San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory
Training Students, Protecting Miners and Informing the Community
The Henry G. “Hank” Grundstedt San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory is the only mining lab with a working vertical shaft in the United States. The laboratory for research and training has been operated by the UA Department of Mining and Geological Engineering since 1958 and owned by the university since 1975.
Located on a 90-acre facility, the four-level mine is 250 feet at its deepest and home to one of the most sophisticated research hoists in the country. The department renamed the mine for MGE alumnus and benefactor Hank Grundstedt in 2005 and has transformed the facility into a modern resource for students, industry representatives and community members.
Classmates Roll Up Their Sleeves and Get to Work
Activities at the lab complement MGE courses and help students prepare for international mining competitions as well as jobs in industry. Working with the latest technology in mining and excavation, students get hands-on experience in mine development, unit operations and maintenance. Many students do weekly eight-hour shifts in the mine.
Agencies Train Mine Workers in Safety
Federal and state agencies, as well as organizations devoted to underground research, tunnel safety and mine rescue, partner with the facility. For example, the university and the Laborers’ International Union of North America established a cooperative health and safety training program for underground construction and tunneling workers. More than 300 miners from across seven states have participated since 2000.
Department Leads Tours to Educate the Public
MGE hosts community tours and activities and conducts K-12 STEM outreach at the mine to educate the general public on the importance of the mineral and construction industries. In spring 2017, members of the Arizona Technology Council spent a day at the mine watching jackleg demonstrations, learning about university research projects and exploring the underground facility.