The 2014 SME Distinguished Member Award
Awarded To: Rohini P. Sharma
Rohini P. Sharma, a mining engineer and SME Professional Member with continuous SME membership over 4 decades, retired in March 2012 as Geomechanical Engineering Manager for Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. An active member of SME for over four decades since 1969 and serving the society in various capacities in local sections, regions and national levels, Mr. Sharma is past SME Board Member and was member of AD Hoc Committee on SME Governance representing SME local sections and regions that produced the current SME Bylaws and SME organizational structure. Mr. Sharma is one of the strongest advocates and most passionate leaders of SME local sections. He has been actively involved with SME local sections in Arizona since 1970. He is one of the founding members of Gila Valley SME Section in Arizona in 2004. He served as SME Vice President during 2005-2007 representing the Pacific Southwest Region. He is past Chair of SME's Pinal Mountain Section (1997, 1998) and Tucson Section (1981) in Arizona. Mr. Sharma has been an officer in various positions of SME's local, regional and national organization for over 30 years. Mr. Sharma has been a major contributor to SME Technical programs in rock mechanics and slope stability at national and local levels. Currently, he is member of SME Rock Mechanics Award Committee.
Mr. Sharma is a mining engineering graduate of the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad (B.Sc. Mining 1967), and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (M.Sc. Mining 1970), USA. He is also a former Colombo Plan Scholar in India and a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. He is Adjunct Mining Engineering Professor at the University of Arizona and as well as Honorary Professor of Mining and Geological Engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology at Socorro, New Mexico.
Upon graduation, Mr. Sharma started his mining engineering career as a slope stability engineer for the Duval Corporation in Arizona in 1970. For the last 42 years until retirement in 2012, Mr. Sharma has been involved in geomechanical engineering (slope stability and rock mechanics) in hard rock mining, working for major copper companies such as Duval Corporation, Cyprus Minerals, Phelps Dodge and Freeport-McMoRan. Until his retirement in 2012, he managed geomechanical engineering for Freeport's mining operations worldwide. They included large open pit operations like Morenci, Sierrita, Bagdad, Miami, Chino, Tyrone and Safford in US; Cerro Verde in Peru; Candaleria and El Abra in Chile; Grasberg in Indonesia and Tenke-Fungurume in DR Congo. Mr. Sharma is one of the select few mining engineer in the hard rock mining in USA and in SME professional community who started career in specialized field of geomechanics and retired as manager in the same field after 42 years of technical service to the industry. In his long mining career, Mr. Sharma is credited in developing and implementing an operational geomechanics process for mine operational safety and engineering excellence in mine planning and design for Freeport-McMoRan operations.
Mr. Sharma is very active member of the Nepalese-American community in US. He enjoys reading poetry and quantum physics in his spare time. Mr. Sharma, a Past President of Nepalese Americas Council (NAC), serves as Life Member in several United States based Nepali non-profit organizations. Mr. Sharma is one of the Founding & First President of Indian School of Mines Alumni Association in North America.
Mr. Sharma lives with his wife Sita in Tucson, Arizona. They have a son, Dilli and a daughter, Anita both University of Arizona graduates in electrical engineering, and are well placed in the advanced computer hardware and software industries in California and in Arizona.
The Distinguished Member Award, established in 1975, is presented to a select few who have distinguished themselves by demonstrating significant and sustained contributions to the minerals industry and to SME. There must be some contributions to both the industry and SME, though significant and sustained contributions can be to either one.