Mining 4.0: Unearthing New Applications of Engineering at this Top STEM School

Dr. Jim Rankin, President of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

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Autonomous trucks, robotics and AI are revolutionizing the mining industry...and now engineering students of all disciplines are being prepared for these fascinating careers at South Dakota Mines!

In this episode of the TechEd Podcast, Dr. Jim Rankin, President of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (often called South Dakota Mines) discusses the institution's focus on STEM education and its impact on the mining and mineral industries. SDSMT is one of only five universities in the U.S. to have all three mineral industry disciplines: Geology and Geological Engineering, Mining Engineering and Management, and Materials and Metallurgical Engineering.

Beyond mining, the school has a strong emphasis on all engineering disciplines, creating a cross-collaborative learning experience that prepares students for the real world. Hear how this top STEM school has partnered with industry and research collaboratives to give students truly cutting-edge learning experiences in fields that are evolving rapidly.

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. South Dakota Mines is one of the top ROI STEM schools in America: What makes this engineering school so valuable for students? The deliberate focus on STEM education, where students can jump into their major on day one. Dr. Rankin recognizes the changing perceptions around higher education - especially those questioning whether the tuition cost is worth it - and has ensured SDSMT's students have a low-cost, high-return education that gives them the knowledge and skills to be successful engineers.
  2. Mining has major environmental and national security implications: The more technology evolves, the greater need for rare earth minerals that power things like next-gen batteries and semiconductors. The U.S. has identified 30+ of these minerals that we're sourcing internationally - but should we be mining them here? Dr. Rankin shows us the delicate balance between the environmental impact of mining and the national security issue of sourcing the material elsewhere.
  3. The Mining Hub pairs engineering students with industry to do cutting-edge research into Mining 4.0: Launched in partnership with organizations like Caterpillar, the Mining Hub is a multi-disciplinary research incubator doing work with autonomous mining vehicles, artificial intelligence and robotics to develop the latest innovations in the mining industry. This research is done alongside the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

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