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Montana Tech Mining Team Successful at Competition and Ready to Host Event in 2016


The 2015 Montana Tech Mining Team at the International Mining Competition.What do 12 Montana Tech students, 13 days, and over 20,000 miles have in common? The 37th International Mining Games! In March, 12 Montana Tech students and two advisors traveled to Kalgoorlie, Western Australia to compete in the Intercollegiate Mining Competition held every year. Montana Tech took two teams, a men’s and a co-ed, with each team having 6 members.

The teams competed in seven different events:

  • Hand Steel, hammering a steel into a cement block for a total time of 10 minutes, or two minutes per team member and the deepest hole wins.
  • Swede saw, competitors saw a 4”x4” timber for fastest time.
  • Gold pan, best team time to recover 5 lead pieces.
  • Hand Mucking, push an empty ore car to the end of a 70 foot track and back, shoveling the car full with dirt, then pushing it to the end and back again for best time.
  • Track Stand, competitors are timed to set up and tear down a section of rail track.
  • Jackleg Drilling, two member teams drill for a set time to achieve the most depth with their holes; and,
  • Survey, closest to locate a set point given other points in a survey course.

Overall, both Montana Tech teams did very well. The co-ed team, consisting of 4 girls and 2 guys, placed 10th overall with a 4th place in Jackleg Drilling (depth of 445.8 cm), a 6th place in Hand Mucking (time of 3 minutes and 16 seconds), and a 7th place in both Hand Steel and Track Stand. The men’s team placed 3rd overall with event places of 2nd in both Survey and Swede Saw (an impressive time of 1 minute and 7 seconds), 3rd in Jackleg, and 5th in both Gold Pan and Hand Steel.

While the competition was the main reason for traveling to Australia, there was a little play and educational opportunities involved with the teams’ work. While in Perth, the team spent time on the beach, shopping, and even going to an Australian Rules football game! A mine tour of the Boddington Gold Mine was arranged thanks to the support of Newmont Mining. In Kalgoorlie, a mine visit to the Super Pit and several museums were squeezed into the schedule. The competitors did have an opportunity to spend time hanging out with other teams from the United States, Australia, England, and even Brazil.

Overall, the entire trip was a great experience, and the whole team is looking forward to next year’s competition to be held in Butte on the Montana Tech Competition Grounds March 30 through April 3 2016. For keeping up to date, or if you want to see pictures from the trip, check out the Montana Tech Mining Team on Facebook.