LANCASTER – Dean Gehring, vice president and general manager of Rio Tinto Minerals – Boron Operations, will be among regional business leaders addressing the 41st Annual Antelope Valley Business Outlook Conference on Friday, Feb. 22 at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.
Rio Tinto Minerals’ open pit mine in Boron – one of the richest borate deposits on the planet – is at the heart of the company’s global mining and refining operations, supplying nearly half of world demand for refined borates, minerals essential to life and modern living. The 1.75 miles wide, 2 miles long and up to 755 feet deep open pit mine is a source for more than 80 different minerals, including the four Boron based minerals in greatest demand by industry: tincal, kernite, ulexite and colemanite.
Rio Tinto Minerals’ Boron operations represent an enormous economic engine for the region. In the 2012 Economic Roundtable Report by the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance, Rio Tinto was ranked among the region’s top 10 non-government, non-defense employers.
The roots of the Boron Operations trace back to California’s Death Valley, where borate deposits were discovered in 1872.
The current open pit mine began as an underground mine in 1927, and Boron Operations was converted to a surface mine in the late 1950s. At this time, extensive facilities for refining ore were built. In 1980, Borax built its boric acid plant, securing the company’s position as the world’s leading boric acid supplier.
Vice President and General Manager Gehring joined Rio Tinto Minerals in 2003 as Manager of Technical Services at its Kennecott Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah. During the next four years, he held positions as Director of Engineering Services and General Manager of Resource Development. In 2007 he was transferred to Vancouver, British Columbia to serve as General Manager of Resource Development for Rio Tinto’s Oyu Tolgoi joint venture in Mongolia. This project was recognized as the richest undeveloped copper and gold resource in the world.
In November 2009 Gehring was transferred to Boron, where he served as General Manager of Operations for Rio Tinto’s Boron Operations. He was promoted in May 2012 to Vice President, Rio Tinto Minerals Operations and General Manager at Boron.
Gehring knew he was interested in mining when he enrolled in college. He attended the University of Idaho, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mining engineering in 1990 before going on to complete a Master of Science degree in project management from the University of Aberdeen. Since then, his professional career has covered the globe, with assignments in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Canada and Indonesia.
His first job was with Magma Copper Company at the Pinto Valley mine in Arizona. He was later transferred to Magma Copper’s copper mine in Superior, AZ where he worked as a project engineer.
Dean, his wife, Maria, and their two sons reside in Tehachapi. Dean enjoys flying, skiing, woodworking, exercising and ice hockey.
Tickets for the 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Antelope Valley Business Outlook Conference are available from the sponsoring Antelope Valley Board of Trade Office in Lancaster at $150 per person, or $135 for Board of Trade members. Call 661-942-9581 for reservations.