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12350 Spencer Road
Rolla, MO 65401
With the assistance of the minerals industry, students are introduced to current equipment and mining practices, enabling them to develop an understanding of some of the engineering problems that occur in actual mining situations. Students in the surveying class, for example, gain "hands-on" experience with a variety of equipment and techniques and encounter the actual problems of time limitation and weather. In addition, mining and geological engineering students are able to design, drill and blast drift openings; test their mental and physical skills; and obtain an understanding of the various situations involved in a working mine.
The Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center, a research facility of the School of Materials, Energy and Earth Resources, uses the Experimental Mine for many research projects. Projects sponsored by industry and government provide part-time employment opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as valuable engineering and research experience.
Our mine rescue teams use the mine to practice real life scenarios and compete against industry teams from across the nation. Our mucking teams also use the mine to train for competitions on an international level.
The mine also serves as an introduction to the mineral industry in Missouri for the public through guided tours and various informational programs. It is the filming site for the lab portions of the Discovery series "The Detonators". Each summer Explosives Camp is offered for rising 11th and 12th grade students. It is the first and only camp geared to students interested in explosives engineering.
History of the Mine
The initial purchase of land for the Experimental Mine was made in 1914 from Edwin Long, and an underground mine and quarry were subsequently developed on the property for use by Missouri S&T's department of mining engineering.
By 1921, a horizontal opening (adit) had been driven into bedrock, which is a dolomite limestone of the Jefferson City formation. Several structures also were completed by this time, including housing for a steam boiler, air compressor, blacksmith shop and mine hoist.
By 1945, a major part of the current room and pillar underground mine had been completed, one quarry had been developed and three vertical shafts had been installed. The original buildings were reconditioned during the next four years, and a new mine office-changehouse-warehouse building was constructed in 1949.
The expanded activity at the mien brought about the need for additional surface and underground space. Twelve acres of adjacent land were purchased from the Long estate in 1949, completing the 19 acres of the current site. About six acres of land was reserved as a right of way for the Frisco Railroad (Burlington-Northern).
By 1951 the west drift openings were completed. In 1956, a building was constructed to house the newly purchased ventilation fans and a second quarry was initiated. By this time, student and faculty research in rock mechanics, drilling, blasting, and explosives testing was under way. Research in these areas continued throughout the 60s and 70s and drift work was developed on the east side of the mine. Use of the mine increased through the 1970s and is used heavily today by students in geological and mining engineering. A classroom extension to the mine office building has been added along with a fourth shaft, a second underground mine for research purposes, two surface sites for blasting research and mining equipment donated by manufacturers.
Missouri S&T Experimental Mine today.
Future of the Mine
On April 20, 2010 ground was broken on a new mine building. The new facility will house three new laboratories, mine rescue and mucking stations, separate mine dry houses for men and women, three new classrooms, offices, warehouse space, and a historic center for the mining industry. The generous donations from industry partners will ensure we continue to have excellent equipment for educating our students.