Mining and Geological Engineering

Mining and Geological Engineering

Mining and Geological Engineering

At the graduate level, the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering at the University of Arizona includes research and education in a variety of geo-disciplines that are vitally important to society and the environment worldwide.

Mining and Mineral Resource Engineering

For the past 120 years, the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering at the University of Arizona has been the state’s sole provider of academic and research programs focused on mineral engineering and the science of non-renewable resources. Throughout this time, the MGE Department has been responsible for some of the world’s most dynamic innovations in mineral resource development, contributing to the state of Arizona’s present position as the nation’s most valuable non-fuel mineral production center.

Mining and material production has an immeasurable impact on the economy, providing the building blocks for products and technologies that form the core of American (and global) life. What resources we use may change, but the need for skilled engineers to safely gather raw material will be present for years to come. The field remains one of the highest earning careers in the engineering industry, with many graduates of our programs securing employment with major organizations.

Today, with the advent of green technology, mineral resource managers are tasked with the challenge of adapting to sustainable, renewable techniques, methods that promote harmony between industry and the natural world.

Geological Engineering

Geological Engineering is a unique combination of earth sciences and engineering that has broad applications in the fields of mining engineering, civil engineering, petroleum engineering, and earth and environmental sciences. The field stands at the forefront of some of the most important challenges facing society today. At the graduate level, we have a strong emphasis in geological engineering, with faculty that have expertise in geomechanics, geophysics, rock excavation, and reclamation.

Rock and soil make up the “Geo-Infrastructure” in the United States, which includes highway and rail slopes, dam, bridge and building foundations, tunnels, and other surface and underground excavations. This geo-infrastructure is growing older, posing a number of problems that demand the attention of experts in geological engineering. Safety hazards and high maintenance costs associated with the aging geo-infrastructure are major problems that require innovative solutions.

Geological engineering is also central to our scientific understanding of the techniques we use to extract natural gas and mineral resources, as well as assess risk and create safe solutions. The field is critical to the safe harvesting of these resources, as leaders work to effectively prevent issues like groundwater contamination and earthquakes caused by unsafe practices.

The mineral and geological engineering industries are in need of capable professionals that can take the lead and set the framework for an adaptable future. Our mission is to prepare aspiring engineers like you to pursue boundless innovation in the field through close faculty attention, hands-on courses, and practical internship opportunities. We strive to encourage lifelong learning and leadership, prompting the discovery of new findings regarding the resources we harvest and how they’re put to use.

To learn more about our online Graduate Programs in Mining and Geological Engineering, follow the links below:

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Course Descriptions

Introductory and advanced statistical methods and their applications in ecology. Focuses on how research design dictates choice of statistical models; explores principles and pitfalls of hypothesis testing.
Methods for estimating runoff from croplands, Universal Soil Loss Equation, design of terraces, waterways, small earth dams, erosion control structures. Graduate-level requirements include a special project.
Advanced economic and legal analysis of environmental and natural resource policies.

Course Requisites: ECON 361 recommended but not required. Must have graduate standing to enroll.

Settlement and bearing capacity of shallow and deep foundations; beam on elastic foundation; design of footings and pile foundations; foundations on metastable soils; the use of computer codes for foundation problems. Graduate-level requirements include the development of computer codes for the solution of specified foundation problems or an in-depth research paper on a specific aspect of foundation engineering.
Stability analysis for earth slopes, including planar, circular piecewise-linear, and composite-surface methods: analyses for static and steady-flow conditions; earth pressure theories and calculations for generalized conditions; design of rigid and flexible retaining structures; design of braced and tie-back shoring systems; design of reinforced earth walls; computer-aided analysis and design. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper and/or a comprehensive design project.
Principles of toxicology related to industry and the environment; dose response; mechanisms of toxicity; hazard evaluation principles; toxicology of major classes of industrial and environmental compounds.
Course will introduce students to the basic concepts and principles of epidemiology and how these concepts are applicable for their own particular interests and careers in epidemiology related fields.

Course Requisites: Epidemiology major or minor, MPH major, or consent of instructor.

