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Four Inducted Into the National Mining Hall of Fame



November 1, 2019 - The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) announces the class of 2019 National Mining Hall of Fame inductees.

This year’s inductees were selected by the National Mining Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors for being determined, forward-thinking innovators, doers and leaders who have propelled the industry toward vastly improved safety and social responsibility, according to a news release from the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum.

The 2019 Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award, named for mining artist Gary Prazen, was presented to the American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) and accepted by Mark Compton,executive director, and Laura Skaer, immediate past executive director. This award recognizes an individual or organization for significant and sustained commitment to educating the public about the relationship of mining to our everyday lives through educational materials, programming, and outreach.


Mark Compton, AEMA, and Laura Skaer, AEMA, accept Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award from emcee Barb Arnold.

Photo by Brian Walski, Colorado Visions

2019 National Mining Hall of Fame Inductees

Frank Calandra, Jr. has devoted over 50 years to the mining industry; he is an icon in ground-control technology for the mining, tunneling and civil construction industries.

From the ground up he has grown Frank Calandra, Inc. (FCI) and Jennmar from a single plant in Pennsylvania to a world-class enterprise with 25 plants employing thousands globally. As evidenced by Calandra’s 20+ patents on roof support bolts and cables (not to mention the additional 80 patents his companies hold), his innovation and commitment to safety are said to have made underground mining safer and more efficient.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Calandra was instrumental in upgrading ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standards in roof control for both state and federal regulations. Through his work with industry associations such as the National Mining Association, National Coal Council, and Center for Energy and Economic Development, among others, Calandra has worked to ensure a balanced political and regulatory climate for mining. Calandra is an inductee of the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame.

Robert E. Cannon
invented many products used in the mining industry, the raise drill and the underground blast hole drill being the most notable.

In March 1962, while employed by Security Tools as North American sales manager, he visited the Homer-Wauseca Mine in Northern Michigan. Asked for advice on putting out a fire that had developed in an open stope four levels underground, Cannon came up with the idea of creating a large hole, thus using the dirt from the hole opening to put out the fire. A hole was drilled from the upper level through the stope to the level below and the bit was removed. He then obtained a larger rock bit, known as a hole opener, had the bit welded upside down to the drill pipe and reamed the hole larger from a level above by pulling the bit back to the drill that created the original hole. The fire extinguished as the falling rock chips filled the stope, without any injuries to the workers.

A few years later, he invented another drill using down-the-hole hammers as the method of drilling a larger-diameter blast hole than a top-mounted drifter type of drill. Both types of drills are used in virtually every underground hard rock mine in the world. Not only have both pieces of equipment increased production in the mining industry, but the raise drill also eliminated one of the most dangerous jobs in mining, the raise driller, saving countless lives over the years.

Robert H. Freeman’s
pioneering endeavors started a revolution in U.S. underground coal mining and are said to have changed the nature of underground coal mining forever. Freeman had the foresight to see how the longwall system, developed for European mining conditions, could be adapted to U.S. applications. He recognized that modifications in the design and operation of longwall faces could result in significant increases in production, productivity, and safety in the U.S.

In the 1950s, as chief engineer for Eastern Associated Coal Corp., Freeman imported mechanized longwall systems to the metallurgical coal seams in southern West Virginia. Freeman demonstrated the potential for improved safety and lower cost, compared to room and pillar mining methods. His resolve to adapt longwall techniques to the U.S. mining industry resulted in significant changes in extracting coal, leading to the very highly efficient and safe systems found operating the world over today.

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones
is one of the most famous labor activists. A champion of the working class, she fought for economic justice for railroad workers, factory workers and miners during the height of America’s industrial revolution. “Hearing her speak, you discovered the secret of her influence…. She had force, she had wit, above all she had the fire of indignation—she was the walking wrath of God,” said Upton Sinclair in “The Jungle.”

Jones’ powerful speeches and knack for theatrics are said to have encouraged many to form unions and strike for fair wages and safe working conditions; she organized numerous miners’ strikes against low pay, 12-hour days, 7-day work weeks, extreme mortality rates and child labor, and railed against the servitude of company stores and company housing.

When she began organizing for the United Mine Workers Union in the 1890s, it had 10,000 members; within a few years, 300,000 men had joined. Known as the “miner’s angel” for her advocacy on their behalf, Mother Jones’ activism set the stage for the labor and safety laws of today. Mother Jones’ impassioned work is also recognized in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, U.S. Department of Labor’s Hall of Honors, and the Irish American Hall of Fame. Her battle cry, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” said it all.

This year’s inductee biographies, along with the prior 244 inductee biographies, are on view at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville.

Anyone can nominate an individual for induction into the National Mining Hall of Fame. All complete nominations meeting the criteria as outlined on will be considered for 2020 induction if submitted by Dec. 31. Nominations remain active for three years unless disqualified as not meeting the established criteria or are incomplete.