A Worldwide Success Story: ITU Faculty of Mines
Sep 21, 2016

International achievements of ITU faculties and institutes consolidate the pioneering identity of our university. Faculty of Mines is one of ITU faculties whose noteworthy achievements are known worldwide.

We had a conversation on the achievements of the Faculty with Prof. Orhan Kural, Chair of the Department of Mining Engineering, Prof. Cemal Balci, Vice Chair of the Department, and Assoc. Prof. Abdullah Visne from the same faculty.

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Among the factors that play a significant role in the elevated success of the Faculty of Mines are technical excursions with students, introduction of new practices in the monitoring of their internship process, and the Faculty’s having a special committee that evaluates the graduation projects, which makes the Faculty of Mines is the only faculty in Turkey to have a special committee for the evaluation of graduation projects.

Faculty of Mines is also known for its international agreements with various countries from different parts of the world such as Canada and the Sultanate of Aceh, a special territory of Indonesia, which has extensive underground reserves. These agreements are not limited to projects but involve student mobility whereby many international students come to the faculty to study. The Faculty of Mines has about 10 to 15 projects, most of which were signed by European countries and enable international scholars to visit ITU and develop themselves. Some of these countries are Canada, Greece, Iran, and Italy.

An International Research and Development Hub for Mines

Faculty of Mines has leveraged its international identity in recent years, and its laboratories were selected into European Infrastructure Support System, which made it possible to carry out ITU’s highest revolving fund project in its laboratories of international standards.

The laboratories of the Faculty not only provide infrastructure for international projects but also develop new devices. Prof. Orhan Kural explains the extent of Faculty’s noteworthy achievement in the following example: “An international team sought our support for undersea excavation of mineral deposits. The project required a machine capable of operating in the ocean at depths up to 1600 meters and a pressure of 160 bars. As ITU Faculty of Mines, we devised a machine with these capabilities and set the main parameters of it”. Assoc. Prof. Abdullah Fisne makes an important point here, underscoring that underwater reservoirs are 10 times richer than those under the land and mining activities in Turkey should therefore focus on underwater reserves by taking into consideration that three-quarters of Earth’s surface is covered by water.

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Prof. Cemal Balci talks about two devices, one being for hard rock excavations, produced by the Faculty through a project supported by TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). Balci informs us that one factor underlying the success of the Faculty is its international reputation in the realm of hard rock excavation and that one of these devices was bought by New South West University in Australia while another one was bought by Athens State University.

The second device was devised for soft ground excavations and urban tunneling. According to Prof. Balci, production of these two devices by Faculty labs demonstrates simultaneous specialization of the labs in both fields (hard rock excavation and urban tunneling), which he defines as a worldwide unprecedented achievement. These achievements have naturally translated into improved national and international rankings. Laboratories of ITU Faculty of Mines have been ranked as the first in Turkey and fifth in the world in the field of soft ground excavation while they have been ranked as one of world’s top five laboratories in the field of hard rock excavations. Academics at the Faculty of Mines receive many invitations to serve as referees in reputable international journals in the field of mines.

Afghanistan will unearth its underground resources with the support of ITU Faculty of Mines

Faculty of Mines is involved in an important joint project that includes Afghan mining engineers as one of the partners. In the period from 11 July to 11 September, the Faculty will host a group of 25 visitors, including, inter alia, leading mining engineers of Afghanistan, executive managers of mining companies, and officials from ministries. One of the partners of this joint project is Freiburg University, which is the first university in the world to open a department of mining engineering. The importance of the project lies in the great mining potential of Afghanistan, which is one of the richest mining regions in the world with its 1,5 million dollar underground resources. However, instability in the country prevents the exploitation of the resources. With this project, ITU supports Afghanistan, which is particularly rich in lithium, petroleum, chromium, gold, and coal, to facilitate the operation of its mines. Under the scope of the project, professors in the Faculty of Mines will deliver training to Afghan experts, and the visiting team will join technical field excursions organized in cooperation with The General Directorate of Mining Affairs (MIGEM) and The General Directorate of Mineral Research & Exploration (MTA).

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Students play a significant role in the achievements

It is no doubt that students play an important role in the aforementioned achievements. They are involved in the international projects of the Faculty, which gives them the opportunity to have international experience and apply their theoretical knowledge in the field. Students have a say in the management of the Faculty as they can attend faculty meetings. The Faculty management gathers research assistants every ten days, and the decisions taken at the meetings are communicated to the students via student representatives who attend the meetings.

Assoc. Prof. Abdullah Fisne: We are the first and only faculty of mines in Turkey

The underlying factor that allows our faculty to realize these large-scale projects is years of laborious work. ITU Faculty of Mines is the first and the only faculty of mining among Turkish higher education institutions that have training units in the field of mining. It boats being listed in Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. Concerning this achievement, Assoc. Prof. Abdullah Fisne makes the following comments: “There are many factors that have enabled us to go up in this list. Among these are the international reputation of the faculty staff, ITU’s established university tradition, and it having the first and only faculty of mining in the country. We should acknowledge the work carried out by the academics who worked here in the past and remember that today’s success is an outcome of what we built on the accumulated knowledge and expertise we have inherited from these scholars.”

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Another indicator that attests to the current success of ITU Faculty of Mines is it being the only faculty in Turkey to be listed among the top 100 in the world. Ranked as the 60th, the Faculty boats outperforming many leading higher education institutions of the world such as Princeton University, Queensland University, University of Berlin, University of Norway, Oakland University, University of Munich, University of Lyon, and Cape Town University.

We thank the professors who make it possible to get to know the Faculty of Mining better and wish all the faculty further success.