What is the role of NVMA within the mining industry?

Our role is to serve as a public voice for mining in Nevada. We aim to educate, unite, and advocate for mining within the state. With the US looking to transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy, mining plays a critical role in this shift. We have a unique understanding of how to mine in a more innovative, sustainable, and safe way. We pride ourselves on being one of the safest mining jurisdictions in the world, and our safety and environmental records attract investments to our operations.

Can you elaborate on the trends that shaped the industry in 2022?

Going into 2022, the industry was at a tipping point in terms of taxation in the state. There were calls to increase taxes in Nevada as we are tourism-dependent and our state budgets can get tight. The State of Nevada asked the mining industry to help. Our schools have always been underfunded, so the industry stepped up and helped increase school funding by US$300 million, which represents about US$700 per student on average. This was done to ensure that we are ahead when the next economic downturn comes.

How are new technologies changing the industry?

Automation has been discussed for a long time, but what we have seen throughout the pandemic has sped up the adoption of new technologies. Many sites now have someone above ground operating machinery below ground, and this trend will continue. We are excited about the diversity technology brings to our workforce, and we believe that it will help us to operate more efficiently and safely.

Could you explain the NVMA’s “2D Demystify and Diversify” plan?

We recognized that we need to demystify what mining looks like today to ensure workforce development. We have access to drone technology, sophisticated mapping, SONAR, and LINAR to help us mine in an environmentally conscious and safe manner. Demystifying is the first step, and the second step is diversification. We want to bring gender, cultural, thought, and geographical diversity to the industry. Business reports have shown that diversity is a significant factor in increasing profitability for firms. In the gender area, the industry has invested in childcare facilities, which is a women’s rights issue. Unlocking the power of gender equity comes through having parity in childcare.

Could you discuss the potential role of Nevada in the processing and refining stages of the domestic supply chain of critical and precious minerals?

Nevada has an enormous opportunity to be a one-stop-shop for precious and critical minerals, according to the Nevada Mining Association. With the expansion into critical minerals, Nevada has an abundance of lithium. In fact, Nevada is the only state with an active lithium mine in the US, and there are plans to open three more lithium mines in the next two years. However, despite this abundance of lithium, there is currently an issue with the fact that it is mined in Nevada but sent to China to be processed. The economic and environmental costs of this process make little sense. The association believes that state leadership must prioritize processing lithium within the state to secure the nation’s supply chain and the US’s ability to process domestically. This is an essential issue that requires immediate attention.

What is mining’s role in a net-zero transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy?

Mining provides the raw materials that are essential to the transition towards a net-zero carbon economy. However, it is crucial to ensure that mining activities are conducted in a way that minimizes the downstream impacts. The association emphasizes that if extraction is done in a polluting way, then the use of the material in green technology will not matter. It is essential to have a plan that integrates sustainable mining practices right from the start. Therefore, the Nevada Mining Association has a smart-from-the-start program that requires companies to plan for closure before any mining activities begin. By incorporating solar panels into those closure plans, firms can mitigate their power usage. Solar power usage can reduce their carbon footprint significantly. Nevada is leading conversations on the best ways to extract lithium, and its mining techniques, such as microscopic mining and heap leach technology, have set the standard for how mining operates in the world.

Where do you see the Nevada mining industry going next?

The Nevada mining industry is known for innovation and is always looking for ways to improve its mining techniques. Nevada is at the forefront of conversations about the best ways to extract lithium. Mining techniques such as microscopic mining and heap leach technology have been a significant breakthrough in how mining operates in the world. These innovative techniques make mining more efficient, sustainable, and safe. As the industry moves forward, it will continue to prioritize sustainable practices that have a minimal impact on the environment.

You may also be interested in...