The Doe Run Co. (Doe Run) recently donated $37,724 in technical equipment to the mining engineering department at Missouri University of Science and Technology to aid in training the next generation of mining engineers.
The equipment includes four digital barometers, three digital anemometer kits with temperature gauges and three mechanical anemometer kits, each of which are critical to predicting and measuring changes in mine ventilation air flow and pressure.
“These tools are a part of every underground mine’s basic tool kit and help in collecting ventilation data,” says Randy Hanning, Doe Run’s mine operations manager. “It is important that mining students know how to use these tools effectively and understand how differences in barometric pressure and airflow can affect ventilation. We’re fortunate to have one of the nation’s best mining engineering programs located in our own backyard, and anytime we can assist with educating the next generation of miners, we’re happy to help.”
“Ventilation is a core class in our mining curriculum,” says Dr. Stewart Gillies, professor of mining engineering at Missouri S&T and director of the Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center. “Over the years, the number of students we educate and the technology used in mining has changed. This donation from Doe Run allows our students to become familiar with the most modern versions of these tools, as well as more traditional versions. By increasing the available number of barometers and anemometers, we enable students to have more time to get comfortable with the tools they will use every day underground.”
Anemometers measure the velocity of air flow in order to determine the volume of air flowing through an area of the mine. Barometers measure atmospheric air pressure, which determines the resistances to air flow through the mine. These pressure measurements are used in the design of a mine’s ventilation system, including sizing fans, vent shafts and ventilation drifts, along with determining the optimal placement of bulkheads, regulators and air doors. Maintaining airflow is important to mine operations.
Missouri S&T’s mining engineering department includes around 200 undergraduate and graduate students and is one of only 14 mining engineering degree programs in the U.S. The U.S. mining industry is projected to expand by approximately 50,000 employees by 2019 and will require an additional 78,000 replacement employees due to retirement to continue to provide these valuable minerals and metals.
In Missouri, mining supports more than 33,380 jobs and ranks 13th out of the 50 states for jobs contributed by metal mining.