Don Robinson – Assayer Bio – Aug 1st, 2022

While I was mining in 1980, driving a drift to reach a buried river channel, I attended Sierra Collage’s Program on mining.

I took their assaying program under the direction of Professor Don Jurgenson. Mr. Jurgenson, as part of the Sierra Colleges program, was assigned to projects in Nevada and set up many of the large company mining labs there and taught assaying to their staffs. He was an assaying legend in his own time.

I took 6 semesters of assaying as one of his students. GPA of 4.0. I did advanced assaying work with him and I assisted him on special studies of assaying problems for other companies in Nevada.

About this time my underground work had ended and I wanted to stay in mining. I drove up to Nevada and was interviewed by Goldfields, in Winnemucca. I applied for assaying and in the interview they asked my background. They told me they had many applicants an they would let me know in several weeks. At the end of the interview they asked me where I learned about assaying and I told them under Don Juergenson. They hired me before I walked out the door.

I worked as an assayer for them for two years, and was certified after the first year. It’s normally a five year program with Goldfields before they technically certify you. Certification under them is an extensive written test and a full day of lab work under various testing conditions. This was 1993.

As one of their assayers for them, I was asked if I would submit a scientific paper for an upcoming annual Society of Mineral Analysts in Elko Nevada.. This is an annual meeting of all the specialists of the Western US and Canada. I was told there were over 60 papers submitted and only 14 of them were selected to make presentations at the two day event. I was one of the 14. My paper was on gold bullions. The conclusion of the two day event was the awarding of the Fisher Scientific award for the best research paper. There were over 200 attendees at the conference and each had a vote on the best presentation and scientific analysis.

I won the Fisher Scientific award.  I likely completed over 24,000 assays for them.

After I left Goldfields to come back home, AT&E Mining near El Portal CA, hired me to come to their mine and set up a full and complete assay lab for their company. When I did that, they then asked me to run the lab for them until I could teach one of their people to do the work. I did that. They had previously had legal problems with some salting and my hiring was to put an end to that under some legal observation.

After AT&E mining, I came back home only to be recruited by Ray Naylor, running a large Open pit operation called Liberty Hill.  I did all the gold recovery for Ray, under tight security. I was the only one permitted to deal with the gold. I poured all his bullion bars for him. He later made me his VP of the company.

After Liberty Hill, I set up my own assay lab here at my place, capable of doing the same quality of analytical work required by the big mines. I have top of the line equipment. I did assaying for many individuals and companies over the years since.

I continued my mining along with the assay work. In total, I’ve been doing assaying and associated quantitative analysis for 40 years.