Rick Streiff

Rick Streiff

Biographical Info Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area did not expose me to many geologists but it did foster a love for the outdoors. However, during high school I spent some time at a friend’s small underground gold mine owned by his grandfather in the Northern Mines area of the Sierra Nevada near Foresthill, California. The mine, complete with a small stamp mill and 3 underground adit levels, certainly piqued my interest in gold mining and geology in general. I attended one quarter at Oregon State University as a Forestry major and quickly realized this was not for me. I remembered the California gold mine and decided to transfer to University of Oregon to pursue a Geology degree under Mark Reed and have never looked back. Financing my way through school, I attended school until I ran out of money and then periodically worked to build my savings back up. I was a jack leg miner at the Star pocket mine and the President mine in the Bohemia epithermal district in Western Oregon as well as a Minerals Technician for the US Forest Service. I was also a jack leg miner/shift boss/engineer/VP of mucking at the Ruth mine in the North Santiam epithermal mining district of western Oregon. At the Ruth, I was involved in and testified at one of the last successful mineral patent hearings in the US before patenting was suspended. My wife learned about life with a geologist when we were snowed in the North Santiam district for 2 ½ months at the Jawbone Flats mine camp. My wife told me she would marry me but would never live in Africa, South America or Nevada. She also told me she would only live in a house attached to the ground: no mobile homes. I agreed and then promptly moved us directly from graduation to work at Round Mountain in Nevada for Echo Bay Mines. Moving from lush Western Oregon to near the geographic center of Nevada into a 26-foot travel trailer was quite a shock which we both managed to survive. Round Mountain was my introduction to bulk mining and I was responsible for the exploration decline as it was being driven as well as open pit geologic mapping, ore control and infill drilling. Echo Bay transferred me to McCoy/Cove. My wife thought a double wide mobile home in Battle Mountain was looking pretty good at that point. I arrived at Cove shortly after the downhole contamination fiasco caused a 1M ounce reserve write-down. I helped clean up the database and was responsible for the Cove underground intermediate sulfidation mine which was currently in development. I also assisted at the McCoy underground skarn mine and later took over responsibility for that mine as well. We were able to double the mining reserves at both underground mines. I also learned about water at Cove: lots of water! I spent a year as the dewatering geologist and drilled 11 24-inch cased dewatering wells to bring Cove up to a 30,000 gpm pumping capacity. I also spent a summer in Lincoln, Montana as part of a team drilling and evaluation the MacDonald low sulfidation deposit. Little did we know we were sharing the town with the Unibomber! Echo Bay then transferred me to the Kettle River operation near Republic Washington to the K2 low sulfidation underground mine as the chief geologist just as the mine development started. We drilled off the K2 reserves from underground and shipped ore to the regional milling facility. This was also my first experience in district exploration. This move also served as pay back to my wife as we built and lived in a beautiful log home fronting the Kettle River. The drive over the 5000-foot pass in winter for an all-day grocery shopping expedition was a bit rough. We also would take our new daughter across the border once a week to Grand Forks BC for swimming in the city pool. Echo Bay Mines was looking unstable at this point so I took an opportunity to interview at Meikle in Nevada. While I was there, I called a friend at Newmont who suggested I come interview with Newmont as well. Next thing my wife knew we were moving to Elko to work at Newmont. The moving company refused to box our belongings so she hired some boxers out of the local Blue Cougar Saloon. She was impressed. Newmont hired me to oversee the development of the Deep Post underground which was approved for development but yet to be started. I was literally the last person hired at Newmont before a hiring freeze was put in place. Within 6 months the lay-offs started at Newmont during the dark days of 1998 and the big slump in gold. We drilled off Deep Post from underground and shipped high grade. Deep Post was a stunningly high grade mine. Speaking of stunningly high grade, I was the first person sent to the Midas low sulfidation underground mine after it was acquired by Newmont as part of the Normandy merger. My wife and the moving truck arrived in Winnemucca just in time for a Mormon Cricket invasion in our new neighborhood. She was impressed. We built new geology systems at Midas, re-staffed the department and refocused a district-wide exploration programs which started paying dividends almost immediately. Getting up at 3:30 in the morning to make the drive to Midas was rough but geology at Midas were fun times. The staff would do weekend jeep trips together around Midas on our days off. My role was expanded to include the Twin Creeks mine and before long I was placed in charge of geology at all of Newmont’s underground mines in Nevada. So, it was back to Elko, where our moving company driver went on a drunk driving rampage down Idaho street in the cab of the moving van and was arrested on the west end of town. Big front-page story in the Elko paper. Again….my wife was impressed. The Underground Geology Group initiated a Projects team that sifted through all the Newmont data looking for underground mining potential. The staff did great work which resulted in the Pete Bajo, Fence and the Exodus underground mines. During this period, I was involved in teams examining various potential acquisitions including site visits to Hollister Nevada, Bendigo Australia and El Penon in Chile. An opportunity came up to oversee the regional exploration program for Newmont at the Waihi mine in New Zealand. The family packed up suitcases and off we went to New Zealand and the famous epithermal Hauraki Goldfield. The regional program required rebuilding, training the largely inexperienced staff, acquiring new prospects and organizing the team effort. My family moved into a beach front flat and this time my wife really was impressed. New Zealand was a great experience. The Martha mine is world class and the Hauraki Goldfield is a classic low sulfidation epithermal district. The active Taupo Volcanic Zone is only an hour away which allowed me to compare active geothermal features with the fossil systems in the Hauraki district. It’s also not often one gets to do geologic mapping on the beach. The Correnso discovery was made under the town while I was in New Zealand and we were infill drilling in town from empty lots, the Pony Club and the Elementary school yard. The Goldfield is a target rich environment and it wasn’t long before we were getting underground grades in drilling across numerous prospects. We felt as though we were getting close to a discovery somewhere in the district when Newmont began to wind down the regional program. I was transferred back to Elko. I spent time as the Geology Manager of the Carlin Trend open pits and then back to my old job of Underground Geology Manager for Nevada. I retired from Newmont in 2015 but that didn’t last long. OceanaGold had purchased the Waihi operation and asked me to come back to New Zealand and restart the regional program. I moved back into my old office with my old files and the same leak in the roof. We constructed a budget, re-staffed the program and then started mapping, sampling and permitting. The first hole drilled into one of our previous prospects (WKP) intersected an eight-meter-wide vein running 10 g/t. Discovery! We quickly mobilized two helicopter supported drills and began to expand and infill the discovery. In February, 2020 OceanaGold reported over 1M ounces of resource grading better than 12 g/t with the strike limits of the deposit not yet defined. Suddenly it occurred to Oceana that I had experience in Nevada so I was tasked with opening an office in Reno. I staffed the office, acquired several prospects and drilled two. Oceana elected to close the office just as the effort was gaining momentum. So, Retirement 2.0. But not completely. I am enjoying working part-time as a consultant to continue to help geologists better understand low sulfidation epithermal vein systems and look for new opportunities. It’s been a long ride which has taken me places I never dreamed of visiting, much less living in, from Jawbone Flats to Battle Mountain to Waihi Beach. And although there have been plenty of days of frustration and problems, my love of geology has never waned and I still enjoy sharing my passion with others. My wife has been a great sport while I dragged her around to some real garden spots as well as a few socially redeeming locations. She still complains about rocks and then shakes her head at me.

Email Address augeologist@yahoo.com

Position Consulting Geologist

Phone +1 775-842-5100

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