University of Kentucky Experimental Mine Feasibility Study

  • Lusk, Braden (PI)
  • Honaker, Rick (CoI)
  • Novak, Thomas (CoI)
  • Perry, Kyle (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


During the most recent budget cycle, the Kentucky Legislature provided $350,000 to the University of Kentucky Mining Engineering Department for the design and feasibility study for an underground laboratory dedicated to developing, testing, and improving all aspects of mining technologies. The project will result in a comprehensive feasibility study and proposed design for construction and implementation of the University of Kentucky Experimental Mine. The design phase of the project will investigate the feasibility of developing an underground test facility for use in research and training. The underground facility will be an operating mine with reasonable proximity to the University of Kentucky campus. Surface facilities with similar capabilities will be evaluated as an alternative or supplemental option for the laboratory as well. Finally, a mine health and safety training facility will be designed to accommodate mine rescue training and other mine safety related activities. The facility will be designed as a world class mining research laboratory, optimized educational laboratory, as well as a Mine Health and Safety training facility for utilization by mine rescue teams within Kentucky and the surrounding region. The designed research and training facility will include structural, mechanical and civil engineering plan options for the construction of a facility with all of the capabilities defined during a comprehensive study of state of the art mine training and research laboratories. Research capabilities will be evaluated and defined for all relevant research areas within Mining Engineering. The study will be conducted through site visits and data collection at key facilities across the nation. There are three primary deliverables for the project including: 1. A comprehensive study of national capabilities for mining research and mine health and safety training culminating in a Master’s Thesis. 2. A completed design for a state of the art research facility and mine health and safety training center that encompasses the capabilities available at a national level with guidance from a hand selected advisory panel. The costs for obtaining various capabilities will be individually assessed for cost to allow flexibility in construction depending on the level of funding achieved for construction of the experimental mine. 3. A feasibility study for development of the designed facility considering a suite of options for location selection including detailed design renderings, construction plans, and modular and incremental costs for a number of potential sites. At the conclusion of the project, a complete proposal will be developed to take forward to the Kentucky Legislature and Kentucky Mining Industry in an effort to raise funds for construction of the facility. It is expected that funding the construction of the experimental mine will require state funds and matching dollars from the mining industry.
Effective start/end date7/1/126/30/14


  • KY Energy and Environment Cabinet: $350,000.00


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