Included in a legislative package aimed to advance funding for mine cleanup efforts was a bill that addresses the nationwide deficiency in mining expertise. Specifically, the Mining School Enhance Act amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 by directing the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement) to distribute 70 percent of the funds made available for the Applied Science Tech Transfer Program to Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredited Mining Engineering Programs and Departments. These research grants must include significant involvement from undergraduate and graduate students.
Over the past two decades, a number of schools have shut down their mining programs due to the costs associated with the programs which leads to less and less opportunity and funding for mining research. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.
As noted in IME’s letter of endorsement, “IME believes that knowledge is a basic underpinning of safety – and the more knowledgeable engineers are about mining practices, including blasting, the more likely the industry will be able to improve both its efficiency and safety.”