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$1 million Pogo gift supports engineering research, students



Fairbanks, Alaska—The University of Alaska Fairbanks and Sumitomo Pogo Mine today announced a gift to support graduate student research in mining engineering at UAF.

The three-year, $1 million endowment from Sumitomo Pogo Joint Venture will provide a steady source of research funding for mining engineers seeking advanced training through graduate degrees.

The U.S. Bureau of Mines, which was closed in the mid-1990s, used to provide federal funding for mining research. Since its closure, funding for masters- and doctorate-level training has been in short supply, said Rajive Ganguli, chairman of the mining and geological engineering department at UAF.

“Besides strengthening the mining engineering program, the endowment will result in more mining engineers with advanced training,” he said. “If Alaska is to fully realize the potential of its mineral wealth, it will need the mining engineers, with their advanced skills for finding solutions to Alaska problems.”

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 mining industry constantly struggles with finding knowledgeable, talented and experienced employees,” said Chris Kennedy, Sumitomo Pogo general manager. “Pogo has several engineers working on site who have attending the UAF engineering program and, with time spent in the field, are now some of Pogo’s shining stars because of the knowledge and training they gained at UAF.”

Kennedy said UAF’s engineering program is vital to the continued health of the mining industry. That made the endowment a good investment.
“UAF provides the opportunity for students to be successful in the industry and that is important to Sumitomo and Pogo,” he said. “These funds will help sustain the program and that is the right thing to do to further strengthen the industry.”

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 nearly 400 employees and contractors.

 

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