Senior Geologist Reno, Nevada Kinross Gold Corporation
I didn’t stand a chance, it was in the blood. While growing up, I was told that my Great Great Grandfather Tregaskis had sailed around the Horn in 1849 to get to the California Mother Lode Country to make his fortune (his wife walked with a wagon train). At that point, I knew I’d caught the first bit of gold fever.
When my Maternal Grandfather took me out gold panning on his Depression Era placer claim in the Klamath Mountains when I was eight, he salted my pan with some monster gold nuggets and then I was really hooked. From there on it was rocks on a board and smoking volcanoes for Science Fairs and eventually to Oregon State University in 1971. At OSU, I had the great fortune to have Dr. Cyrus W. Field as a senior advisor and had the opportunity to take his Graduate Economic Geology series which were superb. The summers allowed opportunities to work for the OSU Marine Geology Department and Homestake and Bear Creek Mining Companies and to really learn about exploration.
In 1975 I headed east to Penn State where I was going to make my mark getting a Ph.D. in the geochemistry of the genesis of ore deposits with some of the legends like Barnes, Burnham, and Ohmoto. It was a great learning experience, but one thing I learned was that I wasn’t a research geochemist and I opted for a Master's working for Dr. Art Rose on a geological and geochemical exploration research project. During this period I took a couple of breaks to work for Exxon and Noranda in Washington, Idaho, and Montana searching for porphyries and massive sulfide deposits and enjoying the business.
After completing the MS degree, I took a bit of a walk-about through Yugoslavia where my PSU office mate was a Professor and had arranged tours of various base metal and uranium projects with the Yugoslav Geological Survey and then through Greece and Western Europe learning to live large on $10 a day.
After returning to the real world, I took a position with Bear Creek Mining in Spokane searching for shale-hosted Pb-Zn-Ag deposits in Washington and Idaho and headed south to Nevada just as St. Helens blew. Nevada turned out to be such a great place to work that I joined forces with two other geologists and we started up the US side of Garratt Geoservices Consulting and Wescord Exploration as a property holding company. We started out in Ely and hired most of Fort Lewis’s 1981 graduating geologists as our field crews and hit the ground running doing project management and regional exploration in the Western US and BC. After a couple of great years, we hit a down-cycle in the industry and dispersed the group, and I went into solo consulting.
The consulting life can be great if you can save up enough through the good times to weather out the bad. You get to see a lot of new places, eat unusual foods, learn a lot about geology and people and hope that your spouse is patient and understanding. The consulting years transitioned into a position with Lacana/Corona Gold with the heady days of Hemlo and Eskay Creek followed by the assimilation by Homestake. As the challenging 90s progressed, I had the opportunity to work on advanced development projects like San Cristobal, Bolivia and Getchell-Turquoise Ridge, Nevada. A brief hiatus into the Asbestos and Mold remediation world in 2000 showed me ―the light ― and when a contract with Placer Dome was offered I jumped at the chance. The contract with Placer continued through to the Barrick buyout and at that time I took a position with a junior miner, Bullion River Gold, where I learned more about the difficulties of mining in California than I’d ever wanted to know. I accepted my position with Kinross Gold in 2007 as the Nevada Exploration Project geologist and have been enjoying the Company and the great team of people ever since. Life is Good.
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