? Bradshaw said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If we had to go back and do it again, it would be different.â&#x20AC;? Once the holes were drilled they were lined with pipes and grouted. The project cost about $55.8 million, Vatcha said. The delays added â&#x20AC;&#x153;a significant amount of cost,â&#x20AC;? he said. Whisenand said she expects the plant will be completed and ready for use by March 31. Power and Design Benefits The batch plant will help with production, but it also will improve power in the mine. The new batch plant is in one of the farthest areas away from the main power source. The main power for the mine is closer to the surface. If it goes down, the entire mine shuts down, Laird said. The underground has enough power to run the equipment used by the 441 Barrick employees, but not enough for the new plant. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The power consumption increases significantly, we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the structure for that,â&#x20AC;? Whisenand said of the batch plant. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, we needed to create a way to send power underground, and by doing it through the surface with a bore hole, it allows now to split the power so we have two different sources coming to the same area.â&#x20AC;? The main power source will continue to operate the

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

John Laird, mine operations superintendent, describes where the current power source is located in Turquoise Ridge compared with the main area of mining at the other end of the map.

See TRJV, 111

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TRJV ... Continued from page 109 mine, but the new power source for the batch plant will also be a backup if there is a shortage in the rest of the mine. “Now we’ll be able to feed the plant from both sides,” Whisenand said. Vatcha said the electrical work is being done by I&E Electrical. The utility bore hole cost $7 million. The batch plant also will improve conditions and the mine will see “massive benefits from the automation at the plant,” said Julio Sandoval, environmental superintendent. “The way the site was designed there will be less fugitive dust. … We’re miles ahead of where we were,” he said. Future Development While the new batch plant is one of the most significant projects done at Turquoise Ridge, the mine’s staff has begun thinking about another. Vatcha said the mine has about 7 million ounces in the ground and Barrick employees are trying to find ways to shrink the costs of mining. All the ore has to be moved about a mile underground to move it to the surface, he said. So staff has begun contemplating drilling a new shaft in the north zone of the mine. “It takes about 45 minutes to get from the surface to Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Project Manager Rosa Whisenand talks about the backfill plant, left, while Lynn Bradshaw, surface batch plant listens.

See TRJV, 115

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Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Above: Rick Weight, product support sales manager at Cashman Equipment, talks about the steering of the CAT loader in the equipment yard in Elko. Below: Weight talks about maching equipment in the shop where CAT hydraulic parts are serviced in Elko.

Cashman Caterpillars built to be rebuilt By DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS Mining Quarterly

ELKO — If it seems Caterpillar equipment — with its recognizable yellow body paint — has such a strong presence in the mining community, you might be right. Rick Weight, product support sales manager at Cashman Equipment’s Elko office, offered two reasons for the strong presence: quality of the machines and customer care. “We sell the value,” he said, calling Caterpillar the “Cadillac of mining equipment,” Because mines run around the clock, Cashman has on-call staff, including employees in the parts department, who are trained to respond to a service need at any hour. Cashman, a statewide Caterpillar dealer with offices in northern and See CASHMAN, 114

112 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


Carl Sarman, G.E.T. specialist at Cashman Equipment, talks about wear bars of these CAT bulldozer tracks in the equipment yard in Elko. Ross Andreson Mining Quarterly

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 113


Cashman ...

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Jeff Holtz, lead welder at Cashman Equipment talks about the refurbishment of a CAT loader bucket in the welding shop in Elko.

Continued from page 101 southern Nevada, has established itself as an industry stronghold, but the company is constantly adapting and innovating, Weight said. At the Elko office, Cashman is emphasizing a “built to be rebuilt” mantra. “Every piece of Cat equipment is built to be rebuilt. So if you wear it out, we’ll take it and we’ll make it like new again,” Weight said. The idea, he said, is Cashman can strip equipment down to the frame and completely rebuild the machine. Weight said the equipment is durable. But with heavy machinery, every movement adds wear, regardless of brand. While gold prices tread around $1,200 per ounce, companies are looking for areas to save, and if a mine decides it can’t budget a new piece of equipment, it might opt to pay for a rebuilt machine at a portion of the cost. “If you go and completely rebuild that machine, it actually gets a new serial number,” Weight said. In the last year, Cashman’s Elko facility completed construction of a new fullservice shop where technicians rebuilt equipment. On Feb. 5, a large loader sat in the shop stripped to the frame. The engine was out; the cab was off. Labeled cardboard boxes filled with new parts sat close to the loader frame. “We make weekly phone calls, or daily phone calls, whatever the customer wants to give them updates,” said Linda Ritz, shop supervisor. Cashman allows customers to come into the shop and see the progress or condition of their equipment. Ritz said maintaining an open line of communication with the customers is vital. Cashman has 84 technicians between Elko and Winnemucca in the field and in shop. Near the new service shop, Cashman also constructed a large sandblast and paint booth. On a recent tour, two paint technicians, Joe Cervantes and David Acosta, were repainting an articulated haul truck. Caterpillar equipment is used for a variety of jobs: paving roads, excavation and supplying generator power. Several years ago, Cashman also began selling Caterpillar shaft drills. “We’ve got a strong underground presence, and we’re going to continue on with that,” he said. “Drills are a big thing for us, drills, shovels and electric-drive units.” Cashman sells electric and hydraulic shovels and maintains a separate building for hydraulic repair. The company strives to provide quality care

and service to its customers, according to Weight. Although named after its founder, Weight said the company’s name also works as an acronym: Communicating, Accountable, Safe, Honest, Mentors, Adaptable and Now — which he explained reflects Cashman’s commitment to providing service when the customer needs it. The primary component of the company’s mission and vision is safety, he said. Cashman began dealing Caterpillar equipment in 1931, when auto salesman Jim Cashman — known as “Big Jim” — sold six Cat Tractors that were used for construction of the Hoover Dam, according to the company’s website. “As the dam was being constructed, Big Jim realized tractors would make the job quicker and easier,” it states. “He wrote to Caterpillar and said if he were a Cat dealer, he could easily sell six Cat Model 60 Diesel Tractors. The tractor manufacturer sent him the order forms and on August 5, 1931, Cashman Equipment became an official Caterpillar dealer.” Cashman opened its Elko office around 1981. By 1988, the Elko facility had doubled in size. It is located at 5010 Idaho St.

