Category Archives: Education

Yerington High School Mining Club Advisors, Science Teachers, Joanna Kuzia and Keith Slator

Yerington High School Mining Club Advisors, Science Teachers, Joanna Kuzia and Keith Sluyter

Left to right is Yerington High School Science Teachers  Mining Club Advisors,  Joanna Kuzia and Keith Slater, Nevada Coppers Community Relations Coordinator, Rita Kay Menesini and Mining Club member and student,

Left to right is Yerington High School Science Teachers & Mining Club Advisors, Joanna Kuzia and Keith Sluyter, Nevada Copper’s Community Relations Coordinator, Rita Kay Menesini and Mining Club member and Yerington High School 12th grade student, Max McCandless.

SCHOOL HAS STARTED FOR THE 2015-16 YEAR ! A time for clubs and organizations to recruit and sign up new members.

Yerington High School students learn about the different clubs & organizations & what may interest them for becoming a member.

Yerington High School students learn about the different clubs & what may interest them in becoming a member.

For the fourth year now, Nevada Copper is teaming up with Yerington High School to organize the Mining Club.  With all of the potential mining activity in Mason Valley, it is an incredible opportunity for high school students to learn about the industry.  Pumpkin Hollow provides a real life mine project in their backyard to see all the facets of the mining industry and the potential careers.  Yerington High School Science Teachers Joanna Kuzia and Keith Sluyter have agreed to be advisors for the Mining Club supported by Nevada Copper Community Relations Coordinator Rita Menesini and other company staff.  Past activities include field trips to the Pumpkin Hollow Project, a visit to a major mining convention (American Exploration & Mining Association’s (AEMA) Annual meeting and symposium), University of Nevada Reno Mackay School of Engineering and Earth Sciences, visiting speakers, weekly meetings and links to internet websites with information on mining.

The following information on the importance of the Yerington High School Mining Club was posted at the AEMA website:  

“The Yerington High School (YHS) Mining Club, a group of students from Yerington, Nevada with a shared interest in the mining industry, is unique. They’re one of the only high school mining clubs in the United States. Seriously. I think that needs to change. There need to be more opportunities for high school students to get involved with mining through clubs like YHS’s. Why? I’ll give you five reasons:

  1. It’s fun: For students interested in mining, what could be better than getting together to explore and learn about minerals, metals, and the mining industry with like-minded peers? Being part of a mining club can also provide unique experiences that build on and enhance in-class learning about subjects like geology, minerals, and natural resources. This brings me to my next point …
  2. It’s hands-on: Nevada Copper’s community relations coordinator Rita Menesini helped start the YHS mining club and Nevada Copper, along with other local mining companies like Entrée Gold, has given presentations and tours to the group. Nevada Copper has also hosted the club at the AEMA’s Annual Meeting, the second-biggest mining convention in the U.S., the past few years (read more about their experience in the Reno Gazette here). These activities provide plenty of physical and hands-on interaction with minerals, metals, and the professionals that mine them.
  3. There’s a need for more mining education:The opportunity to teach high school students and others about minerals, metals, and mining can’t be missed. According to a recent article by Mining Engineers, “Two-thirds of the professionals entering the minerals industry who graduated within the past 40 years graduated prior to 1985.” There’s a great need to connect and engage students and young professionals with the mining industry in order to build up the next generation of mining professionals.
  4. A chance to interact with real-world mining professionals: One of the YHS Mining Club members had this to say about AEMA’s Annual Meeting: “What I found to be very helpful is the way vendors at the exhibit were willing to take the time to talk with me, even though I was only a high school student.” Chances like these to connect and interact with established professionals in the mining industry are a great way to start giving students and young people a practical look at the mining industry. It’s one thing to learn about mining concepts in a school setting, it’s another to be able to experience the practical realities of mining via interaction with real-world miners. Clubs like YHS’s are a great way to offer these kinds of opportunities.
  5. It’s a fantastic learning experience:One YHS club member, again speaking about the AEMA Annual Meeting, said, “I have learned much about the mining community … There are a wide range of jobs that are involved in the mining industry that I did not know about.” Learning about the mining industry and the various opportunities available through activities like the YHS Mining Club is a great way expand students’ horizons.

