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SME eNews
The 2012 North American Tunneling Conference (NAT) offers scholarships!
The North American Tunneling 2012 Conference (NAT 2012), is conducting a student scholarship competition open to all full-time undergraduate or graduate engineering students in North America. Entrants are invited to submit an original paper related to any aspect of tunneling or underground infrastructure. Students who have completed internships for relevant underground projects may submit a paper discussing their experience and project details pending approval from their employer. All papers will be reviewed by the NAT Scholarship Committee, and the top three authors will be asked to present their paper in person during the NAT Conference in Indianapolis, IN on June 24-27, 2012.

The top three authors will receive conference admission, including flight and accommodations, a copy of the conference proceedings and the opportunity to visit underground works in the Indianapolis area. The authors will present their papers at the conference breakfast. In addition, the winners will receive $2,000 ea.

Submit your abstract with bio by January 15, 2012. Final papers due April 30, 2012. Please Submit Papers To: Brett Zernich, (323) 633 0607; E-mail: Additional Information can be found at:

2012 SME Annual Meeting
Registration for the 2012 SME Annual Meeting is now open.

SME Annual Meeting & Exhibit: Seattle, Washington, February 19-22, 2012.

Click here and join us in Seattle!
"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." ~ P.J. O'Rourke
The SME Foundation has just the thing to make you look good! View the list of vintage industry books available for sale on the Foundation page on the SME site.

SME Welcomes 10 New Members from Mexico!
SME recently exhibited at the 2011 Convencíon de Minería in Acapulco, Mexico. At the conference, SME recruited 10 NEW MEMBERS and met with delegates from several Mexican Universities interested in starting Student Chapters. The SME Mexico Section also hosted a Cocktail Reception at the Acapulco Princess for Convencíon de Minería attendees. The Reception was a smashing success thanks to Len Harris, Patrick Williamson, and our gracious sponsors: Gold Resource Corp., Matco Impressa, M3 Engineering, Endeavour Silver, Solitario Resources, & Vista Gold.

Time is running out!
Have you entered the SME Photo Contest yet?
This year's theme is "People in Mining." The deadline is approaching fast, so send us photos of yourself or your colleagues hard at work and we'll share the winning images online and in the Exhibit Hall of the 2012 SME Annual Meeting in Seattle. Submission deadline is December 31, 2011.

SME Distinguished Member nominations due December 1
SME is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Class of Distinguished Members.
Candidates must:
  • - have been a full member of SME for at least 15 years
  • - have demonstrated 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.
Candidates may be nominated by any two SME Distinguished Members (each knowing the member under different circumstances), any two local section executives (must include a chair or past chair) or any five members of SME. Nomination forms must be received at SME by December 1st. Nomination forms are available online: Distinguished Member Award or by contacting Tessa Baxter at or 303-948-4208.

Become part of the new Mii website
Mii will be upgrading its website,, with the capability to include interactive games among its many programs. This new feature for kids (and adults) will include word games, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, multiple choice quizzes and much more. Using facts and figures from our teaching materials about the importance of mining and minerals, the games and puzzles will be another extension of our outreach activities.

We are currently inviting sponsorships and donations towards funding this project. The website enjoys an average of 181,000 visits each month, with October 2011 seeing the most activity, with 273,000 visits. We can also boast about our record number of page views during October: 1,321,930! Our visitors are becoming more engaged and informed about what the mining and minerals industries are all about, and your support to help advance and increase our capabilities is most welcome. Please contact Mii at 303-948-4236 and let Jackie know you would like to be a part of this exciting new project.

Underwater Mining Institute seeks presentations for 2012 conference
Prospective presentations should focus on the conference theme: Marine Minerals: Finding the Right Balance of Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection.

The rapidly increasing demand for minerals in recent years has led to escalating prices, particularly of many base metals that are found in seabed deposits. As we anticipate new commercial seabed mining operations in the near term, it is critical to ensure that such activities take place with due consideration for all resources that could be impacted, including mineral, biological, economic, cultural and other resources. Presentations that focus on the strategies and methods to be used to address these considerations would be welcome at this year's institute. Other relevant topics of timely interest are also welcome.

