Ruby Barickman stood mesmerized watching a 29-ton drill bit, or reamer, boring an exhaust hole 14 feet in diameter and 550 feet deep, backwards, from underground to the surface at a Rio Tinto mine site in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
The drill, or raise borer, one of only a few in North America, was assembled underground but operated from above ground, and that means fewer miners underground.
"I was at the bottom watching as it first started to spin around and drill upwards," said the 2012 University of Arizona mining engineering graduate. "It was a completely new process to me. Even a lot of the older people I was with had never seen that before."