Mining student team takes first place in design competition

4/3/2007 7:00:00 AM

The first time was the charm for students from the University of Nevada, Reno's Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering.

Not only did the Mackay School enter a team in the Society for Mining Metallurgy and Exploration (SME)/National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) Student Design Competition for the first time, students from Nevada won the entire competition. The Mackay School is an academic unit within the University's College of Science.

The team consisted of John Beatie, John Gates, team captain Joshua Kantor, Noah Millet, William Newman and Reed Tolotti. The team's faculty advisor was Pierre Mousset-Jones, professor of mining engineering.

Four other schools sent teams: Colorado School of Mines; the University of Kentucky; the University of Missouri-Rolla; and Virginia Tech (which sent two teams). University of Missouri-Rolla was the two-time defending champion.

The Student Design Competition was conducted in two parts. The first on-campus portion featured information given to each team on a limestone deposit, including topography, drill-hole data and information on nearby towns.

"The task was to design an underground mine while considering environmental, safety, community, and health concerns," Kantor said. "A report was then submitted to the competition committee. The second portion of the competition was held (last month) in Denver, Colo. The teams were given the task of designing the mineral processing portion of the mine design in the first stage of the competition. The team was then to present on their mine design, outlining both the capital and operating costs for the mine and the mill, the net present value of the project, and the relative risk involved in the project. Other items considered were the environmental, community relations, safety, and health impacts of the project."

Both the written report and the presentation were judged by members of the aggregate industry. Aggregate is sand, gravel and crushed stone, and is considered one of the top non-fuel mineral resources in the world.

The report and presentation counted for half of the total score. After the completion of judging, it was announced that the University of Nevada had won the competition. The winner the previous two years, the University of Missouri-Rolla, took third place. Virginia Tech's senior team came in second.

In addition to the competition, the SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition is designed to serve as a forum for employers in the aggregate industry to meet students seeking careers in the industry and to evaluate students as potential employees. The competition gives industry representatives an opportunity to see future leaders in action.


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