A partnership between the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno and Newmont Goldcorp is marking its golden anniversary of helping students, the Mackay School, the mining industry and Newmont recruitment all these years.
“Both Newmont and Mackay get something out of the partnership,” said Melissa Harmon, general manager of Newmont’s Twin Creeks Mine in Humboldt County.
Newmont has donated an estimated $8 million to the Mackay School and UNR since 1969, Harmon said. Newmont also was the first mining company to reach the philanthropist level in 2011 for giving $5 million to the university.
Jeffrey Thompson, dean of UNR’s College of Science, said Newmont’s donations have “given us a fantastic opportunity,” but there is more than money involved. “It’s almost like being in a family. The intellectual collaboration and friendship are at least as important. They are more than donors. It’s a partnership and has been absolutely remarkable.”
Mark Evatz, general manager of Newmont’s Phoenix Mine south of Battle Mountain, said Newmont’s student recruitment starts in advance of graduation, and Newmont has a “robust internship program so we start to get to know these students. It’s on-the-job training for them, and we get to do a long interview with them. That’s a win-win scenario.”
What Mackay students experience working with Newmont Goldcorp “adds to their professionalism. It’s invaluable to us,” Thompson said.
The Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering marked the 50th anniversary with special recognition of Newmont at the school’s banquet in early May, and Harmon was on the stage to receive a framed photo of the Mackay School.
At the banquet, Mackay School outlined the company’s support that included help in 2018 with a $50,000 renovation of the school’s ventilation laboratory. The lab has been renamed the Newmont Ventilation Laboratory, which is geared to teaching students about ventilating underground mines.
Charles Kocsis, an associate professor in mine engineering at the Mackay School, said in a video Newmont Goldcorp made for the 50th anniversary that the lab “is possibly the best in North America.”
Newmont donations additionally helped to renovate the Arentz Student Center and the Rock Mechanics Laboratory, as well as supporting scholarships, assistantships, travel assistance and classroom improvements, according to a statement read at the May 3 banquet.
The mining company also provides mine tours for Mackay students, stages mock interviews for students looking to work in the mining industry and provides internships for students, Harmon said. In turn, Newmont partners with professors to make sure curriculum matches what the industry needs.
“The Mackay School has a very strong, robust program,” Thompson said.
UNR was graduating about 20 students in mining and metallurgy in May, about 15 geological engineers and another 30 or so geologists, and “almost all are going into mining professions,” he said. “The mines recruit.”
Thompson and Mackay School alumni Harmon and Evatz spoke to the Mining Quarterly in a joint conference call. Evatz has been Newmont’s executive sponsor for the Mackay School partnership but handed the role over to Harmon. Both serve on the school’s executive advisory board as well.
Harmon and Evatz acknowledged that there may be changes in the donor structure because Newmont Goldcorp and Barrick Gold Corp. are finalizing a joint venture for Nevada properties called Nevada Gold Mines.
“We’re still evaluating what the JV means. Certainly, Newmont will continue to support the school,” Harmon said.
Evatz said even with the JV, the mines will need the talent coming out of Mackay School.
“Newmont will continue to recognize that and support Mackay,” he said. “I can’t speak for the joint venture, but Barrick and Newmont always need new talent. The pipeline has to be loaded at the front line.”
Evan Klause, an engineer at Twin Creeks who graduated from UNR last spring, said the company’s partnership with Mackay School was important to him. He said the field trips were “very helpful” when he was a freshman, and he learned more about mining as a Newmont intern.
Klause is featured in the anniversary video Newmont.