Two teams from Montana Tech participated in the 45th International Collegiate Mining Competition in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia on March 21-26.
The Orediggers placed 2nd and 9th in the competition out of 15 men’s teams, which requires students to compete in traditional mining tasks. Categories in the event include hand steel drilling, jackleg drilling, Swede saw, survey, gold panning, track stand, and hand mucking. The teams also brought home first place in hand steel and jackleg drilling. Photos of the event show the students sweaty from the triple-digit heat, and dirty from performing traditional mining work. This year’s Oredigger teams were comprised entirely of men, though Montana Tech Department of Mining Engineering Chair Scott Rosenthal hopes that there will be a women’s team next year.
“It was great meeting other students studying similar disciplines from around the world and making lifelong connections, “said team member McKoy Gebhardt. “It was cool to tour mine sites in a different country to better understand different mining methods and ideas.”
The group visited an underground mine, a surface mine, and the Goldfields Water Supply, a 300-mile water pipeline completed for mining purposes in 1903, and was the longest water pipeline in the world at the time. “The old professor has to ensure they get an educational component,” Scott Rosenthal added. “But they also got a little beach time in, too.”
“Having the opportunity to even go to Australia was incredible and the fact that companies took time to give tours was a huge bonus,” said team member Presten Ehrlich.
Team member Nathan Haglin was glad to have experienced the games.
“First comp was a success!” Haglin said. “We formed many great connections, gained understanding of Australian mining practices, and experienced the trip of a lifetime!”
Montana Tech is one of the only teams that has competed every year since 1979 in the mining games. Next year, Montana Tech will host the international competition on its campus.
The Mining Engineering Department is looking forward to playing host.
“Being able to reconnect with friends from around the world each year is the best part of the mining competition,” Nick Warman said.