After meeting the challenges of an increased workload when Nevada Gold Mines took over the giant central warehouse in Elko that once belonged to Newmont Corp., employees are efficiently handling supplies for all the NGM locations.
“Essentially, we doubled the load,” said Steven Young, the Elko warehouse manager who has been at the site since the giant facility opened in 2008. “If it is consumed at a mine, it comes through the warehouse.”
He said the warehouse had 48 employees when the conversion to NGM took place, and only four more people were hired “to handle double the demand. There are still 52 to this day. Deliveries increased as well, from 35 to 60 inbound freight a day.”
The 60 deliveries are to bring goods into the warehouse, and the warehouse crews in turn schedule 13 deliveries a day to NGM mines, but trucking contractors handle deliveries to the NGM sites.
Newmont and Barrick Gold Corp. formed the NGM joint venture on July 1, 2019, with Barrick owning 61.5% and Newmont, 38.5%. All the mines that the two companies owned in Nevada were combined for the joint venture.
The warehouse operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Young said the warehouse “hasn’t been closed since I’ve been here, not one day.”
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The building is 124,000 square feet, and there is another 60,000 square feet of yard space.
Ken Andress, NGM’s inventory control manager and a longtime Newmont employee before the joint venture, said the warehouse allows NGM to buy supplies in larger quantities, saving the company money. “Yes, NGM is happy,” he said.
Supplies “from O-rings to gloves” coming to the warehouse are based on consumption at the mines.
Young said another benefit of the warehouse and its delivery system is that it reduces the traffic on the highways and remote roads to mine sites, where suppliers otherwise would be arriving from many different companies.
The warehouse was built to supply all Newmont operations but was operated by Cat Logistics until 2012, and then by Neoria Logistics until 2014, when Newmont took over operations. Now, Barrick is over the warehouse as the NGM operator.
Although the joint venture was official July 1, the warehouse changeover was in October 2019, and one of the first challenges was that each company had different computer programs. Both systems had to be put in place at the warehouse to process legacy materials from each company’s mines before the joint venture.
Then, in October 2020, the warehouse merged both systems into a new operating system, and “a lot of work went into that,” Young said, but there are benefits, such as barcoding and scanning that have increased productivity.
“When material comes in, we feed it into our system and apply barcoding,” he said.
There are 34,000 locations within the building with eight substations and numbered aisles, and Young said the warehouse is typically at 75% capacity.
“We have the bin sequences set. It’s pretty user friendly, and pretty easy to find your way around,” he said.
The facility has forklifts to handle up to 30,000 pounds, stand-up forklifts for the racks of supplies and cherry pickers, and Young said the warehouse has a catalog of materials so mines can check what is available on the shelves and place orders by computer.
Orders are packed at the warehouse, mainly in large totes.
The warehouse handles goods from gloves, safety glasses and toilet paper, to water pumps and parts for haul trucks and including the personal protective equipment for COVID-19.
The facility is next door to Cashman Equipment’s warehouse on Ruby Vista Drive in Elko, and Young said they have a “neighborly relationship, and they are one of our largest suppliers.” There is a door between the NGM warehouse and the Cashman supply warehouse.
Hunter Guyer, the inbound supervisor at the warehouse, said in early August he likes working at the warehouse, where “there is always something different to keep it exciting here.”
He said the warehouse has a “great safety culture and has gone 1,409 days without a reportable incident.”
Young said staffing is not a problem at the warehouse, and there were no job openings in early August.
“It’s a great place to learn activities from a procurement standpoint,” he said.
NGM operates the Long Canyon Mine between Wells and West Wendover, the Carlin complex of underground and surface mines, the Cortez complex of surface and underground mines, the Phoenix Mine south of Battle Mountain and the Turquoise Ridge underground and surface operations that include Twin Creeks in Humboldt County. The joint venture also has a large office building in Elko. ￼