Rich Past, Bright Future
Surrounded by mountains, desert and vast open spaces, northeastern Nevada has long been a hub for America’s mining industry and remains the fourth-largest gold producing area in the world. This year, Nevada has once again advanced to the number one position for total mineral production in the U.S. This area fosters one of the most business-friendly climates in the United States and boasts many advantages for companies wishing to relocate. It is also free from many of the taxes found in other states, allowing industries to grow and prosper.
“Mining is our primary economic engine – without a doubt – in this region,” says Sheldon Mudd, who took over as executive director of the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority (NNRDA) late last year. Elko County has approximately 1,200 mine support companies in the micropolitan area including those involved in processing, construction, trucking, maintenance and reclamation.
While interest in mining remains high, Mudd and his team at the NNRDA are also promoting the many benefits of the area to fill supply chain gaps within the mining sector.
“We are quite selective,” he says of diversifying the local economy. The NNRDA is actively seeking companies with products and services that cross over into other sectors, such as construction, alternative agriculture, geothermal energy or cattle ranching. The county welcomes industries like manufacturing that are seeking room for expansion and development.
Businesses come to northeastern Nevada for a host of reasons, from state incentives like sales and use tax abatement to its low cost of living and a booming economy. The region encompasses 54,000 square miles, almost half of Nevada’s area, which means lots of land for industries to grow.
Without state personal or corporate income taxes or other taxes such as inventory or franchise tax, companies are better able to invest in their own enterprises, including equipment and staff. Only recently was a corporate tax enacted for businesses with revenues exceeding $4 million, which is not a disincentive for serious companies.
“We could literally say we had no taxes except for property taxes until this corporate tax,” states Mudd. His career includes serving as the mining specialist with the Nevada governor’s office of economic development for about two and a half years. Mudd was already in the NNRDA offices for about two years and worked with the previous head of the organization before taking on his current role as executive director. He has a background in mining and also served in the U.S. military and worked in database management and geoscience analytics for leading gold producer Newmont Mining.
The county’s high desert serves as a solid representation of the theater in which American troops have been fighting in the past decade, making northeastern Nevada an ideal testing ground for the military and defense-related industries.
The NNRDA has an executive committee and board including Barrick Gold of North America, AT&T, the Elko Area Chamber of Commerce, Elko County Convention and Visitors Authority, mining companies and many others. It can offer businesses coming to the area virtually seamless, free and confidential relocation or expansion services to help businesses move to the area quickly and efficiently. These services range from site or building selection to permit coordination, assistance with networking, meetings with project managers, economic impact reports, feasibility studies and more.
NNRDA’s five counties are ideally located midway between Salt Lake City and Reno along three interchanges on Interstate 80, which stretches from California to Utah, and Highway 50, extending from Central Nevada to Reno, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. This is perfect for businesses of all types to serve customers along the Pacific Coast and inter-mountain west, including one-day truck service to California, Oregon, parts of Arizona, Boise and Salt Lake City.
The cities of northeastern Nevada sell themselves. Although not densely populated, the area has all the quality-of-life amenities one finds in much larger centers, including outstanding public schools, quality hospitals, museums, senior care facilities, convention centers, parks and baseball fields.
For families considering moving to the area, the NNRDA also offers an up-to-date, online relocation toolkit which contains valuable information on Carlin, the City of Elko, Ely, White Pine County, Eureka, Beowawe, Crescent Valley, Battle Mountain, Austin, Kingston, Wells, West Wendover, Winnemucca and Humboldt County. The toolkit informs prospective residents about local economies, education, health services, religious institutions, among other features.
There are numerous move-in-ready industrial parks that include infrastructure such as water, sewer, electricity, paved streets, fire protection, fast-growing economies, available incentives, and eagerness to assist new businesses moving to the area or expanding operations.
Executive Director Mudd knows how important it is for the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority to gets its message to interested businesses. He is actively promoting the NNRDA and the area through social media and says he has also been getting great responses through one-on-one meetings.
“In our area, rural Nevada, it’s all about trust, and you gain the trust through handshakes and face-to-face interaction,” he says, “so I try to reach out to our region and visit our regions on a regular basis, so I know what’s going on.”
The NNRDA is about to undergo an aggressive membership campaign. It recently brought on several counties and is focusing efforts on those areas. “When different organizations – whether private, government or non-profit – are engaged as a whole, we create a common understanding and can move forward in unison.”
Recently, Mudd was present at the 2018 Elko Reverse Expo & Showcase, hosted by the NNRDA and the Nevada Mining Association. It is an innovative ‘speed dating’ type of meeting in which vendors come to the table with the mine operator and have five minutes to sell a product.
The NNRDA is not limiting its scope to the U.S. Mudd also traveled recently to Toronto, Canada to attend the world-famous Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention for the third time. PDAC has been the leading voice of Canada’s mineral exploration and development community since 1932. It has grown to about 7,500 members worldwide and promotes responsible and sustainable mining globally.
There are a number of companies based in northern Ontario regions such as Sudbury and Timmins that are interested in doing business in northeastern Nevada, and he wants to see if there is a good business fit. “We feel like northern Ontario is very much like northern Nevada,” he says. “We have the same industries, the same kind of people, and we are rural. And by recognizing those relationships that we have, we can build off those synergies, and both regions can hopefully flourish.”
Mudd says the NNRDA’s primary vision is to focus on diversification of the region and compete on a global scale. “I think between my efforts in my previous role and where we are moving now, we will get there,” he says. “We definitely want to diversify and add variety to the region, but we don’t want to lose sight of our culture and our history either. We want to hold onto the past, while we embrace the future.”