Lundin Family to fund mining school at University of Arizona
The Lundin Family, owners of the Canadian-based Lundin Mining Corporation, has announced their support for an ambitious new expansion program at the School of Mining and Mineral Resources at the University of Arizona.
In a statement, the family confirms that it has made a £1.54 million commitment and will provide up to an additional £1.93 million through a grant challenge to match funds raised by December 2022.
The University of Arizona has long been recognised as having one of the top mining engineering programs in the world, and the Lundin Family grant is expected to help the university upgrade facilities, provide financial support to students, and work towards an interdisciplinary school of mining and mineral resources.
The program aims to encourage and prepare a new generation of professionals to enter the mining industry from different educational disciplines and specialities, including finance, law, compute science, environment, and social sciences, amongst others.
"We are very excited to be supporting such an important initiative alongside the University of Arizona. The drive toward a safer, more sustainable and efficient mining operation requires the very best talent across all disciplines, not just mining engineering and geology," says Jack Lundin, President and CEO of Bluestone Resources Inc, one of the Lundin Group companies.
Consisting of 14 publicly traded companies in the natural resource sector, The Lundin Group operates in more than 25 countries around the world.
"While most universities' mineral resources programs are shrinking or not keeping pace with change, the University of Arizona has demonstrated a vision and commitment to enhancing natural resources education. This gift is intended to catalyse the resources necessary and to attract industry support from our peers to make this vision of creating the best mineral resource program in the world into a reality," Jack Lundin adds.
"We believe this partnership with the University of Arizona to create a new interdisciplinary school of mining and mineral resources will bring the kind of energy and excitement needed to attract the very best talent, and to prepare students to positively impact the future of mineral resources."
At the core of the expansion initiative is a commitment to keeping the industry pipeline filled with well-rounded, highly skilled professionals. Therefore, the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering, the College of Science, and the Lowell Institute are sharing the gift and working together to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum, while also updating research and teaching facilities, such as the San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory, the statement points out.
"We look forward to using this gift to become even better," says David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge dean of the College of Engineering.
"The generosity of the Lundin family will allow us to upgrade our facilities, build partnerships with industry and other universities, and strengthen the department's focus in areas such as data science and artificial intelligence."
Although based in Canada and Switzerland, the Lundin Family maintains strong ties in Arizona and the university, with members of the family graduates of the institution and serving on the board of directors for the university’s Lowell Institute for Mining Resources.
"Mining is more critical than ever as we look toward a more sustainable future for our planet. Mined materials like copper are needed for electric vehicles, windmills and server farms for cloud-based applications," says professor emerita, Mining & Geological Engineering, Mary Poulton who is also co-director of the Lowell Institute with Mark Barton, Professor of Geosciences.
"Our location amid some of the largest copper deposits on Earth, world-class faculty members and long-standing relationships with industry mean the University of Arizona has what it takes to lead. This gift will help us take our efforts to the next level."
The gift will also fund the Lundin Family Endowed Chair in Economic Geology within the Department of Geosciences.
"The establishment of this chair will strengthen our economic geology program, which is designed to apply geological research to expand our knowledge and understanding of the distribution of minerals," adds Elliott Cheu, interim dean of the College of Science.
"Furthermore, by helping us bring together talented faculty and students from a wide range of disciplines, these funds will strengthen the university's outstanding reputation in mineral resources."
As one of the first two areas of study offered at the University of Arizona – along with agriculture – mining has been an institutional cornerstone since the University's founding in 1885.
"Mining has been an important part of the University of Arizona since its very beginning as a land-grant institution," explains University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "We have been preparing students for mining careers for 130 years, and our alumni occupy leadership positions at mining operations across the globe.
“With this generous gift from the Lundin Family, and the possibility of even more through the challenge, we have an opportunity to significantly advance our world-renowned efforts to ensure safe and sustainable extraction of the important materials we rely upon every day,” he concludes.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.