114 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

Ross Andreson/Mining Quarterly

Paint technicians Joe Cervantes, left and David Acosta are working on a CAT haul truck at Cashman Equipment in the paint booth in Elko.


Cooperative Extension to test large-scale use of biochar RENO — University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, with other partners, is embarking on a large-scale three-year project to find more efficient ways to increase water conservation and plant growth, and decrease the release of fossil fuel in the Great Basin. Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Eureka County, the Nevada Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition and the Nevada Department of Wildlife, is testing a “mobile rotary pyrolysis reactor.” The machine works by baking woody debris left behind from harvest, logging or mine site-clearing without using oxygen. This produces a charcoal-like substance called biochar,as well as bio-oil and bio-gas.Theoretically,the bio-gas can be burned for energy and can power the reactor, the bio-oil can be collected and refined, and the biochar can be added to soil to increase the soil’s productivity and water retention. This will be the first large-scale field test of the reactor and the biochar’s uses. Applications of biochar will be tested in Eureka County’s Diamond Valley and the Ruby Hill Mine. “One of our top reasons for testing in Diamond Valley is that historically, water has been over-allocated and over-pumped there, leading to water scarcity,” Eureka County Extension Educator Fred Steinmann said. “The farmers are already adopting new technology to preserve crops and stretch their water usage, but the Diamond Valley aquifer is still close to collapse. Hopefully biochar can be used to help create a sustainable agricultural landscape in a community like Eureka that has a long and proud tradition of agriculture.” The farmers pump a combined total of about 32.6 million gallons each year. Unfortunately, the aquifer only recovers about 6.5 million gallons each year. As such, the state engineer has asked farmers in Diamond Valley to reduce their water pumping by 60 percent. “We’re looking at biochar for its ability to lock and retain water,” Steinmann said. The Ruby Hill mine is also looking to close soon, as it is no longer profitable because of the drop in gold prices and the dwindling amount of other ores. Federal and state law requires that closing mines create a reclamation plan for the trailing piles, or piles of rock and soil removed from the mine. “Because the debris was underground, it is sterile and is susceptible to floods and erosion,” Steinmann said. “We want to use biochar as a soil amendment — something added to the soil that allows for microorganisms, and eventually plants, to grow.” Cooperative Extension is currently testing different biochar mixes and various seeds in small plots at the mine. Next spring, the best combination will be used for the large-scale test on a large section of the remaining trailing piles.

TRJV ... Continued from page 111 move through everyone and get to your mining area,” Vatcha said. Even if the shaft is on private land, the mine would have to go through a permitting process that could take up to five years, he said. “If we get a shaft done, it would cut down on mine life, but production would increase,” said Vatcha. However the economics related to construction may have the final say on whether a new shaft is built. Vatcha said the project “is not a small investment,” since the estimated cost is $300 million. The mine would also have to receive Newmont’s as well as Barrick’s OK to construct the shaft. Newmont, as 25 percent owner, would be responsible for that percentage of the project’s costs. Barrick owns 75 percent and Newmont owns 25 percent. Ore from Turquoise Ridge is processed at Newmont’s Twin Creeks Mine. Quality Transportation moves about 20,000 ounces a month from Turquoise Ridge to Twin Creeks.

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SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 115


Soil Science: ALS Minerals tests samples to find minerals By ELAINE BASSIER Mining Quarterly Staff Writer

ELKO — If you want to test the gold at a mine, ALS Minerals can tell you what you’ve got in your soil. ALS provides analytical data to the mining industry and other industrial sectors. The global company has four divisions: mineral, life science (environmental), energy (coal, oil and gas) and industrial, which tests for fluids such as oils and other lubricants. ALS has been in Nevada for 30 years, and has had an Elko location for most of that time, Director of Operations for the U.S. Gael McGibbon said. The Elko branch, which was on Last Chance Road, recently moved to a larger facility at 1345 Water St. “Elko has always been our flagship ... (it’s) right there in the heart of mining country,” McGibbon said. The Elko office collects samples to be tested from area mines. The Reno office, where McGibbon works, uses fire assays to test for gold or silver. Others offices can test for other materials and use different processes. “We can do any analysis from anywhere,” McGibbon said. ALS can test the quality and quantity of minerals at existing mines as well as test soil for the exploration of new mines. A mining company needs to have an accuRoss Andreson/Mining Quarterly

ALS Minerals is located on Water Street in Elko.

116 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

See ALS, 118


Courtesy of the Elko Area Chamber of Commerce

ALS Geochemistry joins the Elko Area Chamber of Commerce at its new location at 1345 Water St.

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 117


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Continued from page 116 rate estimate of what its mineral resources are, McGibbon said, and ALS can provide that for them. “We have a lot of breadth and depth with Nevada mining,” McGibbon said. The company has a strict confidentiality policy. It takes blind samples, so employees don’t even know which mine they are testing, and McGibbon said clients who submit to ALS can expect standardized practices and quality procedures. It’s really important the information regarding the results of the assays stays in the company, she said. “We’re trusted with keeping the confidentiality with our clients,” McGibbon said. However, McGibbon did share the steps of the process, saying it was similar to high school chemistry in some ways, although much more complicated. The Elko office can collect samples on site and then prepare them and ship them to one of the analytical labs, such as the Reno office. Rock samples are crushed into powder and dried for six to 12 hours. The sample is split in two, and a portion is kept to reuse in the event the client wants more work done on the specific sample. The other split is pulverized to the fineness of talcum powder (another portion is retained at this phase) and then ALS conducts a fire assay on the sample, which weighs 30 grams compared to the initial sample of five kilograms. Ten grams of that may be sent to another office for a full multi-elements test, McGibbon said. As the name suggests, fire assays require a lot of heat, and the process is centuries old. “It remains the most trusted method for determining gold content,” McGibbon said. ALS takes the pulverized sample and adds flux, a lead- Gael McGibbon containing mixture. Then, it is all mixed together and put in a high-temperature oven. The lead collects all the metals that are present, McGibbon said. When it comes out of the fire assay, the sample looks like a metal button surrounded by glass, called slag. ALS separates the metal from the non-metal by hammering the slag. The lead button is heated up again in a process called cupellation, where the precious metal (silver and gold) are separated from other metals. The sample is then put into nitric acid to separate the silver from the gold. The gold can be run through an ICP induction coupled plasma instrument, an automated process to determine the quantity of the gold. Or, if there is enough gold in the sample, it can be weighed directly. “You never really know what’s in that rock until you get the results,” McGibbon said. Clients can go online and see the samples in real time as part of the transparent lab initiative, McGibbon said. The sample is bar-coded as soon as it comes to the lab and scanned as it moves through the system. For example, if the client provides 200 samples, ALS can test 84 on the first day, and at the end of the day, the client can see the results for those samples online. “Hopefully they all go out and celebrate because they found so much gold,” McGibbon said. Once every sample is complete, ALS begins quality control. A sample with a known number is tested alongside the other samples. At the end, if the number doesn’t match the previous result, employees know something went wrong and can test the samples again. “We don’t approve our results until we’re certain of the quality,” McGibbon said. McGibbon collected samples for awhile, but she “never thought about what happens after you turn them in,” she said. ALS provides an important service to mining, McGibbon said, and the company takes pride in its relationships with clients. The Elko office is run by Branch Manager Diane Zerga. The office phone number is 738-2054.

