In Focus: Underground mining at Montana Tech

Montana Tech students drilled, pried, and stomped through the mud and rock inside of Montana Tech’s underground mine, the Orphan Boy, during their Practical Underground Mining class with Scott Rosenthal, an associate professor and department chair in Mining Engineering, on Wednesday, Feb. 21. The Orphan Boy, which records from the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives indicate existed as early as 1875, was acquired by Montana Tech in 2010 and developed the Underground Mine Education Center (UMEC). It is also the country’s only on-campus underground mine, Rosenthal said. “We have a long reputation for being hands on. They learn about rock bolts, blasting … and they can use what they learn in class.” Montana Tech will additionally be hosting the 46th International Mining Competition from March 21-23 on their campus, with teams from around the world competing in seven different events.

Marshall Cornwall uses a jackleg drill while drilling blast holes on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024 in the Montana Tech Orphan Boy mine during the Practical Underground Mining class.

JOSEPH SCHELLER, The Montana Standard

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