All About Mining 2019 summer road trip journal

The All About Mining class wrapped up on Friday, June 21 and we sure did have a good group of teachers to take on this adventure.

We spent our first two days on the Colorado School of Mines campus where we were treated to some follow up lectures on geology, mining, metallurgy, sustainability and social license. There were experiments for the teachers to participate in and graduate students for them to question and help them get familiar with the experiments. Our third day found us at the Edgar mine and, as always, it was a great experience for many reasons. They had a safety lecture, a tour, a bird’s eye view of the research going on at the mine and a bit of history, as well. A very good day had by all.

Monday, we arrived at the Henderson mine for our first tour. Calvin, Tom and Lonnie were our great tour guides and showed the teachers the process from LHD to crushing. The teachers were definitely impressed with this large operation underground. We had to run off after our tour so we could make our appointment at the Tri-State Generation plant in Craig with Tim, who was so gracious and nice. The tour was quite interesting to the teachers and he then took us all out for dinner at the favorite Mexican restaurant.

Tuesday morning found us at Trapper. It had rained pretty well so our tour was quite muddy, but great. Michael Morriss came in and spoke to the teachers and we had a photo op with him before the tour. The tour was headed up by Tonia, the mine engineer, and Graham. We spent quite a while taking in the equipment and the process, with the mandatory photo op by the dragline and, of course, in the drag line bucket! Off to the Natural Soda mine and plant where Kirk and Gerry gave us a great tour of the plant and drilling sites. The teachers find this so very interesting, as they get to see the whole process from drying and processing to a bagged finished product.

Wednesday morning we were off to American Gypsum. Another great tour of the plant and mine! Jon and Tim took us through the wallboard plant (another favorite with the teachers) and on up to the mine to watch the mining process. The weather was about perfect at this moment and we took some good photos from the mine site. Then off we went to Leadville and the National Mining Museum and Hall of Fame. Francine met the teachers and gave them a quick history of the museum and off they went to explore. It is always a favorite place to visit. When they had finished their tour, we boarded the bus and off to Cripple Creek we went.

Thursday morning found us meeting Brad and Rob, to take us on their bus for a spectacular tour. They took us to the usual spots to talk about the mining process, and then took us to the mill where metallurgist, Chase, took us on an in-depth tour of the mill. The whole tour was around five hours long, after which Brad and Rob took us to lunch in Cripple Creek. Onto our bus once again and off to Pueblo we went.

Friday morning was the EVRAZ facility. Joe always sets us up with a great tour. We saw the wire mill, the rail mill and we saw the steel making section (all three in one tour—wow!). The wire mill was making wire at a very fast pace, which is always impressive to see. The rail mill was down due to a “cobble”, meaning a rail had jumped and they had to stop the process, but we toured it anyway as the process is still pretty easy to imagine. The steel making plant was getting a change of electrode in the furnace and as it goes into the broken steel and starts the sparks flying it gives everyone a jump or two! Really fun and they fed us pizza and drinks as we had to be on our way to Golden for our Martin Marietta quarry tour. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t work in our favor. It rained so much and for so long that we felt it may be better to postpone this tour. We were disappointed, but we talked about the operation and what they were missing, and since they had been through the other sites, they understood the process a bit better.

All of the students/teachers were amazed at the treatment they received and the generosity of the mine sites. They were grateful for the opportunity and overall so very happy.

Shannon Mann
Course Coordinator – Colorado Mining Association Education Foundation