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County agrees to close public access to road on Long Canyon project By DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS Mining Quarterly Staff Writer

ELKO — The county moved forward Jan. 8 with an agreement to temporarily close a segment of the Big Springs Ranch Road south of Oasis. Newmont Mining Corp. is in the permitting process for an open pit mine, Long Canyon, on the east side of the Pequop Mountains south of Interstate 80. The Big Springs Ranch Road runs directly through the proposed mine site. In the agreement with the county, Newmont employees will be able to use the road, but in order to satisfy safety regulations, it will be closed to the public because there’s likely to be large trucks and other mine traffic. After Newmont finishes mining its proposed Long Canyon location and reclamation of the land, the closed road will open back up for public use. “The purpose and need for closing that road is to protect human health, the environment and safety,” said Dan Anderson, Newmont regional environmental affairs manager. The road is about three and a half miles with all but about 300 feet on Newmont owned private property, he said. The public will be able to access areas of the Pequops south of the mine site on an alternate route through Shafter. Newmont has also offered to allow permanent easement to the county on about 11 miles of road which run through private property.

“One of the advantages of that is that this is also (near) the Hastings Cutoff,” Anderson said. “… This will provide a permanent access point for those interested in the California Trail.” But Otis Tipton, former county road supervisor, said he didn’t believe Nevada law cited in the county’s public hearing notice allowed for temporary closures. NRS 403.170.3 addresses rules for abandoning roads or reclassifying roads as either “main, general or minor,” but doesn’t say anything specifically about closures, he pointed out. “My main concern is I don’t want to see Newmont get caught up in the middle of something because the t’s aren’t crossed and the i’s aren’t dotted. I really have a concern with that,” he said. “I want Newmont to go ahead and get this project done. I think it’s an important project, and I’m all for these kind of things.” Tipton said the road is used for access to the Pequops by hunters, woodcutters and other recreationists. If residents petition against the road closure, Tipton said, it could push back Long Canyon’s opening.

Kristin McQueary, county attorney and chief civil deputy district attorney, said she could make an argument that a temporary closure is a change of classification, and the county wasn’t going to abandon the road. “It’s not the county’s intention or Newmont’s intention to permanently close that road,” she added. County Manager Rob Stokes said in his 13 years working with McQueary, he’s confident in her counsel on road issues. Tipton called the Shafter road treacherous. It’s impassable in the winter and often deep with dust in the summer. Commissioner Demar Dahl said he’s driven on the road from Shafter many times, and though it isn’t in great condition, he said, unless there’s snow, it’s almost always passable. Anderson added the public will have an opportunity to voice concerns about road closures during the project’s scoping project. The life of the mine is projected to extend more than a decade. Tipton suggested the county use the temporary closure request as a negotiation piece to open access through the IL Ranch to public land. Commissioner Grant Gerber said Newmont’s offer for easement along the Hastings Cutoff was a strong selling point. “I’m pleased with where we are,” he said. If the property is sold, Newmont will agree to include the county’s road easement.

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Barrick reports $2.83 billion loss TORONTO, ONTARIO — Barrick Gold Corp. Feb. 13 reported a fourth quarter net loss of $2.83 billion. The loss included after-tax impairment charges of $2.82 billion. Adjusted net earnings were $410 million, or 37 cents per share. Operating cash flow was $1.02 billion and adjusted operating cash flow was $1.09 billion. For the full year 2013, Barrick reported a net loss of $10.37 billion, or $10.14 per share, including after-tax impairment charges of $11.54 billion. Adjusted net earnings were $2.57 billion, or $2.51 per share. Operating cash flow was $4.24 billion and adjusted operating cash flow was $4.36 billion. “The disciplined capital allocation framework that we adopted in mid-2012 has been at the core of every decision we’ve made in the last year and half, and has put us in a much stronger position to deal with the challenging gold price environment our industry is facing today,” said Barrick President and CEO Jamie Sokalsky. “Under a comprehensive plan to strengthen the company, we have become a leaner, more agile organization, better protected against further downside price risk and well positioned to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities going forward. “We have increased our focus on free cash flow and riskadjusted returns, and successfully executed on our key priorities, which include operational excellence, a stronger balance sheet and the ongoing optimization of our asset

portfolio. This required decisive action, including the temporary suspension of Pascua-Lama, and an even greater focus on generating higher returns even if that means producing fewer ounces. These were the right decisions for our shareholders and for the company, and we are now seeing the tangible benefits of our efforts.” Barrick calculated its reserves for 2013 using a conservative gold price assumption of $1,100 per ounce, compared to $1,500 per ounce in 2012. Gold reserves declined to 104.1 million ounces at the end of 2013 from 140.2 million ounces at the end of 2012. Excluding ounces mined and processed in 2013 and divestitures, all of these ounces have transferred to resources, preserving the option to access them in the future at higher gold prices. “2013 was a tough year for Barrick by any measure, but with a renewed focus on capital discipline and operational excellence across the board, we have reset our focus and revitalized the company’s prospects,” Sokalsky said. “We will not veer from this course, which has delivered solid results, reduced costs and improved financial flexibility.” Pascua-Lama Update During the fourth quarter of 2013, Barrick announced the temporary suspension of construction at its PascuaLama project, except for those activities required for environmental and regulatory compliance. The ramp-down is on schedule for completion by mid-2014. The company expects to incur costs of about $300 million this year for the ramp-down and environmental and social obligations.

