Montana Tech Receives Equipment Donation from Sibanye Stillwater


The Montana Tech Underground Mine Education Center (UMEC) has received a large equipment donation from Sibanye Stillwater. The Fletcher N3114-AD/E Narrow Vein Bolter was previously at Sibanye Stillwater's East Boulder Mine. Montana Tech Mining Engineering faculty and students will use the bolter to install rock bolts throughout the on-campus underground mine. The heavy-duty bolter will expand the Mining Department's ability to perform rock bolt testing and research.

"While this new machine will help to install various types of rock bolts that can be troublesome with a jackleg drill, the real advantage is the improvement it makes in student and faculty safety," noted Chris Roos, Assistant Professor and Interim Department Head in Mining Engineering. "Previously, in certain areas of the mine, we would stand and work off of the muck pile to support the freshly blasted heading. This increases exposure to trip and fall hazards as well as falling rocks. The elevated work platform and protective canopy on this machine will significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of both of those hazards. We are grateful for this continued support from Sibanye Stillwater. Our industry sponsors make it possible for us to have this world-class facility on the Montana Tech campus."

Fletcher Mining Equipment facilitated the donation for Montana Tech. They also donated technician time to refurbish the machine before delivering it to campus.

UMEC, the only on-campus underground mine in the country, provides students with a unique hands-on, transformational education experience. The center offers an interdisciplinary experience that complements courses in mining engineering, geological engineering, environmental engineering, metallurgical engineering, and occupational safety and health. It also serves as a research facility utilized by students, faculty, and other organizations to research underground mining methods, rock mechanics, ventilation, fragmentation, and health and safety. Presently, over 3,000 ft. of workings comprise UMEC, including the Orphan Boy and Orphan Girl Mines, new developments, and the 100 ft. Orphan Boy shaft station.