Category Archives: Yerington High School Mining Club

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!!


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.