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Colorado Schools of Mines Presents Inaugural Ground Improvement Course

Featured banquet speaker Louis Brais of Bouygues (center) is shown with course directors Levent Ozdemir (left) and Ray Henn.

Featured banquet speaker Louis Brais of Bouygues (center) is shown with course directors Levent Ozdemir (left) and Ray Henn.

The Colorado School of Mines’ Office of Special Programs and Continuing Education (SPACE) rolled out its latest short course May 22-24 with the launch of its professional development program titled “Ground Improvement in Underground Construction and Mining.”

Close to 100 participants visited the Golden, Colo., campus to learn more about this evolving area of tunneling, mining and underground construction. The course features internationally recognized experts in the field of ground improvement discussing a range of topics. Louis Brais, project executive for the PortMiami Tunnel project, was the featured speaker for the banquet dinner.

“For its first offering, the course was well attended with tunneling professionals from owners, engineers, contractors and mining companies,” said Levent Ozdemir, one of the course organizers. “There were also lively discussions among course participants and the speakers on various aspects of ground improvement for underground construction projects. The banquet presentation by Mr. Brais about the Port Miami Tunnels was outstanding, outlining the challenges and successes of this world-class project.”

The Colorado School of Mines has been a leader in providing specialty courses for the underground construction and tunneling for many years. Notably, the annual Tunneling and Microtunneling short courses gather professionals from across the country – and across the globe – at the School of Mines campus in Golden for expert instruction on these technically challenging and continually evolving fields.

Recognizing a need for professional education in the specialty field of ground improvement in conjunction with tunneling and mining, course organizers Ozdemir, a tunnel consultant and professor emeritus at the college, Tim Coss, president of Microtunneling Inc., and Dr. Ray Henn, a senior consultant with Brierley Associates and adjunct professor at the school, introduced the new short course.

Kirsten Young (second from left) of Dr. Mole Inc., the main event sponsor, poses with course organizers (from left) Levent Ozdemir, Ray Henn and Tim Coss.

Kirsten Young (second from left) of Dr. Mole Inc., the main event sponsor, poses with course organizers (from left) Levent Ozdemir, Ray Henn and Tim Coss.

“The area of ground improvement has become a very big issue in the tunneling and mining sectors,” Ozdemir said. “We are building tunnels and shafts in much more difficult geologies than in the past, and we are building in urban settings where there are stringent settlement control requirements, which leads to the use of ground improvement and stabilization techniques in advance of construction.”

Additionally, the use of advanced techniques can be cost-effective in making the ground more compatible with mining, or in the event of some unexpected soils. “If you run into problems when you are driving the tunnel, it can be a very difficult and costly proposition to deal with it from within the tunnel compared to dealing with it prior to construction.”

The course was sponsored by Dr. Mole Inc. and in partnership with Microtunneling Inc. and TBM: Tunnel Business Magazine.

The dates for next year offering of this course will be announced soon. It is anticipated to take place in May again at the School of Mines campus. For additional information on the course, visit www.csmspace.com.

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