Patty Corbetta
Advisory Board Member – Emeritus • Retired BHP Billiton
Geological Sciences


  • BA Geology University of Colorado Boulder 1980
  • BA Russian Language and Culture University of Colorado Boulder 1980
  • MS Geology University of Colorado (ore deposits) University of Colorado 1986

My early career was in mineral resource assessment for the US Bureau of Mines and exploration for private industry. I worked in historical mining districts on public lands proposed for wilderness designation. Working underground in abandoned mines in remote areas posed many opportunities and challenges. Mapping faults from mine to mine made structural geology pop into 3D, finding visible gold grabbed my interest in geochemical and hydrogeologic processes, and working as a team was vitally important to optimize safety given the extremely hazardous conditions.

A downtick in mining economics and an uptick in environmental regulation redirected my career into the environmental regulatory practice for Colorado and USEPA. My interest was in facility contaminant fate and transport and compliance with groundwater quality standards. I was the Colorado Project Coordinator for the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Facility where I negotiated environmental aspects of the facility’s multi-agency cleanup agreement, prepared briefing documents for the Governor’s office, and liaised with the local community governments.

I joined an environmental consulting group where I subsequently became a partner and worked for over 20 years. My office view changed frequently conducting due diligence, compliance assurance assessments in numerous US states, the arctic (Nunavut, Canada), China, and Mexico. Stationed in Chengdu, China, I worked with an international multi-disciplinary team evaluating the potential environmental, social, and health impacts of a proposed sour gas development project and engaged with stakeholders from the local indigenous communities. I closed my career working with an international mining company on the Navajo Nation permitting a proposed energy production, and transmission renewal, and mine expansion project consistent with tribal trust policies including sustainable economic growth.

As a fourth generation Coloradan, I enjoy spending my retirement recreating in the Colorado backcountry with my border collie Joules, and volunteering with the Colorado Natural Area Program. Students, I also enjoy hearing from you and welcome your career questions.