The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation made a $1 million gift to Colorado School of Mines to support extensive renovations and upgrades to the Edgar Mine, the university’s experimental mine facility located in Idaho Springs, CO.
“This significant investment by the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation will not only strengthen earth sciences education programs at Mines, but also foster ongoing innovation in the mining engineering industry, facilitate expanded training for mine safety and rescue operations, and create a modern facility for experiential learning and community outreach,” said Mines President Bill Scoggins. “We’re grateful for Freeport’s leadership in this endeavor, and we are excited to work together to preserve and enhance this unique resource and to create a fitting showcase of the 21st century mining industry.”
“This gift represents our commitment to the highest quality mining education, including facilities that provide faculty and students the best opportunities to apply knowledge, think critically and innovate before they ever enter the workplace,” said Red Conger president of Freeport-McMoRan Americas and a 1977 Mines graduate.
The funding will be used for the first phase of a comprehensive, multimillion-dollar revitalization project including upgrades to a dry building and underground classroom, as well as improvements to the electrical, sewer and ventilation systems.
“We are extremely proud to be able to support the school’s Edgar Mine and its mission to provide an enhanced learning environment for improving mine operations and safety, and its function as a focal point for community outreach to help increase public awareness of our industry,” said Mike Kendrick, president of Climax Molybdenum Company, a Freeport-McMoRan company that owns and operates the Climax and Henderson molybdenum mines in Colorado. Kendrick is a 1984 graduate of Mines.
With more than 800 students enrolled in earth sciences disciplines at Mines, the Edgar Mine is widely used as a unique underground laboratory for hands-on learning. The university awards 20 percent of mining engineering degrees in the U.S. each year and a state-of-the-art facility representing the industry as it operates today is anticipated to draw additional student interest in the field. In addition, mine safety and rescue training programs at the Edgar Mine are in high demand. Nearly 700 companies and organizations have trained at the facility throughout its history.
In the 1870s, the Edgar Mine produced high-grade silver, gold, lead and copper. It was named for the Edgar mineral vein that runs along the hillside above the mine. The university acquired the mine in 1921. Learn more about the history and features of the Edgar Mine at mines.edu/EdgarMine.
The university will seek additional private industry support to complete phases two and three of the renovation project, which is currently in design with construction anticipated to begin early this year.