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Sumitomo Pogo renews support of engineering research, students

Sumitomo Pogo Mine has renewed its support of mining engineering graduate students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a new $1 million gift to the Mining Engineering Research Endowment.

The gift will augment the company’s three-year, $1 million pledge in 2011 and will provide a steady source of research funding for mining engineers seeking advanced training through graduate degrees.

“UAF is an important contributor to Alaska’s – and the world’s - mining industry. The research and mining challenges tackled by UAF have real world applications and the UAF graduates we have working at Pogo are some of our best and brightest,” said Chris Kennedy, Sumitomo Pogo general manager. “We are proud of our affiliation with the UAF mining engineering program and are pleased to offer such significant support.”

The mining engineering program was one of the first at UAF, which was founded in 1917 as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. Since then, the university has served as a training ground for mining engineers for companies throughout the state, as well as the nation and world. As part of that mission, UAF has formed partnerships with companies like Pogo Mine. The company has been an active partner in the student-run Silver Fox mine, donating ground control supplies and personal protective equipment, and has hired several graduates of the mining and geological engineering program.

The endowment will provide research funding for up to four students per year, said Rajive Ganguli, chair of the mining and geological engineering department at UAF. Because the funding source is more stable than grants, it will allow researchers to explore more complicated and long-term projects. That’s important, he said, because mining in Alaska is technically challenging.

“The timing of this gift is also notable, because the mining industry in Alaska is poised for significant growth,” Ganguli said. “The endowment will allow UAF to be ready to respond to that growth by training engineers with the advanced skills needed to be successful in Alaska’s complex mining environment.”

Pogo is an underground mine located about 38 miles northeast of Delta Junction near the Goodpaster River. The deposit was discovered in 1994 and the mine began operation in 2005 and runs about 2,500 tons of material a day. The mine steadily provides jobs for more than 400 employees and contractors.
 

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