By Donna Schmidt
Could projects like the one just announced between the Colorado School of Mines and the U.S. Geological Survey help drive research into a broader, deeper space for mining’s future by bringing together its brightest research experts – academia and minerals science?
The Colorado School of Mines, located in Golden, Colo., said construction of a new $240 million Energy and Minerals Research Facility is set to be completed in the fall of 2026. The facility will jointly house researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and the university.
Site preparation has already begun, and construction will commence this month for the addition, which will be located on the Mines campus along 18th Street just east of the USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center. An official groundbreaking ceremony will be held this fall.
The 190,000-square-foot building will become a research home to 250 USGS researchers, 68 Mines researchers and 150 students. The public university said it hopes that the new facility will help expand upon the two institutions’ long-standing partnership and history of collaborative research.
Funding for the Energy and Minerals Research Facility comes from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, along with members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation, announced the decision to locate the new facility on the Mines campus during a visit in February 2022.
Designed by global architecture firm Perkins + Will, the building will be open to all members of the Mines community and include a classroom, café and collaboration spaces, as well as laboratories, faculty offices and spaces for Mines graduate students.
On the USGS side, the federal agency will be moving its Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center and Central Energy Resources Science Center into the building from their current location in the Denver Federal Center. A connection between the new facility and the existing USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center – home to the National Earthquake Information Center – has also been included.
“Mines is excited to move forward with the construction of the Energy and Minerals Research Facility on our campus,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Mines Kirsten Volpi.
“Together with USGS, we have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to create, nurture and support a thriving intellectual hub that can fundamentally transform the applied geosciences. Once complete, this collaborative facility will be one of the world’s top geoscience research centers in terms of combined capabilities, expertise and analytical facilities – and it will be housed right here on the Mines campus, where our students can contribute to the latest in critical mineral and energy research.”