Nevada Operations Cortez: The mine produced 240,000 ounces at all-in sustaining costs of $498 per ounce in the fourth quarter. Even with lower production anticipated in 2014, Cortez remains one of the largest gold assets in the world, and a cornerstone operation for Barrick. As anticipated in the mine plan, production this year is expected to be 925,000 to 975,000 ounces, primarily due to a decrease in ore grades. AISC are expected to increase to $750-$780 per ounce in 2014 as a result of lower production and higher sustaining capital related to waste stripping for the Cortez Hills open pit. Goldstrike: In the fourth quarter, Goldstrike produced 240,000 ounces at AISC of $770 per ounce. The autoclave facility is undergoing modifications that will enable Goldstrike to bring forward about 4.0 million ounces of production. The total construction cost for this project is $585 million. Expansion capital expenditures related to the project are expected to be $245 million in 2014. First production from the modified autoclaves is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2014. Goldstrike is expected to produce 865,000 to 915,000 ounces in 2014 at AISC of $920-$950 per ounce. Production is anticipated to increase to above 1.0 million ounces in 2015 with a full year of operations from the modified autoclaves.

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Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

The Ruth Pit at KGHM’s Robinson Mine near Ely.

Robinson sets records in recovery, production By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining Quarterly Editor

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Robinson General Manager Cary Brunson talks about the mine’s 2013 production.

ELY — The historic Robinson Mine continues to thrive and last year it set several records. It produced a record amount of one of its by-products - 1.4 million pounds of molybdenum, said Robinson General Manager Cary Brunson. “In 2013, we had our best recovery performance in the 10 years we’ve been operating, and we had our best mill throughput in the 10 years we’ve been operating along with the moly record,” he said. The mill processed 16.4 million tons of ore in 2013. Milling rates averaged 45,221 tons per day, said Tom Bender, process manager. “2013 was a tremendous year in the mill for production bench marks. … The ore delivery is a piece of it, but one of the significant improvements we’ve made here in the mill was the modification to our cyclone circuit, what we call coarse cut cyclones,” Bender said. “… It changed the split between floatation and what goes back for further grinding. …. It allowed us to send a

122 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

higher percentage of grind product to floatation, which allowed us to increase throughput.” The copper recovery went from 72 percent to 81 percent in 2013, Bender said. Technology helped with the increase in recovery, he said. Froth cameras were installed to help monitor the surface of the floatation cells. “It’s a real-time camera,” Bender said. It measures the velocity that the froth moves across the cells and over the lip. The operator puts in a set point velocity that he wants that cell to move at and then the camera measures it and controls it.” The mill has 21 cameras watching floatation cells. An XL rougher scavenger also improved recovery over 4 percentage points, Bender said. Most of the mine’s production came from the Ruth and Liberty pits last year and the site just finished mining Liberty in January. “It was very successful,” Brunson said. The Ruth Pit will be the main area of mining this year. See ROBINSON, 124


Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

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Robinson Process Manager Tom Bender talks about the 2013 record recovery in Robinson’s mill.

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Robinson’s main product is copper. It produces about 100 million pounds annually, Brunson said. While gold is considered a by-product at Robinson, it does help with the bottom line since it lowers the cost to produce copper at the mine. The site produced 47,000 ounces of gold in 2013. “It actually helps to increase revenue and holds the costs stable,” Brunson said about gold at the mine. “I wouldn’t say it (the drop in gold price) hurt us, it just wasn’t as favorable as we would have liked it to have been.” While gold prices took a hit in 2013, the copper market has rebounded, he said. It came up and was in the $3.30 range in January, but had been in the $3 range for a time in 2013. Brunson said the previous drop in price did not hurt the mine since it is a low-cost production site. From Dirt to Concentrate Robinson has been owned by KGHM International since March 2012. Since it was bought by the private company out of Poland, it no longer has to report its quarterly earnings. However, the mine continues to ship its copper concentrate overseas, where most of the smelters are in the world and where most of its customers are, Brunson said. Before it can be shipped it must be changed into a copper concentrate. As material is dug out of the mine, haul trucks are monitored by dispatch, which happens to sit in the same room as the mill operators. “It makes it nice because we can ask them where the ore is coming from,” said Bob Timblin, mill operator. Robinson Chief Metallurgist Mark O’Brien said putting the dispatchers and mill


Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

The Robinson mill was down Jan. 15 while employees worked to replace the metal liners in the sag and ball mills. The liners are replaced at least once a year. Above left: The inside of the sag mill. Above right: The inside of a ball mill. At right: Employees work to hammer out the fasteners for the liner in the sag mill.

operators in the same room increased communications. “They can hear when things are happening and both groups are working together,” O’Brien said. “They can work more effectively together.” Once the material reaches the mill, it is sent through a process to become copper concentrate. Any gold recovered stays with the copper. If the material has molybdenum, it is sent through another process to separate it from the copper concentrate. The mined material is broken down by first going through a sag mill and then to two ball mills before the floatation process, O’Brien said. Robinson is not done trying to increase recovery in the mill, it will be adding to its process, Bender said. Robinson will pilot test the world’s largest floatation cell. It is made by FL Smith and is 600cubic meters. It was under construction in January and was expected to go into production in the third quarter, Bender said. See ROBINSON, 126

SPRING 2014 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS, Elko, Nevada 125


Robinson ... Continued from page 125 “It is going to be applied as a rougher scavenger,” Bender said. “We anticipate it will boost our copper recovery by 2 percent. Overall plant recovery should go up by 2 points. … We do about 100 million pounds a year here so that’s roughly 2 to 3 million pounds of copper.” So copper that is being sent to tailings will be recovered once the rougher scavenger is running. Exploration The Robinson mine is on the outskirts of Ruth and about a 10-minute drive from Ely in White Pine County. Largescale mining has been done off and on at the site since 1908 and may continue into the next decade. The mine is doing “quite a bit of exploration,” Brunson said. The life of mine is estimated to 2021 and he hopes the exploration could yield the site another 5 to 10 years. Most of the exploration is happening in Lane Valley, which is northeast of the site. It will be at least two years before the company will know any results from the exploration. Equipment and Maintenance The mine has a fleet of Caterpillar and See ROBINSON, 128 Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Above: Bob Timblin, mill operator, explains how he monitors what is happening in the mill. At right: Adam Lopez, relief dispatch, watches the screens monitoring the haul trucks. The green lines are haul roads and the brown lines are active mining areas. Below: A froth camera watches the top of a tank.

