Departmental research activities span from fundamental and precise laboratory studies of rocks and minerals to field studies in remote and rugged locations to high-performance computing (including machine learning and data visualization). Faculty members are involved in domestic and international studies including:
- Modeling and visualization of economic deposits
- Discrete-event simulation and optimization of mining systems
- Mine Planning under uncertainty
- Mine health and safety
- Mining machine reliability
- Computer and machine vision in mining
- Pit slope stability analysis of surface mining
- Applications of machine learning techniques to mining problems
- Modeling of mining-related environmental problems related to groundwater flow and transport of solutes
- Geology of metallic ore deposits with emphasis on geochemistry
- Process/product development, instrumentation and process control
- Computational fluid dynamics for mine ventilation
Department laboratories are equipped and operated to support the field and modeling studies including seismic petrophysics, rock and mineral preparation and visualization, environmental magnetism, aquatic optics and remote sensing, and geo-hazard and geo-resource characterization. The Computational Research Center, housed at the Great Lakes Research Center on campus, is home to the region's most powerful supercomputer "Superior".
In addition to potential study sites world-wide, mining is experiencing a resurgence in Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula. New technologies are prompting international mining companies to explore for and develop prospects that were previously technologically and economically infeasible. Future graduate studies in mining engineering will focus on advancing new technologies and safe and environmentally responsible mining practices.