Management processes/roles of public health professionals; health service organization; policy issues and resource utilization/control; human resources management; public health trends.
Course emphasizes health hazard sources, methods to identify & evaluate them, and framework used to effect hazard control. Students will evaluate public health issues, understand research designs, identify and evaluate factors important to the development of monitoring programs.
This course introduces biostatistical methods and applications, and will cover descriptive statistics, probability theory, and a wide variety of inferential statistical techniques that can be used to make practical conclusions about empirical data. Students will also be learning to use a statistical software package (STATA).

Course Requisites: One year of college-level mathematics.

This course is an overview of significant social, cultural and behavioral issues related to public health. Major public health problems and the influences of sociocultural issues are analyzed in relation to health behavior. Readings, discussions, films, and class experiences/assignments focus on understanding the social and cultural issues that influence health-related behavior among specific populations in the southwestern U.S., North America and internationally.
This course will provide the business financial knowledge and skills required for the technical professional to become an effective business manager and executive. Fundamentals of accounting, finance, financial analysis and decision making will be covered.
Univariate probabilistic and statistical methods: data reduction, basic probability concepts, discrete and continuous probability distributions, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, goodness-of-fit-tests; applications in geologic media. Introduction to a few statistical packages. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth term paper on an application.
The course emphasizes the processes of designing, financing, justifying, implementing, operating, and maintaining large-scale earth moving systems. Both fixed and mobile equipment is considered. The course is taught through a combination of lectures, case studies, field trips, practical design projects, industrial interaction and student centered learning. The course focuses on applications in mining, civil, and industrial engineering. Graduate-level requirement includes individual graduate project.
Taught alternate years beginning Fall 2002] Physical and chemical unit operations used to separate and recover the economic minerals and metals from their ores. The modern scientific and engineering background for the operations are presented as well as economic aspects. Includes field trips to major mining operations in Tucson area. Graduate-level requirements include an advanced research project.
Methods of excavation of rock in surface and underground mines and construction, ranging from the empiricism of conventional blasting practice to the application of the fundamental mechanics of rock fracture. Graduate-level requirements include a research project.
Tailings Storage Facility design (operation) is a multidisciplinary enterprise which requires broad background knowledge in many diverse fields: geotechnical engineering, mining engineering and mineral processing engineering. The responsibility for tailings disposal operation is usually given to mill superintendent or metallurgical engineer, and mining engineers are sometimes confronted with the problems of embankment slope stability and seepage. Thus, it is required for mine operator/engineers to have (preparatory) background knowledge related with Tailings Storage Facility design and operation. This course provides a link between the various technical disciplines. The course includes engineering behavior of tailings, various tailings disposal methods, impoundment water control, and embankment slope stability/seepage analysis using the computational modeling software. Graduate level students will have additional assignments and projects (presentations and technical reports) assigned.
This course will provide the student with a fundamental understanding of the methodology and process by which mines are designed using modern software tools. Topics covered include compositing drillhole data, creating 3D block models, geologic interpretation, pit limit optimization, and underground models. Course may be taught at an off campus location. Graduate-level requirements include a more in-depth work in the area of 3-D block models, interpolation, and constraints on mine design. Grading percentages will remain the same but more extensive homework and projects will be assigned.

Course Requisites: Consent of Instructor

This course is for students who wish to learn and engage in modern sustainable development practices with respect to engineering projects that have three areas of impact: economic, environmental and societal. The course will provide background for an understanding of the complexities and inter-relations of sustainable development issues. The focus will be on the minerals development industry, and the impacts in industrialized and developing nations, communities and the environment. Graduate-level requirements include project management duties, where graduate students are expected to manage groups of undergraduates in the design of the final term project. Additional graduate projects and assignments will have requirements for type and quantity of work.
Fundamental concepts in the recognition, evaluation and control of health and safety hazards encountered in mining operations; includes a review of engineering management responsibilities to control accidents, a review of federal regulations and standards affecting the industrial workplace, and instruction regarding the interaction of industrial hygiene, safety, fire protection and workers’ compensation to control losses resulting from industrial accidents. Graduate-level requirements include a term paper.
Mechanical behavior of rock and rock masses; response to load changes: deformations, failure, discontinuity slip; in situ stress state; rock testing; geomechanical classifications; engineering applications: slopes, pillars, tunnels, dam foundations; reinforcement design. Graduate-level requirements include either a research project or a research paper at the discretion of the instructor.
Principles and procedures in mineral property valuation, geostatistical ore reserve estimation, engineering, economics, investment analysis; use of a microcomputer. Graduate-level requirements include either a research project or a research paper at the discretion of the instructor.
Computer aided design of a modern surface mine incorporating feasibility analysis, pit limit design, operating systems, production sequencing and scheduling and short-term planning. Graduate-level requirements include participation in weekly graduate group discussions, two (2) additional homework assignments, technical report on an advanced subject, and an oral class presentation/lecture.

