The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Mining Association (NMA) have come together to provide more than $16 million in funding to improve mining safety, energy efficiency and productivity in the U.S. mining industry.
DOE is contributing over $8 million in grants to 16 industry and university partnerships.
The industry-government alliance invests in promising "cross-cutting" research that is too costly or risky for companies to sponsor on their own.
The focus of the effort is to develop new mining technologies to help ensure the heath and safety of employees, protect the environment and reduce energy consumption.
"In cooperation with DOE, these new, forward-thinking projects will employ technologies to better protect the health and safety of our employees, while mining and processing higher quality mineral more efficiently and at lower costs," said Richard Lawson, NMA president and CEO.
The 16 projects were chosen from among 64 proposals received in open competition and bring together 62 companies, 11 universities, four DOE laboratories and three government agencies.
The partnerships span 26 states, the District of Columbia, Australia and Canada.
Technologies such as engineered roof bolting and revolutionary excavation technologies are examples of the things that will be researched to make mining safer for all workers.
Replacing an underground diesel engine with a fuel cell vehicle could reduce a worker''s exposure to breathable particulates and wireless underground communication are other examples.
by Virginia Sutcliffe