126 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014


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Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Above: John Mercado, tool and parts specialist, looks in his tool box. Above at right: Robinson Maintenance Manager Mike Wilhite talks about maintainance for Robinson’s heavy equipment.

Robinson ... Continued from page 101 Komatsu equipment, which includes 30 haul trucks that are 240-ton capacity, Brunson said. The vehicles are maintained on site, said Leatham Hendrix, operations superintendent. “The key to our success is the (preventative maintenance) bay,” said Robinson Maintenance Manager Mike Wilhite. Every 250 to 500-work hours the vehicles receive an oil change and every 10,000 to 12,000 hours the tires are changed on the haul trucks. Wilhite said maintenance also focuses on the cabs of the heavy equipment “We make sure the operators are comfortable and happy,” he said. “A happy operator keeps a better machine.” The maintenance shop is also working on a new system for jobs so “there is no wasted motion,” Wilhite said. Instead of keeping parts and tools in various drawers and shelves, the tools needed for a job would all be on one board and the parts would be on a cart. The mechanics wouldn’t have to walk all over the shop for the things they needed to complete a job, Wilhite said. The new system began in February. “Everything you need for the job is on the cart,” Wilhite said. “It will help with efficiency and time tracking of tools. Everything in its place.” Safety and Community Brunson said one of the core values of Robinson is “zero harm.” Robinson has about 600 employees and another 150 contractors on site. “I believe our work force is the best, or one of the best that I’ve been around as far as safety,” he said. “Our safety mindset is really good at Robinson. One of the phrases that is tossed around here a lot is take care of yourself and take care of your partners, and I think that’s gone a long ways to get everybody to look out for each other. I think it has turned into a culture of family where we do want to take care of each other and make sure we’re all here tomorrow to work.” The mine achieved 1 million man hours without a loss-time accident last year,

128 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

Marianne Kobak McKown/Mining Quarterly

Woodrow Thompson welds a piece of equipment in Robinson’s machine shop. Brunson said. The mindset also leads to not wanting to endanger the environment nor the surrounding community. Brunson said the site isn’t required to do anything special being close to Ely, but the employees pay specific attention to dust on the site. They don’t want dust going into the valley, Brunson said. The geography also helps to keep the blasts protected, he said. The company’s community program helps with youth group programs and nonprofits, but it is “cautious to not create a dependency,” Brunson said. “We’re pretty cognizant of that, helping the community where we can,” he said. Overall the mine has a good relationship with surrounding residents. “We employ about 10 percent of the population of Ely,” Brunson said. “The community understands us.”


MSHA: Jerritt Canyon fails to ensure employees’ safety By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining Quarterly Editor

ELKO — The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Veris Gold failed to protect employees from harm at the company’s Jerritt Canyon Mill, after issuing 61 citations and orders to the site. The U.S. Department of Labor’s MSHA announced the results of the December inspections Jan. 29. The inspectors issued 135 citations, 24 orders and one safeguard during special impact inspections conducted at 11 coal mines and two metal and nonmetal mines. The two highlighted properties in the inspection report were Jerritt Canyon and Hanover Resources LLC’s Caymus Mine in Boone County, W. Va. Caymus Mine produces coal. “These two examples clearly indicate that some mine operators still don’t get it,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “They simply failed to comply with the Mine Act and find and fix hazards to protect miners from injury, illness and death.” Veris Gold said, “Jerritt Canyon takes all citations and actions from MSHA seriously and its management has been working with them diligently to review all claims. As of January 16, 2014, all citations and actions have been either acknowledged or met. “It is important to note that the Jerritt Canyon Operations has an exemplary safety record with no fatal-

ities since it began operating in 1982. Safety is our priority, and we will continue to work with MSHA in order to continue to ensure the safety of all employees. “Recently, Veris Gold USA initiated a Safety Enhancement Program that is the personal responsibility of Graham Dickson, COO. This program will ensure that all employees remain secure at work and return home safely to their families at the end of the day.” Veris Gold could be facing thousands of dollars in fines. “Fines for a single violation can range from $112 to $242,000,” said Amy Louviere, MSHA representative. “... MSHA inspectors must issue a citation or order for each violation of a health or safety standard they observe. Each issuance entails a civil penalty. Except for ‘flagrant’ violations, these fines range from $112 to $70,000 per violation. The MINER Act established a

maximum $242,000 penalty for ‘flagrant’ violations, a minimum $5,000 and maximum $65,000 penalty for failure to notify MSHA within 15 minutes of fatal or certain life-threatening events, and minimum penalties of $2,000 and $4,000 respectively for violations caused by an unwarrantable failure to comply as described in sections 104(d)(1) and 104 (d)(2) of the Mine Act.” “Once a fine is assessed and mailed to the mine operator, the operator has 30 days to either pay or contest the violation,” Louviere said. “The appeal goes before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent agency.” Jerritt Canyon received 49 citations and 12 orders after its inspection that began on Dec. 16. Veris Gold owns the Jerritt Canyon Mill Complex, which is 50 miles north of Elko. The complex property includes three gold mines: Smith, SSX-Steer and Starvation Canyon. According to the press release, “among the hazardous conditions cited during the inspection, MSHA found that an electrician working in the crusher area had been cleaning and performing maintenance on a 480-volt fully-energized switch gear, and there were spent mercury containers found at the bottom of wet mill stairs rather than being stored in a manner that would protect miners from mercury exposure. Nearly four feet of dirt had accumulated on the left side of a conveyor belt, blocking access to the steps and catwalk used to reach See VERIS GOLD, 130

