Mines Dig Deep for College
Barrick North America and Newmont Mining Corp., two titans in the worldwide gold mine industry, have teamed up to ensure northeastern Nevada’s No. 1 industry will have the skilled workers it needs to sustain itself for many years to come.
And they aren’t alone, but more help is needed.
The partnership was formally recognized Wednesday at Great Basin College where Brant Hinze of Newmont and Be-Be Adams of Barrick presented the college with two $100,000 checks, money that will help fund the Electrical and Industrial Technology building at the college. And while Barrick and Newmont led the charge with the largest contributions, other businesses also contributed sizable donations to the effort.
Sierra Pacific Power, for example, will provide an in-kind contribution and will design, provide materials for and build a $300,000, 30-kilowatt photovoltaic system. Queenstake Resources has pledged $25,000, Cashman Equipment, $5,000, and Kevin Doerr of I&E Electric pledged $2,000 and committed to raise more funds through others involved in his industry. Cate Nevada and High Desert Supply have also made financial commitments.
”We are incredibly excited, and humbled, by the collaborative efforts we celebrate today,” said John Patrick Rice, director of institutional advancement and the executive director of the Great Basin College Foundation. ”The two largest competitors on the Carlin Trend, in fact two giants of a highly competitive industry, have set aside their rivalries in order to increase the value of living in rural Nevada.”
Wednesday’s reception and check presentation comes on the heels of a letter cowritten by the two companies asking other members of the mining industry to support the Foundation’s Campaign for Rural Nevada. In a nutshell, Great Basin College needs to raise $500,000 to completely fund the project. The Nevada Higher Education System has committed the bulk of the funding.
Hinze, Newmont Mining Corporation’s vice president of North America operations, quipped, ”Once the new building is built I think we’ll be able to do what many people can’t do with their garage … and that’s actually get a vehicle in it.” After the laughter subsided Hinze took on a more serious tone, saying, ”Newmont focuses on education and health (when we get involved with a community). When we do that at some of our overseas sites we’re contributing to some very basic needs.
”It’s gratifying to see, in a wealthy nation like the United States, that we still focus on education and health, but the opportunity to do so is in higher education.”
The Electrical and Industrial Technology building, he said, will provide a ”huge benefit” to the local industry. ”Thank you for the opportunity to contribute, we hope to do so in the future,” concluded Hinze.
Barrick’s Adams said the contribution was ”one of those things we like to do in a community,” and that it has been ”wonderful to watch all of this come together.”
After eight years on the legislative agenda the building finally won approval in 2005. The $15.1 million, 38,000 square-foot building received its primary funding through the Legislature, $14.6 million, the remainder must be raised locally.
Rice said building could begin as early as July and the school could open to students in the fall of 2007”” an admittedly aggressive construction schedule, he said. Businesses interested in making a contribution (no amount is too small) are encouraged to call the Foundation at 753-2246.