VTCA Members Assist VA Tech Mining Engineering

Member and Industry News,

Virginia Tech is in the final stages of completing the renovation of Holden Hall. Holden Hall houses the Mining & Mineral Engineering Department at VA Tech. One of the most prominent features of the renovated facility is the Center for Autonomous Mining Systems – informally known as the mock mine. The mock mine will provide an on-campus experimental mine for hands-on student activity and faculty research. As the only experimental mine of its kind in the nation, it will house three scaled pits that can be filled with any type of mined material, allowing students to move seamlessly from the classroom to on-site mining experiments. 

As renovation construction neared completion, VA Tech was faced with the challenge of getting aggregate materials into the mock mine. The pedestrian infrastructure associated with the new facility was not designed to withstand heavy equipment or trucks. Material would either have to be wheelbarrowed in from the road or another means would have to be devised.

Holden Hall Mock Mine Architect Rendition  

These are mining engineers! They don’t run away from a challenge…especially a challenge that involves moving mined materials. The solution was a tele-conveyor to transfer the aggregate directly from the truck in through a window into the mock mine.

Tele-Conveyor outside Holden Hall

One challenge solved; another challenge arises. Where were they to get material and how could it be delivered and dumped directly into the tele-conveyor hopper? This is where VTCA comes in.

As the above picture indicates, the hopper on the tele-conveyor is small and cannot hold a full truckload of material. A truck with a grain-gate would be required. VTCA Member, J.R. Tharpe Trucking answered the call!

On July 7, J.R. Tharp had their truck at Salem Stone’s Acco Quarry in Blacksburg to pick up two loads of #9’s for the Mock Mine. The aggregate was donated at no cost to VA Tech by Salem Stone. The material was seamlessly dumped into the hopper and transported to the mock mine.

J.R. Tharpe VT Truck   Salem Stone - Acco Quarry

Below is the completed Mock Mine that is the prominent feature of the new Holden Hall. VTCA’s Board of Directors will be touring the new Holden Hall facility in October at the Fall Board Retreat.

VT Mock Mine

VTCA would like to give a shout out to Salem Stone, Scott Ross, and J.R. Tharpe Trucking, Tim Tharpe and Jamie Johnson, for coordinating their efforts to accomplish this feat.