Course Requisites: Knowledge of mining methods and equipment or consent of instructor.

Understand and apply concepts and problem-solving methods for the design of underground facilities, and operation of underground mines for ores, evaporites, and coal. Topics will include design and layout of excavations, including adits, shafts and slopes, stopes, undercuts and vehicular roadways; mining methods for various geological conditions, sequence of operations (cyclic and continuous), basic design of mine services and equipment selection including ventilation, material-handling, hoisting, electric distribution and dewatering. Safety considerations will be paramount. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to select a mining method based on geologic conditions, and perform mine layout, equipment selection and services determination for a target underground production rate. Graduate-level requirements include a Critical Topic Analysis worth 15% of grade.

Course Requisites: Knowledge of mining methods and equipment or consent of instructor is recommended for students.

The course is to deliver the fundamentals of surface chemistry of flotation in mineral processing. It covers the concepts and principles of the thermodynamics (wetting and adsorption) at the interface, the definition and measurement of surface force in flotation, the DLVO theory and colloid stability, the methods and techniques for surface analysis, and finally the chemistry and mechanism of the chemicals (collector, frother and modifier) applied in flotation. Graduate-level requirements include deriving and defining some fundamentals and principles; review applications of chemicals and surface chemistry in flotation; propose possible methods and solve practical problems.
Principles and practices of mine environmental management and reclamation; pre-mining assessment. Design of water management systems (contaminant removal; settling ponds, groundwater protection); recontouring and revegetation; air quality management; noise and seismic mitigation. Maintaining permits; closure and bond release and ultimate land use. Best management practices. Graduate-level requirements include additional assignments and a research paper or presentation on a specific environmental management topic.
Geomechanical aspects of underground excavation in rock. Empirical and mechanistic stability evaluation and design. Graduate-level requirements include an independent design/analysis project.

Course Requisites: Knowledge of geomechanics or consent of instructor.

This course will provide a basic understanding of fundamental and practical aspects of solution mining. Graduate-level requirements include more rigorous and analytical homework.
This course will provide the student with a basic understanding of fundamental and practical aspects of hydrometallurgy processes used to extract and recover mineral and metal values. Unit processes where aqueous solutions play a major role will be examined in detail. The course will focus on the basic processes of leaching, solution concentration and purification, and metal recovery. Graduate-level requirements include a separate exam that will require more rigor & analysis. In addition, all students will be assigned a semester project & oral presentation covering a thematic area of hydrometallurgy of current interest.
This course is intended for both majors in engineering and the physical sciences who seek an in depth introduction to pyrometallurgy, and for technical employees working in the mining and extractive metallurgical industries who want to refresh and extend their knowledge of the field and its application to industrial processes. Graduate-level requirements include exam questions will be consistent with the level of knowledge expected of graduate students.

Course Requisites: MNE 465 or upper division course in thermodynamics.

The purpose of this course is to introduce mining engineering students to the principles, applications, analysis, and design of subsurface ventilation systems. Topics covered include: thermodynamics properties of air, ventilation planning, design, survey, and network analysis, fan types, impeller theory, fan laws, and ventilation (fan) economics, mine heat, gases and dust, governing regulations and environmental consideration. Computer applications, laboratory work and intensive field trip further enhance the understanding of the fundamental concepts. Graduate-level requirement include a research project.

