Thyssen Mining to excavate space at Long Baseline Neutrino Facility

November 18, 2020

Thyssen Mining Company has signed a three-year contract to excavate more than 725 kt (800,000 st) of rock to build three caverns for the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) at the Sanford Lab in Lead, SD.

Thyssen is expected to bring about 110 jobs for the underground project that will begin in April 2021.

“Thyssen Mining strongly believes in supporting the community,” Ryan Moe, U.S. General Manager with the company told the Black Hills Pioneer. “We believe that by engaging with the local community and hiring local employees, we benefit from their experiences. Here in Lead, S.D., there is a rich tradition of mining, and we look forward to integrating their knowledge and experience.”

The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is an international flagship experiment to unlock the mysteries of neutrinos. DUNE will be installed in the LBNF and will help scientists will paint a clearer picture of the universe and how it works.

DUNE will pursue three major science goals: find out whether neutrinos could be the reason the universe is made of matter; look for subatomic phenomena that could help realize Einstein’s dream of the unification of forces; and watch for neutrinos emerging from an exploding star, perhaps witnessing the birth of a neutron star or a black hole.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab is the host laboratory for DUNE, in partnership with funding agencies and more than 1,000 scientists from all over the globe. They contribute expertise and components, which provide economic benefits to each of the partner institutions and countries. DUNE consists of massive neutrino detectors, at Fermilab in Illinois and Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. LBNF produces the world’s most intense neutrino beam and provides the infrastructure. The PIP-II particle accelerator at Fermilab powers the neutrino beam.

In order to build the LBNF, Thyssen Mining will excavate about 725 kt (800,000 st) of rock to build three caverns that will be about seven stories tall and will cover an area of about two football fields. That rock will be moved up a vertical shaft from the 4,850 level of the Sanford Underground Research Facility, and transported about 4,200-feet on conveyor belts, across Highway 14A and dumped into Lead’s Open Cut.

The total underground footprint of the facility will be about four acres.

According to the company website, Thyssen Mining Company has interests around the world, including Germany, Russia, Australia, South Africa and more. Executives from the company are scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Deadwood-Lead Economic Development meeting, Dec. 1.



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