We need more clubs like Yerington High School’s. The fact they are one of the only high school mining clubs in the country is an epic missed opportunity. With mining clubs like YHS’s, we can help the next generation take advantage of all the amazing hands-on opportunities to learn about minerals, metals, mining, and the professional opportunities available to them in related industries.”


Left to right is Mackay School of Mines Graduate, Timothy Kiley of the UNR Metallurgical Engineering Department, Yerington High School Club Members, Stephani Pena, Fransisco Leyva, YHS Club Advisor and Science Teacher Crystal Mattice, members Max McCandless, Cierra Sullivan, Melissa Pursel, Marlena Smith and Lilliana Sanchez.


Standing next to the hoist drums are Yerington High School Mining Club members from left to right, Melissa Pursel, Marlena Smith, YHS Advisor & Science Teacher, Crystal Mattice, Stephani Pena, (crouching) Lilliana Sanchez, Fransisco Leyva, Cierra Sullivan, Max McCandless and UNR Mackay School of Mines, Metallurgy graduate Timothy Kiley.

The Yerington High School Mining Club of 2015 came to visit the Pumpkin Hollow Mine for their school year tour.  This is YHS Mining Club’s 2nd tour since they started the club in 2013.  Not all club members were able to attend because of the end-of-the-school year activities, but we were glad to have those who could.  Pumpkin Hollow also was fortunate to have a UNR Mackay School of Mines graduate from the Metallurgical Department, Mr. Timothy Kiley come join us.   Tim Kiley was beneficial in answering questions and giving valuable information on metallurgy.  After a safety briefing given by Community Relations Coordinator, Rita Menesini, and getting geared-up with their PPE (personal protective equipment), the club members, club advisor and Tim Kiley went on their guided tour by Rita Menesini and Cementation’s Project Manager, Murph Miniely.  The group experienced the hoist in operation,  waste rock pouring out the headframe dump chutes and the many drill rigs operating at Pumpkin Hollow.  After the tour, an overview and Q&A session was given by Tim Dyhr, VP of Environmental & External Relations and VP of Operations, Tim Arnold during a pizza lunch.

Thank you Yerington High School Club Members for your hard work & effort.  Keep rocking!!


Nevada Copper's Safety Manager, Mike Weaver

Captain Safety!

Nevada Copper's Safety Manager, Mike Weaver

Nevada Copper’s Safety Manager, Mike Weaver

Mike Weaver, Nevada Copper’s Safety Manager is a great man to have around.

Mike started working for Nevada Copper on May 27, 2014 and is currently the trainer for the Nevada Copper/ Cementation USA Mine Rescue (MR) Teams. He started Mine Rescue in 1991 with Central Mine Rescue (CMR) located in the Silver Valley of North Idaho.  Mike trained CMR teams from above the Arctic Circle in Alaska to Tonopah, Nevada and the Stillwater Complex in Montana (from 1991-2010).  He also was Lead Mine Rescue trainer for Hecla – Greens Creek Mine in Alaska in 2010 and 2011 and a Mine Rescue trainer for U.S. Silver – Galena complex 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Mike holds certifications as a:  Mine Rescue Instructor, Advanced Mine Rescue Specialist, Confined Space Instructor (Rescue/Entry), Abandon Mine Specialist,  Dräger BG-4 (breathing apparatus) Maintenance Technician, Rope Rescue Instructor I, II and III, First Aid Instructor (Basic and Advanced) and ITX & MX-6 Technician (gas detection).


Nevada Copper's Safety Manager attended the Nevada Regional Mine Rescue Competition March 10-12, 2015.

Nevada Copper’s Safety Manager attended the Nevada Regional Mine Rescue Competition March 10-12, 2015.

Mine Rescue Competition

BG-Draeger 4 – Mine Rescue Competition

The Dräger BG-4 supplies the wearer with safe breathing air for up to four hours in IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health) environments. The BG-4 gives the user time in extended-duration missions. Time to target, time to get the job done and time to get back safely. Commonly referred to as a rebreather, the closed-circuit breathing apparatus removes carbon dioxide, recycling unused oxygen and supplying fresh oxygen from a cylinder.

BG-Draeger 4

Dräger BG-4



Mine Rescue Competition 2015 – Emergency First Aid

Safety training is ongoing at the Pumpkin Hollow mine site.   Once a worker is certified on Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) training, he or she still needs to take a refresher course once a year.  Before each shift change the underground crew has a safety briefing, a pre-shift equipment inspection and a miner’s work place inspection.  Nevada Copper is committed to safety because working safely is the right way to work.  We care about our employees and feel that they deserve a safe work place and a safety culture they can embrace at work, and bring home as well. 

