August 7, 2017 / Training begins at Indiana’s only underground mining
VIDEOS, PHOTOS - click
FORT BRANCH, Ind. - Indiana’s only underground mining simulation
center is open and providing training to area miners. The $2 million
facility, completed in late May, is located at Vincennes Uiversity’s
Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics.
The mock mine has 11 entrances on three sides of the structure. VU
approved construction of the mock mine last year after receiving
funding for the project in the state budget. Krempp Construction,
Inc., Jasper, built the almost 40,000 square-foot facility.
“In addition to coal this new center will be useful for other types
of mining as well as for fire and rescue training and VU’s Homeland
Security and Law Enforcement programs,” said VU President Chuck Johnson.
Modeled after a simulated underground mine training facility at West
Virginia University, VU expects its new simulation center to attract
miners from throughout Indiana as well as Illinois and Kentucky.
VU is Indiana's designated recipient of federal grant funding from
the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to provide assistance
in the training and retraining of Indiana’s miners. The VU program was
initiated in October 2005 for miners in all segments of the mining
industry, including coal, sand and gravel, cement, crushed stone,
dimension limestone, gypsum, shale, and clay. VU's Mining program
provides the required training for new underground miners and new
surface miners, in addition to MSHA-required annual refresher training
for all miners.
Including both on-site and off-site instruction, VU has provided
4,637 miners with training so far in 2017 - up from 3,017 miners
trained in 2014 and 3,888 miners who completed the training in 2016.
“VU provides MSHA training to thousands of miners annually. This new
facility will add to our capacity to do that training,” Johnson said.
Coal is located in 18 counties in southwestern Indiana, with rock
mining located in most of Indiana’s 92 counties. According to the U.S.
Geological Survey, Indiana has 17 billion tons of recoverable coal.
Denzil Hughes, supervisor for Educational Field and Small Mine
Services for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, says the
new VU simulator is a model training facility that will attract
training from a wide geographic area.
“The original facility is probably one of the best classroom settings
we have in the Midwest. With the addition of the underground simulated
mine, the training will be limitless,” Hughes said, citing plans to
have future mine rescue contests at the Gibson County Center.
The mock mine is located behind VU’s Gibson County Center for
Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics, a leading resource for workforce
development. The 57,000 square-foot facility features modern and
flexible training labs and classrooms that serve employers, employees,
and students within southwestern Indiana’s industrial corridor. It is
located on U.S. 41 near Fort Branch and just a few miles from
Interstate highways 64 and 69.
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College
VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper and
additional sites such as Indianapolis, Lebanon, and Gibson County. A
leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers
instruction at military sites throughout the nation.
In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and
certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in
technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs
in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.
VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 35 other states, and 17
countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with
residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only
college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become
President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S.
President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana
Territory. More information is available at www.vinu.edu.