WMC Officers - Board of Directors

Debra W. Struhsacker
Senior Vice President, Pershing Gold Corporation

Debra Struhsacker is Senior Vice President of Pershing Gold Corporation where she is responsible for environmental permitting, regulatory affairs, government relations, and land and legal matters. She has 30 years of hands-on expertise with the environmental and public land laws and regulations pertaining to mineral exploration and mine development on public lands. During this period, Ms. Struhsacker has been involved with a number of public policy debates pertaining to mineral exploration and mine development in several states and on Capitol Hill.

Ms. Struhsacker started her career as a geologist specializing in geothermal resource development and precious metals exploration. She worked as an environmental and governmental relations consultant from 1986 to 2003 and from 2006 to 2013, providing advice to mining industry clients on a broad range of environmental, regulatory, public policy, and community relations issues. From 2003 to 2006, she was Vice President, U.S. Governmental and Regulatory Affairs for Kinross Gold USA, Inc. She joined Pershing Gold Corporation in 2013.

Ms. Struhsacker’s unique combination of communication skills, technical background as a geologist, expertise with environmental regulatory issues, and experience working on federal and state legislative issues puts her in an ideal position to discuss the complex aspects of resource development, public lands management, and environmental protection in a way that the public, regulators, lawmakers, and the media can understand. She effectively bridges the communication gap between the technical, political, and public opinion factors influencing policy decisions about mineral exploration and development, environmental protection, and responsible use of the nation’s public lands.

She has a proven track record of successfully representing mineral industry clients in legislative and administrative issues on the state and federal levels. Her legislative work in Nevada has included playing a key role in repealing a special State tax on federal mining claims and in helping persuade legislators to abandon legislative proposals to tax minerals prior to production and to raise the tax rate on mineral, oil and gas, and geothermal energy production.   

Since 1993, she has been an active participant in the legislative dialogue to change the U.S. Mining Law. Examples of her work in Washington, DC include assisting a legislative taskforce examine ways to update and improve the National Environmental Policy Act, and providing testimony before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on abandoned mines and the state and federal environmental regulatory framework applicable to modern mines.

Ms. Struhsacker is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wellesley College where she majored in both geology and French. She also has a Master of Science degree in geology from the University of Montana. She is one of the founders of the Women’s Mining Coalition and currently serves on the Coalition’s Board of Directors. She is an American Institute of Professional Geologists Certified Professional Geologist and is a member of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America; the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc.; and the Geological Society of Nevada. She has served twice as a trustee of the Northwest Mining Association and is an Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors of the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

Ms. Struhsacker received the 2013 President’s Award from the Northwest Mining Association and the Northwest Mining Association’s 2001 Distinguished Service Award. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.