Recently in Nevada, a group of 44 industry, governmental and academic geologists visited Newmont’s Long Canyon Project as a part of the 2015 Geological Society of Nevada (GSN) Symposium.
Participants from the 2015 GSN Symposium gather in front of an outcrop of exposed mineralized rock on the eastern slope of the Pequop Mountains in eastern Elko County during a recent tour of Long Canyon. This geologic feature is part of the lower ore zone in the Long Canyon deposit.
When the last symposium was held in 2010, Long Canyon was just a twinkle in the eye of Newmont N.A. Exploration Group Executive Wayne Trudel. The next five years saw Newmont’s acquisition of the property, followed by significant growth in the understanding of the geologic setting and extent of gold mineralization on this potentially new Nevada Gold Trend – one that many economic geologists have been keen to examine in person.
The group’s eagerness to explore became abundantly clear. The first of three shuttle runs up the muddy mountain to the starting point of our excursion left the first bunch “drooling” over the sight of nearby exposures of Long Canyon’s distinctive brick-red ore. Efforts to wrangle some of the antsier geologists were met with suspiciously timed “calls of nature” requiring off-road jaunts conveniently near interesting looking outcrops. Once the last of the group made it to the top, there was a brief talk on safety and geologic overview before we let them loose to hammer away and collect samples. The tour route included stops at typical exposures of the “Upper” and “Lower” ore zones. Tour participants had comments ranging from questions about the ore grades and geochemical compositions of individual rocks all the way up to suggestions of broad regional correlations to other gold deposits.
A steady rain set in about halfway through the tour, but that did little to stifle the group’s interest in the rocks. It was finally the water-logged tour guides, Jon Powell, Dan Norfleet and Thomas Key, who brought things to a close and herded everyone back to the loading zone for the ride back down to the Big Springs Ranch house at the base of the mountain. After a gracious farewell, the bus departed for the long journey back to Reno to wrap up what was, by most accounts, one of the best GSN symposiums in recent memory. And in classic geologist form, tour attendees submitting pictures for this article filled my inbox with over 30 photos, more than 50% of which were of rocks.