The 2010 Syd S Peng Ground Control in Mining Award
Awarded To: Keith Heasley
“In Recognition of his significant contributions to solve complex ground control problems using both numerical and experimental techniques”
It is my distinct pleasure to nominate Dr. Keith A. Heasley for the Syd S. Peng Ground Control Award. Dr. Heasley’s contributions have been ongoing since 1981 when he graduated with a BS in Mining Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. He went on to complete his Masters of Science at Pennsylvania State University with a thesis topic of “Computer Modeling of Subsidence-Control Methods”. Ten years later, while working at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Dr. Heasley completed his PhD at the Colorado School of Mines. His dissertation topic, “Numerical Modeling with a Lamination Displacement-Discontinuity Code” has been a major contribution to the understanding and modelling of the complex interactions of multi-layered rock formations. In fact, the numerical models that Dr. Heasley studied and created are the basis of the LaModel Program that is being used throughout the global ground control community, in research, operations, and Federal and State oversight and legislation. This software program has been used to analyse complex ground failures, multiple seam interactions, and subsidence. It is a tool that he refines and improves as additional data becomes available for calibration.
Dr. Heasley’s research efforts started in 1986 at the U.S. Bureau of Mines where he made significant contributions to the measurements, calculations, and understanding of in-situ stress. He refined and developed a new generation of borehole pressure gages and created the complex computer programs to calculate stress magnitudes and directions. After he completed his PhD he returned to the Bureau and continued the advanced development, refinements, and publication of the LaModel software. He served as a Group Supervisor and mentored a multi-disciplinary team in rock mechanics, mine design and numerical modelling programs, disseminating the results and findings in numerous conference publications, journals, and U.S. Bureau of Mines reports of Investigation and Information Circulars.
Dr. Heasley’s desire to teach and mentor aspiring engineers led him to the West Virginia University in 2001. He has taught classes in all the surface and underground mining disciplines and has specialized in rock mechanics and numerical modelling training. He has continuously obtained funding to study underground mining systems and ground control issues and received a substantial contract to develop the Integrated Stability Mapping System that combines the powerful ACAD and LaModel systems into a single design package that analyses stresses and displacements so they can be used as practical design tools. He recently completed a major project, “Calibrating the LaModel Program for Deep Cover Pillar Retreat Mining” that will help to prevent mining disasters similar to those that occurred at the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah.
It was because of his dedicated research and teaching efforts that West Virginia University conferred the distinguished title of Professor in 2007. Dr. Heasley remains committed to the instructional program where he maintains a full schedule of teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses while mentoring Master and Doctoral students. He continues to advance his research efforts in rock mechanics and mine design and no doubt, his list of contributions in the ground control discipline will only continue to grow in the future.
Even with the full-schedule that he maintains Dr. Heasley always finds time to give back to the mining community and share his talents. He has been an active member of SME since 1978 and has served on the Rock Mechanics Committee, Stefanko Award Committee, Woomer Award Committee. He has worked his way up the ladders at SME, serving as a program chair, which eventually culminated in the Chair of the Coal and Energy Division in 2006. He is still very active in American Rock Mechanics Association having served on the Board (2003-2009) and was the Board Secretary (2004-2006).
In the last 5 years, he has been co-editor of 5 conference proceedings, principal author on 9 technical papers (1 peer-reviewed) and co-author on 10 technical papers.
Dr. Heasely’s contributions to the ground control science and his dedication to move the discipline forward are exactly what this award has been created for, thank you for your consideration.
The purpose of the award is to provide recognition to individuals that have demonstrated technical and scientific excellence in advancing the understanding of ground control technologies or approaches by either publication or direct applications in the mining industry.