We develop and maintain a site specific, comprehensive health and safety program. We emphasize proper implementation of our programs, and expect participation by all of our employees. We promote proactive health and safety programs and initiatives and will work towards the continuous improvement of those programs.




Several tons of scrap steel has accumulated in the last couple years here at Pumpkin Hollow.  This is material from miscellaneous fabrication that is not suitable for construction but too good to throw in the scrap container.  Nevada Copper has donated this scrap metal to Yerington High School’s welding class for use by the industrial arts department welding program.  Welding teacher, Cody Neville said inventory of scrap metal was low and Nevada Copper’s donation helped supply for future classes.  The Pumpkin Hollow team is more than happy to help out future welders.



This is one of four trailer loads Nevada Copper donates to the Yerington High School Industrial Arts Welding Program.


Welding teacher, Coach Cody Neville help his students unload Nevada Copper's donation of scrap metal.

Welding teacher, Coach Cody Neville helps his students unload Nevada Copper’s donation of scrap metal.





The philosophy of the welding program is to provide students the opportunity to learn about welding as an occupation and as a possible career choice. This will be accomplished through various types of metal welding, brazing, flame cutting, blueprint reading, electrical principles, welding symbols, mechanical drawing while emphasizing applied academics, leadership, organizational skills and professional development.

Metal fabrication involves cutting, altering and shaping steel or other materials through the use of different tools, techniques and processes. Welding is then used to fuse or join the metals parts together. Fabrication and welding projects can involve simple, basic techniques, or they can be highly specialized and complex. In this welding program, students develop skills in interpreting blueprints; creating the exact shape of a part for cutting, fabrication and welding; and producing quality parts through the use of different techniques and materials. They learn the basic skills necessary to program and operate computer-controlled press brakes and shears, plasma arc cutting machines and micro-processor-based power sources. The emphasis is placed on welding techniques and joining methods.   This program prepares students for jobs such as fabricator, laser operator, welder/press operator or welder.

Many opportunities exist internationally for welding professionals in the mining industry. Professions like that of a fabrication engineer, a professional welder, a boiler maker or a sheet metal worker, all involve a knowledge of welding. The mining industry in particular requires individuals who specialize as welding professionals.

Being a welder involves the construction and repairing of metal products. The class of the welder is directly proportional to the complexity of the tasks performed. For instance, a first class welder will use qualified procedures which determine the welding methods to use, joint preparations, the choice of consumables, level of preheat and nature of any post weld heat treatment. Related professions include that of boiler makers and sheet metal workers who can also follow a career in mining.


Bachelors of Science, Mining Engineers, Tate Boyster and Axel Loehden inquire about employment at the Nevada Copper booth.


Metallurgical Engineers sign-up for possible summer internship at Nevada Copper.


Nevada Copper participated in the Natural Resources and Environmental Science/Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering Career and Internship Fair of 2015.  The NRES-Mackay School of Mines event took place in the Joe Crowley Student Union, University of Nevada, Reno on February 11, 2015.

This event provided an opportunity to meet and interact with the students majoring or interested in career fields such as environmental science, geology, mining engineering, metallurgical and related units.

Rita Kay Menesini, Nevada Copper’s Community Relations Coordinator says the students and graduates presented themselves in a most professional manner and showed much potential for future hiring.  She wishes each & every student the best.

A big thank you to Katia Albright, M.A., Coordinator of Career Development, Nancy Markee, Ph.D, Associate Professor Natural Resources and Environmental Science, and to Julie Stoughton, M.S., Lecturer and Academic Advisor Natural Resources and Environmental Science.  Also to everyone involved in organizing this beneficial event.



CuPennyCopper (Cu) is an extremely useful industrial metal that is ductile (capable of being drawn into wire), malleable (capable of being hammered and molded) and an excellent conductor of electricity.