Course Requisites: Computer skills: Microsoft Office, basic CAD & ability to learn and work with engineering software Engineering skills: Basic knowledge of mining, thermodynamics & calculus.

Fracture mechanics theory applied to the deformation and failure of rock; numerical techniques; micromechanical damage models; flow through fractures; the mechanics of faulting and earthquake rupture.
Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work. Graduate students doing independent work which cannot be classified as actual research will register for credit under course number 599, 699, or 799.
This graduate seminar provides graduate students the opportunity to research and exchange information on technical topics in the mine life cycle. The course will feature industry speakers presenting current challenges or technology innovations in the broad area of mineral resources. Students will further develop their skills in technical writing, learn to communicate with a professional audience, learn skills to influence others, and gain a basic knowledge of the business and socioeconomic principles that impact the profession.
Analysis of the effective structure and governance of public corporations in the minerals sector. The course will introduce students to the key issues in setting up and managing effective mining organizations and will provide insight into the role of boards of directors and senior management of such companies.
This course provides detailed background and practical application of valuation and risk analysis approaches for determining transaction values for mineral assets. Understanding valuation of mineral assets is critical in the following areas addressed in this course.
This course provides detailed background on the negotiation and acquisition strategies used in financing mineral resource development.

Course Requisites: Familiarity with engineering economics or micro and macroeconomics. MNE 697F or consent of department.

Through much of human history, we were not overly concerned about whether natural resource development as good for local populations, or whether they liked it. The fundamental issues in the industry were geological (finding minerals, timber or oil; and gas), or in the case of dam development, finding good hydroelectric sites; engineering (learning the physical processes to produce and obtain the resources efficiently) and processing (finding more useful products and more diverse and creative ways to use resources). The social, cultural and environmental dimensions, and the local economic impact, were in the back seat, and whether local people felt they were receiving benefits was rarely considered an issue. National government officials and developers made the decision, often with little if any input from locals.

The principle that can help us understand all these diverse issues is a set of ideas we call “sustainable development.” Sustainable development is a set of concepts that attempt to harmonize a number of seemingly competing goals. These include providing better conditions of like and more opportunity for people, especially the poor. They also include bringing production and consumption within limits that ecosystems can tolerate in the long run.

Individual study or special project or formal report thereof submitted in lieu of thesis for certain master’s degrees.
Statistical methodology of estimation, testing hypotheses, goodness-of-fit, nonparametric methods and decision theory as it relates to engineering practice. Significant emphasis on the underlying statistical modeling and assumptions. Graduate-level requirements include additionally more difficult homework assignments.
Discrete event simulation, model development, statistical design and analysis of simulation experiments, variance reduction, random variate generation, Monte Carlo simulation. Graduate-level requirements include a library research report.
Make decisions as to the appropriate modeling tool to use based on the problem setting, the constraints on the solution process, the needs of the decision-maker, and the data available. Building models and obtaining solutions that consider the typical issues that arise when solving real problems, multiple objectives, multiple constraints, stochastic and deterministic elements, sensitivity analysis and unknown data.

Course Requisites: SIE 500A, SIE 500B, SIE 500C or equivalent materials, MNE 697F or consent of department.

Process and tools for systems engineering of large-scale, complex systems: requirements, performance measures, concept exploration, multi-criteria tradeoff studies, life cycle models, system modeling, etc. Graduate-level requirements include extensive sensitivity analysis of their final projects.
Foundations, principles, methods and tools for effective design and management of projects in technology-based organizations. This course focuses on the scope, time, cost, performance and quality concerns of engineering projects characterized by risk and uncertainty. Initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing process are addressed. Students design and complete a project from concept through completion. Project management software is utilized. Graduate-level requirements include completing a more complex project which will include more tasks and will be characterized by greater risk and uncertainty.

Course Requisites: SIE 305

Financial modeling and simulation of new technology ventures. Topics include Pro Forma financial statements construction, time value of money, accounting, valuation, and technology ownership issues. Entrepreneurship issues related to forming a company will be discussed. This course is intended for graduate students in science or engineering with little or no prior background in engineering economics.