Consulting Geologist, Mineral Exploration Services
Aside from collecting rocks as a kid, my first experiences in geology came from exploring old mines in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah as a boy scout. The curiosity continued into an obsession as I began the search for gold during high school and college. Unfortunately, the mountains and streams of Utah were pretty bleak for placer gold. I soon began the search for more prosperous places like Idaho, Nevada and Arizona.
I graduated from the University of Utah in 1990 with a B.S. in Geology and a B.A. in Spanish. Soon aftergraduating, I was offered a job with North American Exploration in Kaysville, Utah. Soil sampling and claim staking sounded much better than digging ditches on the family farm. I accepted the job and soon found myself digging holes and packing dirt all over Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Geochemical sampling wasn‘t a whole lot better than farming but the scenery was much better. Soon I found myself traveling all over the west and loving every minute of it. Oh for the old days of working months at a time in the field, only to return to stacks of per diem and paychecks! Much of my time was spent in Idaho for Cominco sampling over 3000 square miles of the Yellow Jacket Formation for base metals. I was also able to spend many months in Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Elko and Eureka, sampling many of the old Santa Fe properties that later became Newmont mines.
After a couple of years working in the western U.S., I consulted for FMC Gold in Mexico. Mexico was a wonderful experience with most of my time spent doing reconnaissance work and project development. I was able to work one on one with some of the great geologist in the business such as Rod Asher, Boise Hall and many others. During this time I also became acquainted with Scott Werschky. I soon began buying and swapping mineral specimens with Scott, which has become a lifetime addiction. Several years later,Scott and I formed a business called Miner‘s Lunchbox to sell minerals. I have had the privilege of traveling all over the world seeking great mineral specimens, including trips to Australia, South America, Africa and Europe. Although I am no longer a partner in Miner‘s Lunchbox, I still enjoy collecting and selling minerals and swapping with Scott and other local collectors.
After two years working in Mexico, I got married. Wanting to stay closer to home, I took a consulting job at Kennecott‘s Bingham Canyon Operation. After a year doing environmental hydrology work at Kennecott, I was asked to take over CGS Inc in Reno. My wife and I moved to Reno in 1995 and we both ran the retail store and catalog business at CGS. In 1998 we left CGS and started our own consulting business, Mineral Exploration Services, along with partner Orson Tingey. With Mineral Exploration Services, we have focused on serving mining companies with short term geological contract work such as claim staking, GPS surveys and geochemical sampling. We have also managed exploration programs throughout the west as well as in Alaska and Mexico. Eleven years later, I am still running Mineral Exploration Services. Orson has since left and joined Barrick Gold in Elko as a Landman.
My wife and I have been very blessed living in Reno, with two great kids (Ryan and Adam), great friends, and wonderful business associates, many of whom are GSN members.
John Winton Erwin*
Erin L. Hart
Greg T. Hill
Joseph Kizis, Jr
Brooke J Miller
Justin and Ajeet Milliard
Mia (Cowgill) O'Neal
Shea Clark Smith
Roger C Steininger