Cu – Copper

Discovered in: Antiquity

Discovered by: Unknown

Description: The origins of its name unknown. Copper is one of the first metals to be used, largely because it occurs in metallic form at the surface. By 4000 B.C., it was being smelted from ores in Israel and other parts of the Middle East. Copper is a malleable, ductile reddish metal, and is one of only two strongly colored metals (gold being the other). Copper is a stable metal largely unaffected by water and air, although carbon dioxide will react with the surface of pure copper to form greenish copper carbonate. Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity (second only to silver) and electrical motors, generators and wiring are its primary use. Copper is also used in ornamentation, coins and as a building material, especially in plumbing and roofing. Many pounds of copper are used in each automobile in radiators and electronic wiring. American police officers are nicknamed cops or coppers due to the copper buttons their uniforms used to have. Copper sulfate (blue vitriol) is used as an agricultural poison and a water purifier. Copper’s symbol Cu comes from its Latin name, cuprum.

Biological Rating: Necessary for full health of plants and animals.

Biological Benefits: Copper is a necessary trace element to all species. It is a key component of certain enzymes and interacts with iron as hemocyanin, which is important in red blood cell production. The nervous system and bones also need copper. Copper is important to the sense of taste and copper has a distinctive taste that can be detected at very small concentrations.

Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.0001%

Obtained From: Copper is a common element in many minerals and commonly occurs in pure, native form. Most of the world’s copper comes from the minerals chalcopyrite and chalcocite. Chrysocolla and malachite also are mined for copper. Other copper-bearing minerals include atacamite, azurite, bornite, brochantite, cuprite (copper oxide), dioptase, rosasite and tetrahedrite.

More time efficient permitting process to U.S. mining can lead the way to a more secure, prosperous and innovative future.  For more information, please check out these videos and links below.  Thank you.


Here’s another resource on minerals moving America forward –

By Hal Quinn, contributor


On January 9, 2015, Yerington High School had their “College Career Day”.  Nevada Copper shared with the students information on career opportunities, schooling, training and what it takes to work at a mine.  Graduates from mining related subjects are some of the most highly sought after professionals in the country.


YHS Mining Club visits the   Nevada Copper booth.

YHS Mining Club visits the Nevada Copper booth.

Girls love the idea of a "Pink" hardhat.

Girls love the idea of a pink hardhat.


Sophomores, Rachel Naswall, Jamie Parker and Khendra Brown inquiry about engineering careers.

Sophomores, Rachel Naswall, Jamie Parker and Khendra Brown inquire about mine engineering careers.  All three students showed interest in Chemical Engineering/Metallurgy.  Below is a description of what a metallurgy career consists of.

Metallurgists work at mineral processing sites and may specialize in either primary (extractive) or secondary (physical) metallurgy. Primary metallurgists are most often employed by the minerals industry and they may perform the following tasks:

  • Study and apply physical methods for separating minerals from their ores using magnetic, electric, gravity or chemical methods;
  • Apply methods for extracting commercial quantities of minerals from their ores;
  • Supervise sampling from various stages of processing;
  • Advise operators on changes necessary to improve the process;
  • Improve process methods;
  • Develop and control methods of storing and treating waste material, and
  • Prepare technical reports.

Process Engineers transform low value, impure raw materials into commercially valuable products. The main sources of these raw materials are low grade minerals, by-products of other processing operations and recycled materials. Minerals process engineers are employed in all stages of raw materials processing and, in the minerals industry, may perform the following tasks:

  • Process design and development;
  • Process control and management;
  • Pure and applied research;
  • Study and apply chemical and process metallurgy techniques;
  • Coordinate recovery of samples for laboratory analysis and testing;
  • Choose and operate a combination of treatments to produce the deired quality of products at optimum efficiency; and
  • Prepare cost budgets of operations to evaluate economic feasibility of processes.

Metallurgy/Processing typically suits someone who likes chemistry, maths and physics and is interested in engineering and science, has an aptitude for computing and design and has good problem solving skills. Metallurgists and Process Engineers need to be able to work as part of a team as well as independently. Good oral and written communication skills are also valued.

Requires the completion of an engineering degree at a University. 

The American Exploration Mining Association, formally known as the Northwest Mining Association had their 120th Annual Exposition at J.A. Nugget in Sparks, Nevada the week of December 1-6, 2014.

For the 3rd year,  Yerington High School students were hosted by Nevada Copper to learn more on what the mining industry is all about.  The YHS Mining Club was organized in 2013 and this is their 2nd year to attend the exhibits.  Please see below the comments from the club members regarding what they learned and what they felt was most impressive about the exposition.


