ELKO – Local mining companies conducted moments of silence to remember the victims and survivors of Sunday’s country music concert shooting in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of at least 59 concert-goers and injured more than 500.

Employees of Newmont Mining Corp. gathered at noon on Oct. 5 for a moment of silence and a balloon release, and Barrick Gold Corp. coordinated a two-minute stand-down of equipment and mill operations on Oct. 4.

Both mining companies announced the ceremonies through internal communications to their employees.

The ceremony by Newmont was “to honor those affected by the tragic event that occurred this past Sunday at a Las Vegas concert,” said Natacia Eldridge, external relations representative.

About 55 people assembled at Newmont’s Elko office to remember the victims and to release orange balloons representing the victims of the shooting.

Richard Martinez, regional vice president of human resources, addressed the crowd and expressed his condolences to the victims.

After the moment of silence, Newmont employee Roger MacGregor played “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes.

The balloon release was suggested by Newmont employees who attended Sunday’s concert, Martinez said, and was “a gesture of remembrance of the death that occurred and to say thank you to everybody for their heroic efforts.”

It also was “to say thank you for our employees who are back with us,” Martinez said.

Barrick, which has an office in Henderson, organized an equipment shutdown for two minutes Wednesday at noon with administrative staff gathered at all sites in Nevada, said Leslie Maple, manager of communications.

Curtis Cadwell, general operations manager of Barrick Nevada, delivered a message via radio to all sites on an “all call.” It signaled equipment to stop and clutch out the mills for the two minutes of silence.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, those who have been injured, the first responders, and all those impacted by this tragic and senseless event,” Cadwell said.

One Barrick employee from the Henderson office attended the concert and was treated and released for a minor injury, Maple said, adding that some employees of the Henderson office knew those affected by the shooting, and counselors were provided for Henderson-based employees.

The tragedy in Las Vegas is being reported as the worst mass shooting in 68 years and comes more than a year after a man opened fire in an Orlando nightclub, killing 49.

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