UAF Receives Large Gift From Mining Company for Endowment

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has received another large gift from a mining company.  Sumitomo, the company that runs the Pogo Gold Mine near Delta Junction, Thursday presented UAF with check for a little over $1 million.  The money – to be doled out by Sumitomo over three years will go into an endowment that supports research at UAF’s Department of Mining and Geological Engineering.  Pogo Mine general manger Chris Kennedy says the gift helps the mining industry meet demand for skilled workers.

Kennedy says Pogo just welcomed a new UAF-educated mining engineer last week. The mining industry is experiencing a worldwide labor shortage, but Sumitomo Pogo President Toshihito Toyoshima says the donation isn’t just about generating a work force.

The donation from Pogo comes as the price of gold hits record highs.  UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers calls it significant, and reflective of the university and mining business.

The Pogo gift follows on a similar contribution to the UAF Mining program from Kinross Ft. Knox Gold Mine last month.  The contributions qualify for tax credits that cover about 80 percent of the donations…money that would have gone to the state as taxes instead goes to the university.  Rogers says the state legislature created the education tax credit to encourage charitable giving.

The University is hopeful that other companies will follow Ft. Knox and Pogo in taking advantage of the state tax credits to support UAF.  The UAF Mining Engineering Research Endowment supports graduate student projects. It was created to compensate for federal research funding lost since the U.S. Bureau of Mines was eliminated in the 1990’s.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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