Nevada Mine Safety and Training Section (MSATS) tapped by Marines for expertise, training

Carson City, NV - January 14, 2014

When the legislature established the Division of Industrial Relations Mine Safety and Training Section (MSATS) in 1909 to establish a safe workplace for Nevada’s miners, they probably didn’t envision that the staff’s expertise would play an important role in training and preparing United States Marines to deploy and fight in the caves of Afghanistan.


A one-time request by the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) to conduct safety training for deployed troops that encounter conditions in the caves of mountainous regions similar to those of abandoned mines in Nevada, has developed into an ongoing volunteer effort.


“We have worked with the Marine Corp instructors to develop courses in underground mine rescue, awareness of dangerous mine gases, basic geology and basic underground navigation, mapping and surveying,” said Jeff Bixler, MSATS Chief Administrative Officer. “It has been an honor to work with the Marines to assist them in ensuring that our soldiers are knowledgeable and prepared.”


The formal curriculum, written in partnership with the US Marine Corp, has recently been approved by the Marine Corp Education Office at the Pentagon level.


The training is conducted several times a year by mine inspectors at the Division.  The sessions, which take place over a 3 day period, encompass both field and classroom instruction.  More than 90 active duty Marines to-date have participated in the Division’s training sessions. 


In a recent letter received by the Division, Commanding Officer Colonel J.J. Carroll, Jr. expressed the MCMWTC’s gratitude: “We sincerely appreciate your contribution to the Training Center and assure you it assisted in providing a higher quality of mountain warfare capability for our military. Your devotion to our men and women is a wonderful reminder to them of the great Americans for whom they train and fight.”


The uniqueness of this training has caught the attention of other branches of the US military and future training could be modified to meet the requirements of ever changing mission needs.


The staff has also been approached about developing a pocket-guide to be used to identify basic geological hazards.  The guide would be implemented and used throughout the Marine Corp organization.



MSATS, a section within the Division of Industrial Relations, Department of Business and Industry was created by the Legislature in 1909 to establish a safe workplace for Nevada miners. The mission of MSATS pursuant to Chapter 512 of the Nevada Revised Statutes is to establish and determine mine operator compliance with state and federal regulations and assist mine operators in meeting compliance through development of training programs and by providing consultation and technical assistance. To learn more, visit


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Teri Williams
Public Information Officer