Fairbanks community has a blast at Silver Fox Mine

By Zayn Roohi,

Photo Editor

UAF students successfully blasted the student ran Silver fox mine early in the day on October 24. The Silver Fox mine is located 20 miles north of campus and owned by the university, but is completely ran by students.

Students hoped to increase the length of the Silver Fox mine during the blast that took place on Oct. 24. – Zayn Roohi / Sun Star Photo Editor

“That went super well, a lot better than I expected. Everyone liked it, everyone cheered,” Mine manager Mickey Wilson said. Unlike what he was expecting, there were no flying rocks and all the dangerous gases were properly ventilated out.

The students working at the mine voted for Chris Kennedy, general manager of the Pogo mine, to press the button.

Wilson originally came up with the idea for the mine three years ago when he first became mine manager. However, It wasn’t until last spring that they actually started working towards it, according to Silver Fox mine co-manager Brian Cook.

Wilson expressed that it was difficult to convince professors to let students load 120 pounds of explosives onto their property. After a lot of paperwork, the university allowed him to go forward with the blast.

Pogo mine safety representative Mike Cammack wears a big smile on his face after the blast goes successfully. Zayn Roohi / Sun Star Photo Editor

Since that time, the mine has gained support from various businesses, like Orica, who provided the ammonium nitrate explosives, or Pogo, who provided the jackleg that dug the holes for explosives.

According to Wilson, the amount of paperwork increased about a week ago, when the university realized they were serious.

“I don’t think they [the university] actually believed us, because about a week ago they asked us ‘are you actually going to blow it up,’” Wilson said.

The actual work on the mine didn’t start until four days ago; the students feared that the mine could collapse if they dug the holes for the explosives too early.

Also present was Turry Anderson, who started the mine with his family back in the ‘40s. His dad would blast, and his brother would dig out the rocks. However, the mine did not make much money, and they soon turned to tourism.

Pogo mine safety representative Mike Cammack lays down the wire leading to the detonator in the moments before the blast. – Zayn Roohi / Sun Star Photo Editor

“It was better mining tourists than rocks,” Anderson said

In 1977, Anderson and his wife donated the mine to the university, who used it until the ‘90s when the front caved in. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that the mine entrance was dug out, and the mine started to become useful again.

It’s currently used as a teaching tool for students, classes will often go out to the mine to learn in a hands on experience. However, the mine hasn’t been blasted in as long as anyone can remember, according to Wilson.

“We hope to develop a yearly system of blasting, mucking, and then hauling away the rock,” Cook said.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *