Agreement between Western Shoshone and Barrick mining benefits both – by Sally Roberts (Northern Nevada Business Weekly – July 10, 2017)

Hostilities have long persisted between Nevada’s mining companies and the state’s Native American population. That was particularly true in the Elko area in the early years of this century.

“There were many many years of bad, difficult communications with Placer Dome, which had a different way of approaching the concerns of the Western Shoshone,” remembers Brian Mason, a member of the Western Shoshone, and now program manager of Native American Affairs for Barrick Gold Corporation.

Mason began his work in mining with Placer Dome’s environmental restoration department. Whenever Placer Dome opened the permitting process for a project, which includes public comment, it faced 200 to 300 objections from tribal members, he said. That led to lawsuits and court delays.

“I could see the struggle,” he told the NNBW while in Reno for the interview. “They were not talking to each other, they were talking past each other.” Mason joined Toronto-based Barrick in 2005 after the company began the process to acquire Placer Dome, which purchase was finalized in 2006.

Barrick immediately set out to develop a program similar to the cooperative agreements in Canada between mining companies and that country’s First Nations population. Mason was in the right place at the right time. “It was important the person to do the new position be a Native American. But I had to get an education in mining,” Mason said.

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