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John R. Marks

John MarksB.S. Mining Engineering 1973 | M.S. Mining Engineering 1990

John R. Marks, Jr. was born and raised in Wisconsin. In 1966, the Marks family moved to Boise, Idaho where he attended and graduated from high school. Marks earned a BS degree in mining engineering at the University of Idaho in 1973 and began his mining career as a junior engineer at Hecla Mining Company in the Silver Valley of north Idaho. He did surveying, mine planning and design at the Star Mine and ventilation engineering for the Star and Lucky Friday mines.

From 1975 to 1977, he continued his education at the University of Idaho as a graduate student and served as an instructor and tutor. Marks completed his thesis, “Computer-Aided Design of Large Underground Direct-Contact Heat Exchangers” in 1990 and earned a MS in mining engineering.
In 1977, Marks returned to Hecla Mining Company as a mining and ventilation engineer where he was responsible for all ventilation and refrigeration at the Star, Lucky Friday and Con Sil Mines. He Became a senior mine engineer in 1980 and was responsible for all mine engineering functions at the Lucky Friday Mine.

For the next 19 years, Marks worked for the Homestake Mining Company in Lead, South Dakota as a ventilation engineer, then as the chief ventilation and health engineer. The former Homestake mine is 8000 feet deep and contains 370 miles of tunnels. Between 1876 and 2003 the Homestake Mine produced 42 million ounces of gold worth about $3.5 billion. Marks was responsible for all ventilation and refrigeration at all levels of the mine. He designed and installed a 3,000 horsepower (hp) surface fan, a double 1000 hp underground booster fan and a 2,300 ton refrigeration plant utilizing controlled recirculation. In 1996, he worked on assignments including shaft design, strategic planning, pumping, ore haulage, waste rock removal and refinery ventilation.

In 2001, Marks worked at Stillwater Mining Company in Nye, Montana as a consulting engineer planning ventilation requirements and designing a $10 million system upgrade for the Stillwater platinum/palladium mine. A year later he joined the engineering transition team for the National Underground Science Laboratory facilitating the conversion of the Homestake Mine into a science laboratory. Plans are now under way to turn Homestake into the first national laboratory for underground science in the United States---and the largest and deepest facility of its kind in the world. Scientists hope to use the lab in the mine for an experiment to find out what role neutrinos played in the evolution of the universe. It is one of more than 40 scientific experiments scientists already have proposed for the new laboratory.

From 2002 to present, Marks has been a mine ventilation consultant. He is presently consulting for the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority on the conversion of the Homestake Mine into the National Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) and has consulted with, and/or continues to work with many other mines in South Africa, Bulgaria, three Canadian provinces, and U.S corporate offices for mines in Guatemala and Indonesia.

Marks served as an adjunct professor for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota teaching mine ventilation. He has taught seminars at most western mining schools in mine economics and mine ventilation, air conditioning, computer applications and diesel use. He has authored or co-authored over 25 papers in mining, including chapters in ASHRAE’s 2003 & 2007 Applications Handbooks, a mining textbook, and the new Society of Mining Engineer’s (SME-AIME) 2011 Mining Engineering Handbook. In 1992, he was Chairman of Society of Mining Engineer’s (SME) Underground Ventilation Committee. He holds several professional memberships including Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society. He received the Black Hills Safety Professional of the Year honor and in 2008, was awarded the prestigious SME’s Hartman Award for excellence in mine ventilation.