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Veris Gold ... Continued from page 129 the plant and potentially hindering escape during an emergency. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Inspectors also found: a chemical container improperly labeled; no warning signs for hazardous chemical storage; several unsecured gas cylinders; no provision for safe access in several locations; missing electrical cover plates on energized outlets; an improperly grounded cable; unlabeled breakers that exposed miners to electrical hazards; a broken ladder and insufficient illumination; failure to conduct workplace exams and air receiver tanks equipped with the wrong size pressure relief valves, creating the potential hazard of an exploding vessel.â&#x20AC;? On Dec. 19, while MSHA inspectors were still on site, an electrical explosion and subsequent fire injured two employees in the mill. The employees were injured after an arc flash and minor fire, said Shaun Heinrichs, chief financial officer for Veris Gold. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One employee was airlifted with burns and another was taken into Elko with smoke inhalation,â&#x20AC;? Heinrichs told the Free Press in December. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our thoughts are with our employees and their families. Safety is our utmost priority.â&#x20AC;? Tim Woolever, Nevada Division of Forestry chief for the northern region, responded to the scene to handle the fire. He believed at least one of the men injured was an electrician who was working on a 480-volt panel. MSHA inspected the Caymus Mine on Dec. 11 and issued 13 violations. The inspection party monitored the mineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s communication system to prevent advance notice of their arrival, and they proceeded to inspect the mineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s two working sections and a large portion of the conveyor belt. MSHA issued seven unwarrantable failure orders and six citations. This is the first impact inspection at this mine. Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 700 impact inspections and issued 11,562 citations, 1,076 orders and 49 safeguards.

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Goldcorp, Barrick selling Marigold mine for $275M By the Associated Press

Goldcorp and Barrick Gold said they are selling a jointly-owned Nevada mine to Silver Standard Resources Inc. for $275 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in April, the companies said in February. Goldcorp is the operator and owns two-thirds of the partnership that runs the Marigold mine in Humboldt County, while Barrick gold owns the other one-third. Marigold has approximately 350 employees, most of whom live in Winnemucca or Battle Mountain. In the fall of 2013, its annual mining rate was estimated at 60 million tons per year. Goldcorp CEO Chuck Jeannes said the sale is consistent with the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts to focus on core assets. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This transaction is consistent with Goldcorpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ongoing strategy of disciplined portfolio management with an emphasis on creating value for shareholders through the focus on core assets,â&#x20AC;? Jeannes said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Marigold has been an important contributor to the growth of Goldcorp and we are pleased that a company with the capabilities of Silver Standard will be taking on this operation. We will work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition.â&#x20AC;? On Jan. 13, Vancouver-based Goldcorp offered $2.4 billion for fellow Canadian gold company Osisko Mining Corp. Goldcorp is one of Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest gold producers, and buying Osisko would give it a major mine in Quebec and other assets with growth potential. Osisko has labeled Goldcorpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bid as hostile and has taken legal action accusing Goldcorp of misusing confidential information in making its offer.

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An underground truck hauls ore from the portal in August 2010 at Newmont’s Midas underground mine.

Klondex buys Midas Mine from Newmont By MARIANNE KOBAK McKOWN Mining Quarterly Editor

ELKO — Newmont Mining Corp.’s Midas Mine has a new owner — Klondex Mines Ltd. Klondex announced Feb. 11 it closed its acquisition of Midas and its ore milling facility for $83 million. The two companies entered into the agreement in December. Midas Mine is more than 90 miles northwest of Elko and about 112 miles north of Klondex’s Fire Creek Project near Crescent Valley in Lander County. Newmont acquired Midas through its merger with Normandy in 2002. “Completing this transformational and highly synergistic acquisition is very exciting for us,” Klondex President and CEO Paul Huet said. “The addition of the operating Midas mine and mill complex to our portfolio creates an enhanced platform for future growth in one of the world’s most prolific and mining-friendly jurisdictions. We believe that Fire Creek is a tremendous highgrade gold asset with substantial upside potential on its own and, through this acquisition, we have cemented a long-term milling solution, minimizing the risks associated with toll milling, and ultimately enhancing the potential for increased cash flows from our operations. We are extremely pleased to have worked with Newmont

to complete the acquisition of Midas, a mine that I, along with several others on the Klondex leadership team, operated, and look forward to a continued relationship.” Huet is part of the management team who has a connection to the mine. He was the mine manager at Midas for a number of years, Klondex representative Toni Trigiani said in December. “Paul is an old-fashioned miner guy,” Trigiani said. “He understands the geology. He thinks there may be some more opportunities at Midas. He wants to look into exploration.” Klondex plans to explore the Midas property to extend the life of the mine. “We are pleased to have reached agreement with Klondex for the sale of Midas and believe they are well positioned to continue safely and successfully operating the mine,” said Randy Engel, Newmont’s executive vice president of strategic development. “This agreement underscores our ongoing commitment to optimizing our portfolio, as we continue to focus on our longer-life and lower cost core assets.” “The purchase price comprises approximately $55 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments, and the replacement of Newmont surety arrangements with Nevada and federal regulatory authorities in the amount

of approximately $28 million. In addition, Newmont will receive 5 million common share purchase warrants of Klondex that have a 15-year term, subject to acceleration in certain circumstances, and having an exercise price to be determined on the closing date,” stated the company press release. This possible purchase is not the first dealings Klondex has had with the Midas Mine. Klondex has been shipping its mineralized material from Fire Creek to Midas since August. “We will continue to run the Midas mill at 50 percent capacity,” Trigiani said. The company hopes to have Fire Creek in full production mode in 2015, she said. The underground mine employs about 200 people, according to Newmont. Klondex was not the first company to make an offer to purchase Midas. In September, Waterton Global Resource Management Inc. made an offer for the facility. “The time period of the letter of intent expired and no further discussions occurred,” Newmont Director of External Relations Mary Korpi said. The letter of intent terminated Oct. 14.