Rita, thank you so much for allowing us to attend the Mining Exhibit.  I really enjoyed everybody’s company.  It really helped me decide on what field I want to work on in the mining industry. The best part was being able to talk to some of the local companies. I appreciated the advice some UNR students gave us to give us an idea what to prepare for in college. I was able to speak with an accountant who also was from a small town and her advice was very encouraging.  I learned that living in a small town will not stop me from being successful and achieving my goals. I appreciate that Nevada Copper is supporting our Yerington High School Mining Club.  Giving us as a club, the chance to promote Nevada Copper is a great way to show our support for the community.

-Stephani Pena (Vice President) -Y.H.S. Mining Club


I’d like to extend my profound thanks to all of Nevada Copper, as well as to a couple of vendors at the exhibit for offering to donate to our Mining Club. This whole experience has been beneficial in helping me learn about the career in engineering that I’d like to pursue. What I found to be very helpful is the way vendors at the exposition were willing to take the time to talk with me, even though I was only a high school student. They were friendly, respectful and informative.  I hope that in the future that the Mining Club of Yerington will be able to continue attending this event and those vendors will continue with their hospitality towards these members.

-Dominique Lucier (Treasure) – Y.H.S. Mining Club


I would like to thank all of Nevada Copper for allowing the mining club to go and have this experience. I have learned much about the mining community of work. There are a wide range of jobs that are involved in the mining industry that I did not know about. What I found to very helpful what all the vendors that were willing to talk to us and inform us about what they did in the mining industry. I am wishing that I had learned more about the mining industry sooner because I would be more involved and I would not have been undeceived about what I wanted to study in college. I now have a sense of some things that I like and wish to future my education on. Thanks again.

-Melissa Pursel (Member) –Y.H.S. Mining Club


Dear Rita,

First of all, I just wanted to thank Nevada Copper for sponsoring the club and second, for taking us to the mining convention.  I had so much fun at the convention. I learned so much and it opened my eyes for engineering.  I will continue to be a member of  the mining club and I look forward to next year.  It is awesome that we are one of the few mining clubs in the nation.

 Paco Leyva-Diaz President of YHS Mining Club


Dear Rita,

I am having so much fun in mining club!  I really enjoyed the mining convention because it was so exciting and interesting to me.  I learned so much, thank you for taking us! I never knew how many fields are included in mining.  When it comes to safety, purifying water, engineering and rock separation, this really blew my mind.  It was a really great learning experience. We would not have been able to go on these amazing trips if it wasn’t for Nevada Copper.  I thank Nevada Copper for all these great learning experiences. I wish I would have joined a lot sooner. My education in the future is definitely going to be something that I could continue on in mining. Again thank you so much.

-Marlena Smith (Member)


A BIG THANK YOU TO   – Laura Skaer, Executive Director and Mike Heywood, Marketing & Information of AEMA for their wonderful hospitality.


Standing from left to right – Yerington High School Science Teacher & Mining Club Adviser Joanna Kuzia, club members Dominique Lucier, Marlena Smith, Melissa Pursel, and Stephani Pena. Kneeling is Nevada Copper’s Community Relations Coordinator Rita Kay Menesini and YHS Mining Club member Paco (Franciso) Leyva-Diaz.



YHS Mining Club members visit the Avanti booth and learn about steel alloy metals.


Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering was a popular booth with the club members.


Nevada Copper’s Community Relations Coordinator, Rita Kay Menesini and Tim Dyhr, VP of Environment & External Relations hosted the Yerington High School Mining Club at the 2014 American Exploration and Mining Exposition.

Dreaming to be a miner?

Dreaming to be a miner?

Silver Stage High School students visit the Nevada Copper, Pumpkin Hollow Mine Project's booth on their 2014 College/Career Day.

Silver Stage High School students visit the Nevada Copper, Pumpkin Hollow Mine Project’s booth on their 2014 College/Career Day.   Thank you Silver Stage students for your interest in Nevada Copper and the many great questions asked.

Silver Stage High School student checks out a sample of copper ore with a magnifying rock & mineral glass.

Silver Stage High School student checks out a sample of copper ore with a rock & mineral magnifying glass.

Next College/Career Day?  At Yerington High School, January 9, 2015.