Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Investment in SD Mines Pays Back Hundreds of Millions

Mines researchers have produced diesel-like fuel from waste products as part of a $4.8 million award from the U.S. Air Force.

RAPID CITY, SD (Jan. 31, 2017) – An analysis provided by the South Dakota Board of Regents shows that public investment in South Dakota School of Mines & Technology yields huge returns for the state. In fiscal year 2016 SD Mines generated approximately $238 million in annual economic impact from a public investment of $16.3 million.

“Mines is a catalyst for economic growth in Rapid City and beyond,” said SD Mines President Heather Wilson. “We educate people who create wealth and we advance knowledge, which can spin out into companies.”

SD Mines creates jobs. The university directly supports more than 500 full-time jobs. Mines students injected approximately $16.2 million into the South Dakota economy through day-to-day living expenses. This amount does not include tuition and fees. The economic activity connected to SD Mines generates 1,981 full-time jobs beyond the campus. This number includes start-up companies and the overall impact the university has on the local economy. In the last five years alone 116 employers in 27South Dakota communities have hired Mines graduates as full-time employees. Over the years Mines graduates have gone on to establish well-known businesses in the state. These companies have a global impact and employ thousands of people in the region. They include Daktronics, RESPEC and RPM & Associates.  

“SD Mines continues to create not only world-class science and engineering talent, but an impressive array of technologies, many of which are being commercialized in new and existing businesses right here in Rapid City,” said Benjamin Snow, president of the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership. “The impact of this phenomenon is among Mines’ most impressive contributions to our economy and community ,”

Current research at Mines is spinning off a number of new companies that drive growth in the local economy.  In fiscal year 2016 Mines brought in $11.5 million in federal and private grants for projects including research and development.

Mines start-up VRC Metal Systems is one example. The company builds high pressure systems that deposit metal in a similar way to spray paint. The technology was developed at Mines and the process is now revolutionizing the way metal parts are manufactured and maintained. VRC Metal Systems has quickly grown to employ 42 people in four years, with a list of clients that includes the Department of Defense. The company helps the DOD complete cost effective repairs for critical parts on military aircraft including the fleet of B-1 Bombers stationed at Ellsworth Airforce Base.


About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,654 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $61,300. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Charles Michael Ray , 605-394-6082, charles.ray@sdsmt.edu