In more than 25 years in the mining industry, Michael Brown says that as he retires, his proudest moment was bringing his company to Southern Nevada.
Brown joined Barrick Gold Corp. in 1994 as the vice president of government affairs and is retiring as president by the end of the year. He shared some of his thoughts on the industry and the future with the Sun. His comments have been lightly edited for grammar and style.
What do you think are some of the key ways your work at Barrick helped bring the mining industry and state government closer together?
Starting in 2012, I shifted Barrick from “random acts of good deeds” to focused corporate social responsibility. It meant aligning the company with Gov. Brian Sandoval and the Legislature’s priorities, to help address the high school dropout rate and to advance economic diversification.
That led to partnerships with Communities in Schools and Three Square Food Bank, and we used Barrick’s global status to help Steve Hill with economic development. Today we have evolved from helping to leading in areas of education, economic development, social justice and the arts. I sought to build a strong trust with policymakers and prove to them that Barrick cared about all Nevada. Make no mistake, our success is ultimately tied to Nevada’s success.
Why is it important to maintain that relationship between government and mining?
To mine and develop the minerals, we have to sustain what they call a “social license to operate.” That is an informal, and sometimes formal, bond with stakeholders that we will be responsible stewards of the environment, that we will share our success with our communities, and assure the safety and economic well-being of our employees.
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