The Russian Empress Catherine II wished to realize Peter the Great and Mikhail Lomonosov desires to open an engineering school for the mining industry. On October 21st (or November 1st) 1773 she put her signature on the edict. That day becomes not only the Mining Institute birthday but also one of all Russian technical education system. Hundred and eight pupils had been studying at school by the end of XVIII century. The training mine and melting furnace and ore mining table were installed on the school yard representing the first laboratories in order to drill professional skills of pupils. Every six months all students had examination in the presence of Berg-Collegia members and many other prominent people. According to the papers of that time describing student’s life we have learnt that day students wore double-breasted scarlet uniform with white collar and lapels with golden passementerie. In 1804 the school was reorganized and it becomes the Cadet’s Corps. Soon the architect Voronichin designed the project of Corps campus and by 1811 the majestic architectural ensemble had been erected along the embankment. The main entrance was decorated with the dodecastyle and two sculptures, one of them "Heracles strangling Antaeus" and "The stealing of Proserpina" by architects Pimenov and Demut-Malinovskiy.
In 1816 about 335 pupils were enrolled into school and in 1882 their number raised up to 500 people. It was considered to have a university level of education.
Since March 1833 the Mining Cadet’s Corps was named the Institute of mining engineers Corps and since 1866 the Mining Institute.
The Alexandre III reign is known as the epoch when the mineral and raw material treasure was considered as one of the most important aspects of economical developing of the country. The Mining Institute was the only design and engineering division of mining industry that time, so the professors and teachers were the first Russian mining engineers and researchers. They discovered hundreds of deposits, designed many plants: Alaska ore, Blagovetshenskiy Bridge, Nikolaevskaya railways, Saint-Peter and Paul Cathedral spire.
After 1917 revolution the political views of the Mining Institute staff were not in contradiction with goals and purposes of the Soviets. The Mining Institute stepped into new epoch ready to solve all professional tasks required by industrial development demands of the country.
A good example of such collaboration can be the research group organized in 1933, which developed the new technology of new kind of raw material – sulphide copper-nickel ore of Kolskiy peninsula and later in Norilsk within short time. Six years later the new metal was recovered at the new plants “SEVERONICKEL”.
The peaceful life of the institute as the rest of the country was interrupted on June 22nd 1941. During the siege of Leningrad the laboratories hosted the special manufacturing units producing blasting agent “Sinal-AK” and grenade “F-1”. Two partisans units of Mining School students fought behind enemy lines, on the Leningrad front. After the Second World War the number of graduated specialists increases. In the 60th the school offers the evening and remote tuition. In the beginning of the XXI century the number of engineers graduated from the Mining Institute exceeds 40000.
Due to the great governmental demand for specialists and much need for new technologies as well as thanks to the private investments for school development we managed to reconstruct all sites, reorganize administrative infrastructure and equip laboratories.
The first engineering school still keeps its XVII century slogan "With assiduity in rending service to our motherland and with love for its advantages.