The University of Alaska Fairbanks has received a major gift from private industry. Kinross Ft. Knox mine presented the UAF school of Mining and Geological Engineering a check for $990,000 Tuesday. Kinross North America vice president Lauren Roberts says the gift will fund a research endowment that’s developed out of a partnership with UAF.
The UAF mining program endowment will fund graduate student research. Program chair Rajive Ganguli says that’s important because university level mining programs have dwindled nationwide since a major research funding source, the federal Bureau of Mines, closed over a decade ago.
Ganguli says the research endowment will extend after the Ft. Knox open pit gold mine north of Fairbanks is closed and reclaimed. The financial boost comes during a global boom in the industry, but Dean of the College of Engineering and Mines Doug Goering says mining also faces challenges.
The UAF mining program provides skilled workers for an industry in the midst of an employee shortage. Kinross’s Roberts says his company alone needs to hire about 7,000 people for projects worldwide in the next five years. The Kinross gift qualifies the company for state and federal tax credits under the Alaska Education Tax Credit program.
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