UAF engineering brings the blast back to Fox Mine

By Zayn Roohi

Sun Star Reporter

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Student manager Mickey Wilson prepares to remove sections of tubing to create room for the upcoming Silver Fox Mine blast on Oct. 24. Photo by Zayn Roohi

The UAF Mining Engineering department will blast the Silver Fox Mine on Oct. 24, an event which has not taken place since the early 90s.

“I think they’re going to charge the explosives around 6AM, go have a nice breakfast, and then blow things up,” Rajive Ganguli, department chair of the Mining program said.

The Silver Fox Mine, 2o miles north of campus off the Elliot Highway, was acquired by UAF in 1977 from Turry and Annette Anderson, and is a completely student run operation. The current mine manager is engineering student Mickey Wilson, who teaches several classes at the mine.

UAF is only one of roughly 13 universities in the country that has a mining engineering program, and the only one that has a mine for its students to learn in according to Ganguli.

“We go out there and teach students the basics so they know what’s going on before internships or jobs,” Wilson said. Last week, students were at the mine learning about underground surveying.

The blast is going to be a massive exercise in safety protocol, and an incredible learning experience for the students, according to Ganguli. Students will learn first hand about all the steps, from paperwork to charging the explosives to the safety rules.

Once the mine has been blasted, it will start a whole new process of clearing out the rock, which creates an empty void, which needs to be supported. The rock will not be processed for metals, as the mine is not currently producing.

“UAF is the only university where you can blow up academia property and get credit for it,” Ganguli said.

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