Tucson is close to mines like Freeport-McMoRan’s Morenci, the state’s largest copper producer, and is a technology hub for mining – it’s home to major suppliers like Caterpillar, Komatsu and Hexagon.
The AU School of Mining will be the first institution in the world to take a holistic approach to mineral resource management, incorporating a focus on environmental, social and government (ESG) issues. The AU is ranked third in the country among mining and mining engineering programs and is home to the San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory, the only mining laboratory in the United States with a functional vertical shaft.
“The whole idea for the school arose because the University of Arizona is in a unique position to intersect mining knowledge with other critical areas. We are known for having created an interdisciplinary center for mining research and education, ”Moe Momayez, associate professor of mining and geological engineering at the University of Arizona, told MINING.com.
The school offers programs such as Global mining law, the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining and the Geotechnical Center of Excellence.
“I think the school is going to be the vehicle for us to promote mining to students and stakeholders – I see the school working to change the public perception of mining,” Momayez said. “I realize it’s a tall order, but the director is going to have a full crew.”
In addition to classes, students spend time in St. Xavier’s underground mining lab, “a unique facility that we use to train our students, provide them with hands-on experience, we do mine ventilation, safety and security. mine health, rock mechanics, ground support, equipment maintenance.
Momayez said the lab is heavily instrumented, with sensors monitoring the mine environment, and is expanding to accommodate larger equipment in the cross section.
“We can broadcast data outside the mines so that students and researchers can have real-time system data,” he said.
Momayez stressed that the minerals the world needs to power the new green economy must be mined to build the necessary solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars, and that the minerals essential to daily life are all returned to mines, everything by recognizing a common misconception about mining.
“The reality is that we will need minerals for decades, centuries to come if we are to maintain the same levels of economic prosperity. ”
Momayez said it is not only students and the general public who need to be educated, but also politicians and non-government agencies.
“They are the ones who must realize that the basis of our civilization is mining. And we cannot maintain our lives, our civilization, if we stop mining, ”he said.
President Joe Biden has stressed the need to establish national supply chains for essential minerals, but major mining projects are halted in the United States and new royalties on the industry are introduced.
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“On the one hand, everyone says essential minerals are very critical for the future and security of the nation, but on the other hand, they don’t help the mining industry,” Momayez said.
“This is where I think we need to reach out to politicians, to government, and start educating them about mining and the role that mining plays. I see there a huge void that must be filled.