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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • S&T hosts international mining competition

  • It was a cold, dreary Friday afternoon and Ana Fladia couldn't have been happier.
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  • It was a cold, dreary Friday afternoon and Ana Fladia couldn't have been happier.  
    "I can't explain how happy I am to be here," said the Brazilian student, still catching her breath.
    Fladia and five other mining students from Brazil were in town for the 36th annual international Intercollegiate Mining Competition at Missouri University of Science and Technology's Experimental Mine.
    Forty-two teams from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom came to compete. Coed and women's teams competed Friday and men and alumni teams competed Saturday.
    "It's affectionally known as a mucking competition," said Barbara Robertson, program support specialist for the S&T mining and engineering department. "Muck is the stuff that is left over; the debris left over from a mining blast."
    Mucking events are based on mining techniques used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Students compete in timed events like gold panning, surveying hand-mucking, hand-steeling, track-standing, Swede sawing and jackleg drilling.  
    "It's like a lumberjack competition for miners," Robertson added.
    The event started in 1978 as a way to honor the 91 miners who died in the Sunshine Mine disaster which occurred in Kellogg, Idaho, in 1972.
    According to Jack Myers of the University of Queensland in the northern part of Australia the weekend event is like the Olympics of mining.
    "We have been training for quite some time leading up to this," he told the Daily News.
    As he watched the hand-steeling competition, coach David Grimsley of the Western Australian School of Mining (WASM) explained that his university is a leading mining school in Australia.
    "I got into this because my dad was into mining," he said.
    WASM teammate Nick Wright explained that his mining interest was piqued by a curiosity. After graduation, he hopes to work in Canada.
    "I hear it's not so hot," he said with a chuckle.
    In the meantime, he and his fellow Australians are taking notes on the logistics of the event as next year's competition will be held Down Under.
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