This June, people from all over the world will gather in northeastern Nevada for the 34th annual Elko Mining Expo. This popular event provides an excellent opportunity to network and share best practices. It is also an excellent reminder that a large and diverse group of businesses provide critical support before, during, and after mine production. Mining operations and mining vendors together comprise a global and comprehensive industry supply chain.
Nevada mines operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and are staffed by highly skilled, highly trained employees who keep these complex facilities functioning at a high level.
Complex jobs come with complex problems, however. When issues do arise, solutions typically involve more than a trip to the nearest home improvement store. Many times, these challenges can be addressed only with a specific piece of equipment or the skill set of a specialized professional.
That’s where the supply chain comes into play.
Mining vendors, whether multinational corporations or sole proprietor specialists, are critical to the continued operation of a mine. They are also engaged in exploration, mine planning, construction, processing, reclamation, and closure. From the moment of first discovery to the moment of final depletion, many links along the mining supply chain are involved in a variety of ways. In the process, mining vendors are often the source of new technologies and improved systems that allow mines to continue extracting ore for a much longer period of time than at any previous point in mining history. A longer production time is certainly a benefit to nearby mining communities.
Thousands of Nevadans are currently employed throughout the mining supply chain, living and working in all of Nevada’s 17 counties. Many hundreds more consistently and frequently travel into Nevada from out of state and out of the country to do business with the Silver State’s original STEM industry.
The significance of the supply chain is reflected in the Nevada Mining Association’s own history. Founded as the Nevada Mine Operators Association in 1913, the Association expanded its membership to the vendor community in 1953 and changed its name to reflect the larger universe of mining-related businesses. The decision reflected an industry increasingly reliant on the services provided by non-operators and on a wide variety of mine equipment. It also reflected the growing complexity of the mining industry as a whole.
Today, nearly 400 members of the Nevada Mining Association (NvMA) are companies that provide goods or services needed by mine operators. These companies range in size from multi-located businesses headquartered in the nation’s largest cities to mom-and-pop shops in Nevada’s small mining towns. Most are located here in Nevada, but many of our members are located in nearby states. Some are located in other parts of the world. All of them recognize the economic opportunity available in Nevada and the importance of the NvMA to their success.
A major focus for NvMA is to create networking opportunities for vendor members to meet and do business with mine operators and — perhaps just as important — with each other. Today’s NvMA member roster reflects on just how many links are now part of the mining supply chain. Our members include companies selling 400-ton equipment, sole proprietor geologists, law firms, and even golf courses and hotels. Mining is woven throughout Nevada’s economy, which is reflected in the diverse membership of NvMA.
Every June, the Elko Mining Expo is the best place in the West to meet those companies, and I am grateful to the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority for consistently providing a robust Expo experience. If you are attending this year’s Expo (and why wouldn’t you be?), please be sure to stop by NvMA’s booth to say hello. The NvMA staff is looking forward to greeting old friends, meeting new members, and continuing to strengthen Nevada’s mining supply chain.