Inspirational women from Nevada Part 4

Published: 23/07/2014

Lynnette Kleinsasser Swaps Studies for Nevada Mining Career with Barrick Gold Corporation

The mining industry in Nevada is one that relies on a broad range of talents possessed by a wide variety of individuals, but their efforts are not all within the mine itself. In fact, much of the work that goes into unearthing the valuable resources we use every day takes place before any actual mineral extraction can begin. One crucial step in the process is locating and mapping these precious minerals far beneath the earth’s surface in the first place.

In this edition of our ‘Meet Your Miners’ series, we learn yet another side of mining from Lynette Kleinsasser, senior resource geologist for Barrick Gold Corporation.

As senior resource geologist, Kleinsasser spends most of her days around the computer. But the importance of what she does at that computer cannot be understated. Kleinsasser spends her days at the Cortez Gold Mine making computer models of below-ground ore deposits.

“Basically, it’s my job to figure out how much gold is in the ground and then we give our models to the mining engineers, and they figure out how much we can mine economically.”

Mine operations throughout history are commonly known for being the foundations of entire towns. But thanks to the use of incredible technology that continues to allow the mining industry to progress, these towns are not being built on a hunch. Kleinsasser plays an integral role in the decision-making that helps to ensure economic responsibility and sustainability within mine operations.

Now an avid outdoorswoman and soon-to-be-first-time homeowner, Kleinsasser didn’t always have a vision of going down this career path, however. She received her Bachelors of Science in Geology and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but it was while earning her Masters of Science in Geoscience from the University of Arizona that she was introduced to the mining industry.

“Although I was studying a different branch of geology, I had friends studying economic geology and planned on going into [mining],” said Kleinsasser. “I tagged along on a few field trips and short courses and realized that studying ore deposits is both interesting and offers a solid career path.”

Kleinsasser clearly plays a very important role in the decision-making process at the Cortez Gold Mine. And while she may use some incredible technology to see far beneath the surface of the earth, it’s what she is able to do above ground that makes the job as enjoyable to her as anything.

“The qualities I try to bring to my job every day include thoroughness, honesty, inquisitiveness and a drive to make things better. I have the freedom to investigate on my own if I spot an opportunity to improve how we do things. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have and appreciate working for a company that is willing to develop its employees.”

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Chief Planning Engineer Katie Marten Never Planned on Career in Nevada Mining

When people talk about an industry as large as mining, one subject that sometimes gets lost in the complexity of describing a mining operation is the variety of jobs within any given mine site. The number of Americans employed by the mining industry and mining-related vendors and services is astounding, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that these jobs belong to individuals with compelling backgrounds.

In this installment of our ‘Meet Your Miners’ series, we turn our focus to Katie Marten of Barrick Gold Corporation.

Marten began working for a consulting firm out of Denver after graduating from Michigan Technological University. Her introduction to the industry came by chance as much of the consulting work she did was for mining companies.

“The work exposed me to permitting and mine regulations as well as design work for tailings dams, heap leach pads and the like,” said Marten. “I actually intended on going to school for chemical engineering. I went to school thinking I would get my first year worth of classes out of the way then transfer over, but I never made the switch. I was hooked and never looked back!”

Marten, with Barrick Gold Corporation for seven years now, is the chief planning engineer for the Goldstrike open-pit mine in Elko, Nev. She oversees all long-range planners, dump planners and short-range planners as well as the survey crew. An ever-changing adventure, Marten’s profession requires her to constantly analyze current mine conditions in order to determine the most economic mining sequence, fine-tuning the process as it progresses. Marten’s preparedness is essential in helping ensure safe execution of the mining plan.

“I think there is importance in chasing down potential problems [to] start exploring alternatives even if they end up not coming to fruition. Better to have a lifeboat than to depend on your ability to tread water when the flood comes.”

The irony isn’t lost that someone with the job title ‘Chief Planner’ never could have anticipated her current career path. “I never had the clearest picture of where I would end up in life as I was growing up, and I am pretty sure that this career was never on my radar! I wouldn’t trade these experiences for the world though. My experiences here have broadened my worldview so much.”

This entry was posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014

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 Autumn Johansen from Newmont Mining Corporation

This month, we are launching a new blog and social media series titled “Meet Your Miners” to introduce our readers to some of the wonderful people who fuel this unique industry throughout Nevada. Our hope is to uncover some great stories to share with all of you in the coming months, and we look forward to showcasing our amazing miners.

While the mining industry has broadened in recent years, it is still commonly thought of as an “old boys club.” Modern mining, however, has been rapidly working to throw that notion to the wayside. Since the 1970s, the number of positions held by women in mining has increased more than 20 percent. Women such as Autumn Johansen, Newmont Mining Corporation’s Instrumentation Tech I, have entered the mining industry for new opportunities and career advancement.

Johansen has worked for Newmont Mining Corporation for more than two years. Before joining Newmont, Johansen owned a dance studio that closed due to the unfortunate turn in economy. As a single mother of three children, she needed to ensure her career provided for her family. This need is what led her to mining, where the salaries are the highest average annual wages in the state and full-time employees receive tremendous health benefits for them and their families.

When Johansen came across Newmont Mining Corporation, she was presented with an opportunity to hold a stable career that also offered room for growth. By her own admission, she is constantly challenged and loves the security of knowing she has entered a compelling career field. While her background is not in instrumentation, Newmont’s scholarship program opened the doors for her to gain the education and expertise needed to excel, and she also wants other women to know what a great career mining provides.

“I’d like to be someone who other women can look to for encouragement when it comes to bettering their family’s financial situation,” she said. “I often do get questioned about how I handle working at a gold mine in a male dominated industry. I explain that I work with professional people who possess a strong desire to work safely because they also have families they want to go home to.”