Students are introduced to real equipment and mining practices at the Experimental Mine, enabling them to develop an understanding of some of the engineering problems that occur in actual mining situations.
For example, students in the mine surveying course gain hands-on experience with a variety of equipment and techniques by conducting surface and underground mine surveying tasks. In addition, students in various mining engineering courses can design, drill and blast drift openings, conduct mine ventilation surveys, evaluate mine roof conditions, and install roof supports, among others.
In 2016, the new Kennedy Experimental Mine Building was open to students, faculty, and the public. The new facility houses a mine rescue laboratory, mucking stations, separate mine dry houses for men and women, three new classrooms, offices, warehouse space, and a historic center for the mining industry. Generous donations from William Kennedy and industry partners made this new facility possible and will ensure that we continue to educate our students with the best facilities.
The Mine itself is the site of many interesting research projects by S&T faculty and students. These include explosives tests, mine fire tests, tests on lithium-ion battery fire tests, and ground control monitoring. Many novel discoveries have been enabled by tests done at the Mine.
The Mine also provides guided tours and various informational programs to introduce the general public (especially K-12 students) to the mining industry. For example, it was the filming site for the lab portions of the Discovery series "The Detonators". Each summer, the Mine hosts Missouri S&T’s Explosives Camp, which is offered for rising 11th and 12th grade students. It is the first and only camp geared to students interested in explosives engineering. The Mine has been voted the most awesome college laboratory by Popular Science.
The initial purchase of land for the Experimental Mine was made in 1914 from Edwin Long, and an underground mine and quarry were subsequently developed on the property for use by Missouri S&T's Department of Mining Engineering.
By 1921, a horizontal opening (adit) had been driven into bedrock, which is a dolomite limestone of the Jefferson City formation. Several structures also were completed by this time, including housing for a steam boiler, air compressor, blacksmith shop, and mine hoist.
By 1945, a major part of the current room and pillar underground mine had been completed, one quarry had been developed and three vertical shafts had been installed. The original buildings were reconditioned during the next four years, and a new mine office-changehouse-warehouse building was constructed in 1949.
The expanded activity at the mine brought about the need for additional surface and underground space. Twelve acres of adjacent land were purchased from the Long estate in 1949, completing the 19 acres of the current site. About six acres of land was reserved as a right of way for the Frisco Railroad (Burlington-Northern).
By 1951 the west drift openings were completed. In 1956, a building was constructed to house the newly purchased ventilation fans and a second quarry was initiated. By this time, student and faculty research in rock mechanics, drilling, blasting, and explosives testing was underway. Research in these areas continued throughout the 60s and 70s and drift work was developed on the east side of the mine. The use of the mine increased through the 1970s and is used heavily today by students in geological and mining engineering. A classroom extension to the mine office building has been added along with a fourth shaft, a second underground mine for research purposes, two surface sites for blasting research, and mining equipment donated by manufacturers.