New Mine Safety Chair to Improve Lives of Utah’s Miners

January 29, 2009 -Mining is one of Utah’s oldest industries and produces billions of dollars worth of minerals each year. To aid in the safe pursuit of this important enterprise, the University of Utah is pleased to announce the endowment of the Western Mining Presidential Chair in Mine Safety. A formal ceremony announcing the creation of this chair will be held Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, at 2:15 p.m., in the lobby of the Frederick A. Sutton Building at the University of Utah, 115 S. 1460 E., Salt Lake City.

The $1.5 million endowment is being created through an effort led by Mr. J. Brett Harvey, President and C.E.O. of Consol Energy, and Greg Lang, President of Barrick Gold North America. “In establishing this Endowed Chair in Mine Safety, the University is sending an unmistakable message that the students who endeavor to acquire an education in the School of Mining not only will receive world-class training as mining engineers, but will graduate understanding that safety must be at the cultural core of any successful mining enterprise,” said Harvey. “This is what will be required of the engineering graduates if they are to become our industry’s future leaders.”

The new chair will be part of the university’s Department of Mining Engineering, in the College of Mines and Earth Sciences, and will be filled by someone with skill and experience in mining engineering, mine safety or a closely related discipline. Chair of the Department of Mining Engineering Michael G. Nelson says the creation of the program is long overdue. “We are so grateful to the executives of these two companies, and our other donors, for their concern for the people involved with this important Utah industry,” said Nelson. “Mining involves hazards that can be mitigated, and the knowledge gained and passed on through this endowment chair will do just that.”

The holder of the Chair in Mine Safety will provide specific instruction in the technology and practices of modern mine safety for university students, and the mining community at large. Frank H. Brown, dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences, is excited about the new mining techniques and preventative measures that are sure to come from the new chair. “The holder of this chair will conduct an active research program, emphasizing worker health and safety in the mining industry,” said Brown. “It’s more than just passing on the best mining practices already in place-it is hoped that, in addition, new life-saving mining techniques will be developed.”

The Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Utah is well known for academic rigor and the quality of its graduates, and it is the only program in Utah that leads to Bachelor of Science and advanced degrees in Mining Engineering. Graduates of this program design, operate, manage, regulate, and reclaim mines and mining facilities in a profitable, safe, and environmentally responsible manner.

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