Since first moving to Reno in 1979, I have been a loyal member of the Geological Society of Nevada, which remains a constant source of timely technical information, and also of community. Last year, I decided it was time to give back to the organization that has kept me informed and connected to the Nevada mining community for three decades, no matter where in the world I happened to be working. As many GSN members may already know, I volunteered to be Chairman for the GSN 2010 Symposium. Joined by a dedicated group of volunteers, we plan to present another high-quality Symposium in May, 2010.
I earned my B.S. in Geology from Eastern Washington University in 1978. Our Field Camp in the Muddy Mountains of southern Nevada introduced me to the geology, climate, and people (or lack thereof) of the Great Basin of Nevada. I looked for a job in Reno after graduation, and moved here in 1979 to work for Bendix on the National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) program.
Following the dramatic decline of the uranium price in 1980, I began working in gold exploration and started post-graduate studies at the Mackay School of Mines. With the support of Dome Mines and Amax Inc., I completed my M.S. in Geology. My thesis focused on a gold prospect in the Palmetto Mountains, south of Silver Peak, Nevada. I then continued doing grass-roots exploration in Nevada, with Keradamex/Minnova. My exploration area focused primarily on volcanic- and sediment-hosted gold and silver deposits in the Walker Lane and adjacent parts of central Nevada.
In 1989, I took a job with Amax Gold, Inc. evaluating and generating U.S. gold properties for acquisition. During this time, I also managed the geologic evaluation of the Pre-Feasibility Study on the Bodie Property, California. Amax transferred me to the Denver office in 1991 to continue U.S. acquisitions and some international project work (Guanaco, Chile). Soon after the acquisition of the Haile Project, I moved to South Carolina to manage that exploration program. After the completion of the Pre-Feasibility study at Haile, in 1994, Cyprus bought Amax Gold and I decided to resign and expand my experience into other countries and geologic environments.
In 1995 I took a position with a consulting group and spent several months in Kyrgyzstan evaluating precious metal properties for a Kyrgyz company. The area I worked in the Tien Shen Mountains was very similar in geology and metallogeny to Nevada. A few months of working on geologic interpretations of coal deposits convinced me to return to precious metals exploration and I decided to begin working as an independent consulting geologist. Over the next couple of years I consulted for several junior mining companies. My work included six months conducting exploration at the Refugio Mine, Chile, six months in Ecuador evaluating properties in Nambija and Macuchi; and property evaluation in the Fresnillo District, Mexico.
During the downturn in the mining industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I completed an MBA at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, while caring for my aging parents. I was able to focus most of my class work and independent study projects on aspects of the mining industry, which made it more interesting than simply learning finance, accounting, marketing, and production.
In 2005, I returned to Nevada, and have since been consulting for several junior exploration companies. I am currently exploring for tabular and roll front uranium deposits in the Colorado Plateau of Utah and Colorado. Over the last few years, uranium exploration has also taken me to New Mexico and back here to Nevada. Additionally, I continue to be involved in precious metals exploration and evaluation in Nevada and Utah.
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