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Geologists find natural asbestos fibers in Nevada LAS VEGAS (AP) — Removing asbestos from an old building can be hazardous and expensive. So what happens if the ground outside is covered with the stuff for miles around? That’s what a team of UNLV geologists is trying to figure out after the surprise discovery of potentially toxic, asbestos-type minerals in rocks and dust from Boulder City to the southeastern edge of the Las Vegas Valley. University of Nevada, Las Vegas geology professor Brenda Buck said this marks the first discovery of naturally occurring asbestos fibers in Southern Nevada. A peer-reviewed study detailing the find was published last month in the journal of the Soil Science Society of America. So how worried should everyone be? “At this point we know enough to know there is a hazard. We don’t know what the risk is,” Buck told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. Until we know more, it would be a good idea to avoid dust from those areas.” That could be a tall order. The study area takes in all of Boulder City and a wide swath of the Eldorado Valley, with tendrils that reach to the shore of Lake Mead and into the oldest parts of Henderson. “It’s not everywhere, but I think you’re going to have a hard time not finding it,” Buck said. “In every sample we looked at we found it. We found it pretty easily, too. I didn’t have to look very hard.” For one test, Buck spent about three hours walking her horse along a dirt road in Boulder City. When she was done, she found asbestos fibers on her pants and her shoes. “The last thing we want to do is upset people or cause a panic. But on the other side, we don’t want to give people assurances we can’t give,” said UNLV geologist Rodney Metcalf, who partnered with Buck on the study. “We can’t in good conscience say there’s no problem.” The long, thin minerals were forged roughly 13 million years ago in the roots of volcanoes, also known as plutons. “Boulder City sits on top of one of these plutons,” Metcalf said. The fibers have been weathering from the ground for the past 12 million years or so, giving them plenty of time to spread out, Buck said. She specializes in something called medical geology, basically the study of the health impacts of minerals. She was in the midst of sampling arsenic in the dust blowing from Nellis Dunes when she came across a fibrous mineral in one of her samples. She later started talking to Metcalf about the asbestos-like fibers he was studying in northwestern Arizona, and the two decided to go looking for trouble in similar rock deposits in Southern Nevada. What they mostly found was a mineral called actinolite, one of six types of asbestos regulated as a toxic substance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Buck said she notified “several people” at the EPA about her discovery. Asbestos fibers can’t be absorbed through the skin, but if inhaled or swallowed they can spawn a range of deadly diseases that might not develop for a decade or decades. The real “pathway to humans” is in the air, Metcalf said. The fibers are too tiny to be seen with the naked eye and so light that they can stay aloft indefinitely once they’ve been

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AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Steve Andrascik

UNLV science professors Brenda Buck, left, and Rodney Metcalf examine rocks for naturally occurring asbestos Dec. 21 in southeastern Boulder City, Nev. Buck is the author of a paper on the discovery of the substance in the ground around Boulder City and the southeastern edge of Las Vegas. stirred up by the wind or the tires on a vehicle. Asbestos exposure is linked to mesothelioma, cancer of the lungs, larynx and ovaries, depressed immune function, and other disorders. “There’s no known safe amount,” Buck said. “The good news is not everyone who is exposed gets sick.” Buck, Metcalf and company plan to continue their research and expand their study area under a three-year grant from the Bureau of Land Management. That work will include taking a closer look at other potential trouble spots in Clark County, most of it contained within the roughly 1,200 square miles of desert between U.S. Highway 95 and the Colorado River from Boulder City to the southern tip of the state. Buck said the bureau wants to know more about where such deposits are and what kind of risks they pose. “They’re worried about their workers,” she said. Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Hawaii are in the early stages of tests to determine how carcinogenic the fibers in Southern Nevada might be. They also plan to conduct a health assessment to see if any documented cases of mesothelioma, a rare cancer closely associated with asbestos, could be the result of “environmental exposure” in or around Boulder City, Buck said. Metcalf said asbestos is actually a loaded term, with varying definitions used by doctors, geologists and envi-

ronmental regulators. For example, he said, the fibers he has found in Mohave County, Ariz., do not meet the regulatory definition of asbestos. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe. In fact, they are similar to those found in Libby, Mont., where so much toxic soil was spread around by a nearby mine that the entire small town has been declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency. “You get this debate about is this asbestos or is it not,” Metcalf said. “It’s really not the issue. The issue is, is it toxic?” Buck grew up in Montana and has cousins who got sick and died in Libby. She said she started taking special precautions in the field after the first fibers were found around Boulder City. “As soon as I knew they were there, I sure as hell did. I wear a mask.” The discovery also forced her to revamp her lab at UNLV to make it safer. “The whole point is don’t let it get into the air. You can’t just drag it in and expose everyone to it.” For the same reason, Buck has decided not to take college students into the field with her to help collect samples as she normally would. She doesn’t want to expose them to something with the potential to shorten their lives. “They’re just so young.”


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ADVERTISERS INDEX Alphabetical 3D CONCRETE, INC .....................................................................................65 ACP EQUIPMENT .........................................................................................65 AGRU AMERICA ...........................................................................................59 AHERN RENTALS .........................................................................................81 ALBARRIE ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES .............................................53 ALS LABORATORY GROUP .....................................................................107 AMEC ENVIRONMENT & INFRASTRUCTURE ..................................107 AMERCABLE ................................................................................................113 AMERICAN STAFFING, INC.....................................................................102 ARCADIS US, INC .........................................................................................78 ARNOLD MACHINERY .............................................................................100 ASGCO MANUFACTURING INC ..............................................................31 ATLAS COPCO .............................................................................................127 AZTEC COATINGS .....................................................................................118 BARRICK ...........................................................................................................3 BEL-RAY ............................................................................................................7 BLACK ROCK DRILLING ............................................................................16 BLAINE EQUIPMENT COMPANY, INC. ..................................................73 BOART LONGYEAR DRILLING SERVICE...............................Back Cover BOOT BARN, INC............................................................................................9 BOSS TANKS ...................................................................................................23 BRIDGESTONE ................................................................................................5 BRUNNER & LAY ..........................................................................................50 CANDACE KELLY/BAWCOM REAL ESTATE .........................................65 CARIBOU INC................................................................................................92 CARLIN TREND ..........................................................................................102 CARMAC INC...................................................................................................6 CAROL BUCKNER/COLDWELL BANKER ................................................6 CARWIL, LLC..................................................................................................25 CASHMAN EQUIPMENT ............................................................................17 CASHMAN EQUIPMENT ..........................................................................136 CATE INDUSTRIAL ......................................................................................38 CATE NEVADA ..............................................................................................84 CDC RESTORATION & CONSTRUCTION .............................................51 CEMENTATION USA INC. ..........................................................................61 CHEMTREAT..................................................................................................42 CLEAN HARBORS ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES ...............................40 COACH USA / ELKO INC ....................................................... Center Spread COMPRESSOR PUMP & SERVICE, INC ...................................................60 CONNORS DRILLING ..................................................................................40 CRAWFORD DOOR SALES .........................................................................13 DMC MINING SERVICES ............................................................................22 ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS COMMERCIAL PRINT ................................95 134 MINING QUARTERLY, Elko, Nevada SPRING 2014

