Who is Ralph J. Roberts?
About 35 years ago, Ralph J. Roberts, a USGS geologist, developed a theory that even though prospectors couldn't find major gold deposits in Nevada's rugged northeastern mountains, the Paleozoic geologic history of the area suggested that there should be huge deposits of microscopic gold.
In 1961, after reading an article in USGS Professional Paper 400-B (1960), written by Roberts, entitled Alinement of Mining Districts in North-Central Nevada, and then hearing a talk presented by Roberts at a meeting of the Eastern Nevada Geological Society at the Nevada Hotel in Ely, John Livermore, then a Newmont Mining Company geologist, pursued Roberts' theory to track down the 4 million ounce gold ore body known as the Carlin deposit.
Today, the Carlin trend and its sister near Battle Mountain have yielded gold reserves in excess of 90 million ounces or nearly $30 billion and those figures could double in the next 10 years, Roberts believes.*
With that kind of money at stake, the mining industry would love to unlock the secrets of finding other Carlin-like deposits. That's where the university's Mackay School of Mines comes in. The school's geological sciences department, with the help of the Nevada mining companies, has established The Ralph Roberts Center for Research in Economic Geology. The center will investigate the geology, geochemistry and genesis of Carlin-type gold deposits.
Right now, several mining companies are contributing funds to get the center started. Companies include: Santa Fe Pacific Gold, Barrick Gold Strike, Granges, Cordex Exploration, Placer Dome USA, Newmont Gold. Nevada mining pioneer John Livermore has also made personal donations. Ralph Roberts has also contributed $10,000 to establish a lecture series. Mining experts will come to the university to share their knowledge with students, faculty, and the mining industry.
* Excerpted from: Campus Connections 4(23):1,3; February 26, 1996, "Researchers hunt for invisible gold".