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Alpha Foundation awards $10M for mine research

Oct. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Virginia Tech and West Virginia University are among the first group of winners of research grants for a wide array of mine health and safety issues at the nation's mines.

The Alpha Foundation announced Monday it is awarding the first $10 million of the $48 million it has to spend. Sixteen research proposals won initial approval, and final budgets for them are now being discussed.

Chairman Michael Karmis said the proposals were chosen from a pool of 160, and more will be solicited in the future.

The only non-academic winner in the first round is the United Steelworkers, which will focus on identifying and controlling hazards in metal and non-metal mines.

The other winners are the Colorado School of Mines, Northeastern University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the universities of Kentucky, Utah, Pittsburgh, Arizona and Connecticut.

Virginia Tech will work on through-the-earth communication systems and a new risk-management approach to safety, while WVU will work on safety systems at surface mines and mobile equipment technology training.

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