ELKO CONVENTION AND VISITORS AUTHORITY .............................5 ELKO OVERHEAD DOOR COMPANY ..................................................102 ELKO TOOL AND FASTENER ....................................................................87 ELKO WIRE ROPE & MINING SUPPLY ......................Inside Front Cover ELKO WIRE ROPE & MINING SUPPLY ...................................................32 ELKO WOMENS HEALTH CENTER .........................................................77 ENVIROSCIENTISTS, INC...........................................................................23 EQUIVALENT CONTROLS CORPORATION .........................................74 EQUIVALENT CONTROLS CORPORATION .......................................130 EQUIVALENT CONTROLS CORPORATION .........................................10 ESCO SUPPLY .................................................................................................18 EST COMPANIES .........................................................................................103 FABENCO, INC ...............................................................................................99 FAIRMONT SUPPLY ...................................................................................116 FLOW CONTROL EQUIPMENT ................................................................58 FORD STEEL ...................................................................................................58 FORDIA USA ..................................................................................................71 GENERAL MOLY, INC. .................................................................................28 GHX INDUSTRIAL ........................................................................................62 GRANITE CONSTRUCTION CO. ..............................................................27 GRAYMONT WESTERN ..............................................................................46 GREAT BASIN INDUSTRIAL ......................................................................46 HANLON ENGINEERING .........................................................................118 HARD ROK EQUIPMENT, INC ..................................................................71 HEDWELD USA .............................................................................................43 HIGH MARK CONSTRUCTION ................................................................45 HYCROFT RESOURCES & DEVELOPMENT ..........................................74 IMPACT SAND & GRAVEL .......................................................................129 INTEC VIDEO ................................................................................................89 INTEGRATED POWER SERVICES, LLC ...................................................86 INTERMOUNTAIN DRILLING SUPPLY ..................................................88 J.S. REDPATH CORPORATION ..................................................................91 JBR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS................................................26 JCR DEVELOPMENT ........................................................ Inside Back Cover JCR DEVELOPMENT ....................................................................................97 JENNMAR CORP............................................................................................67 JENTECH DRILLING SUPPLY ...................................................................19 KEJR, INC GEOPROBE SYSTEMS ......................................... Center Spread KNIGHT PIESOLD AND CO. ......................................................................51 KOMATSU EQUIPMENT COMPANY ......................................................52 LEDCOR ..........................................................................................................21 LEGARZA EXPLORATION..........................................................................35 LES SCHWAB ..................................................................................................28


ADVERTISERS INDEX Alphabetical LIEBHERR MINING EQUIPMENT............................................................11 LOGAN CORPORATION .............................................................................11 MAP SCIENCE CORP ...................................................................................12 MINING & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES .............................................12 MYRNAS HOT SHOT ...................................................................................16 NA DEGERSTROM ........................................................................................20 NEFF’S DIESEL ...............................................................................................56 NEWMONT.....................................................................................................10 NORTHERN NEVADA EQUIPMENT .....................................................117 NORTHERN NEVADA EQUIPMENT .......................................................29 OAK TREE INN ................................................................................................6 ORMAZA CONSTRUCTION ......................................................................68 P&H MINE PRO SERVICE/JOY GLOBAL ............................ Center Spread PAC-VAN .........................................................................................................33 PLUMB LINE MECHANICAL .....................................................................26 PLUMB LINE MECHANICAL .....................................................................84 POLELINE CONTRACTORS .......................................................................31 Q & D CONSTRUCTION .............................................................................37 RAM ENTERPRISE INC ...............................................................................30 RAPID TRANSPORT, LLC ............................................................................41 RENO FORKLIFT .........................................................................................129 ROCKMORE INTERNATIONAL ................................................................61 ROSS EQUIPMENT .......................................................................................44 ROUND MOUNTAIN GOLD CORP...........................................................36 RUD-CHAIN, INC.-ERLAU .........................................................................47 S&G ELECTRIC MOTOR REPAIR ..............................................................44 SACRISON ENGINEERING.........................................................................41 SAN JUAN DRILLING...................................................................................47 SAS GLOBAL MINING CORP ...................................................................121 SCOTTS MARKET LLC ................................................................................16 SGS MINERALS ..............................................................................................39 SIERRA FREIGHTLINER..............................................................................33 SIMPLEX GRINNELL ....................................................................................54 SMALL MINE DEVELOPMENT LLC ......................................................111 SOUTHWEST GAS ........................................................................................15 SNYDER MECHANICAL..............................................................................77 SPRUNG INSTANT STRUCTURES ............................................................72 SRK CONSULTING......................................................................................130 STRATA WORLD WIDE .......................................................... Center Spread SUMMIT ENGINEERING ............................................................................79 SWCA ENVIROMENTAL CONSULTANTS ...........................................119 T.F. HUDGINS, INC .....................................................................................109 TASTE OF HOME COOKING SCHOOL .................................................110

TAYLOR MADE IRON SERVICES ..............................................................79 TECH-FLOW ................................................................................................124 TETRA TECH, INC ......................................................................................109 TMEIC ............................................................................................................123 TONATEC EXPLORATION, LLC ................................................................80 TOWNEPLACE SUITES BY MARRIOTT..................................................85 TRAYLOR BROS., INC.................................................................................115 VICTAULIC ...................................................................................................105 VOGUE DRY CLEANERS.............................................................................41 WALLACE MORRIS SURVEYING ..............................................................10 WALLACE MORRIS SURVEYING ............................................................130 WALLACE MORRIS SURVEYING ..............................................................74 WELSH HAGEN ASSOCIATES ...................................................................76 WOMACK......................................................................................................120 WORLDWIDE RENTAL SERVICES ...........................................................66 YANKE MACHINE SHOP ............................................................................76

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Mining Quarterly spring 2014 edition