The 2012 Underwater Mining Institute will be hosted by Tongji University in Shanghai, China, October 15-21, 2012. Tongji University is one of the leading universities in China and a leading center for marine science. Please direct any questions to the Conference Coordinator, Ms. Karynne Morgan at

New to the SME Bookshelf
Handbook of Coal Analysis

Provides readers with everything they need to know about testing and analyzing coal. The book explains the meaning of test results and how these results can predict coal behavior and its corresponding environmental impact during use. Members pay $175.
Handbook of Coal Analysis
Regulatory Governance & Risk Management: Occupational Health and Safety in the Coal Mining Industry
Is the first book that addresses the diffusion of risk-based governance in the coal mining industry from a health and safety standpoint. Members pay $105.
Regulatory Governance & Risk Management

November Minerals & Metallurgical Processing now available
Come browse the latest issue of Minerals & Metallurgical Processing - titles and abstracts are available to everyone, and November is a great time to subscribe! All first-time subscribers to M&MP will receive five issues for the price of one subscription if they subscribe by December 31, 2011. Don’t miss this opportunity! Subscribe now!!

Nominate your colleagues in the tunneling & underground industry for a UCA award
The Underground Construction Association of SME administers and presents four recognition awards for outstanding individual and group achievements in the tunneling and underground construction industries. These awards and their recipients represent the highest levels of commitment and expertise that have come to symbolize the vitality of UCA of SME as a professional society.

Click any of the awards below for more information: Guidelines and nomination forms are available on the UCA of SME website (
Please submit your nominations by January 3, 2012 to Mary O'Shea at

Need a quote for business insurance?
The Wright Group has negotiated an SME exclusive Professional Liability program with Beazley Insurance Company for SME members and continues to use its insurance expertise to assist SME members in obtaining the most appropriate and cost effective insurance policies. Click here for the latest newsletter and contact information.

Washington Updates

Senate committee and Dept of Interior approve wilderness designations
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee have both presented national conservation or wilderness area proposals to set aside large swaths of land, mainly in the West, from development. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on November 10 approved a package of 27 bills which designate or expand the boundaries of wilderness areas, conservation areas, and protected rivers in several states.

Salazar issued a report containing a preliminary list of areas largely managed by the Bureau of Land Management "that merit consideration by Congress for designation as national conservation areas or wilderness."

Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said, "The appropriate process for creating new wilderness areas on federal land is to petition Congress after the federal land management agencies have completed their land management plans and recommendations. If a proposal has the support of a state's congressional delegation, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will give it full and careful consideration. Some of the areas included in today's recommendation by the administration fall short of that mark," she added.

Congressional Rare Earth Caucus formed

In response to the ongoing and increasingly complicated developments surrounding rare earth minerals, Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) has started a Congressional Rare Earth Caucus. The Caucus will be an informal bipartisan group of members of Congress dedicated to promoting education and awareness of, and solutions to, the issues and concerns related to rare earth minerals, including the areas of national security, resource development, economic security, trade matters, and renewable energy. Mr. Coffman is also a sponsor of H.R. 2011, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011, which would require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct an assessment of the capability of the Nation to meet current and future demands for rare earths and other minerals critical to U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and economic and national security in a time of expanding resource nationalism. For more information, please refer to SME’s technical briefing paper on rare earths, or go to

Pending: the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act

On November 11, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) announced plans to introduce a new house bill, the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act, to prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from approving any new rules or regulations that could adversely impact employment in coal mines, cause a reduction in federal revenue from coal mining or diminish the ability of America to produce coal.

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral resources has held numerous hearings on the Obama Administration’s proposed rewrite of the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.

House bill introduced to prohibit ban on uranium mining near Grand Canyon

On November 3, the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3155, the “Northern Arizona Mining Continuity Act of 2011.” Introduced by Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), H.R. 3155 would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from banning uranium mining on 1 million acres outside the borders of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. On October 26, the Bureau of Land Management released a final environmental impact statement, which would withdraw those lands from mining and exploration for 20 years.

House Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said, “In fact, it has been proven that allowing development of our domestic resources in this remote area would pose no threat to the park or water quality in the region. Furthermore, Secretary Salazar’s decision completely contradicts the Administration’s own energy efforts. Energy Secretary Chu has indicated that nuclear energy must be a part of our diverse energy portfolio, but you can’t have nuclear energy without uranium.” Mr. Bishop refers to an April 2011 letter (pdf) written by the Arizona Geological Survey to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer with a report to reassure her that uranium mining near the Grand Canyon would be safe.

House and Senate release 2012 calendars

The current House schedule (pdf) of spending two weeks in Washington, D.C. and one week in home districts will be continued in the second session of the 112th Congress, according to the 2012 schedule released by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). The schedule was originally crafted at the beginning of the GOP takeover of the House last year to let members spend longer stretches of time meeting face-to-face with their constituents. The House schedule sees the chamber in session for only six days in January and 109 days overall.

The House schedule has received its fair share of criticism, mostly from senators who are following the more traditional schedule built around major holidays. The Senate schedule calls for four-week stretches between recesses, but is currently only sketched out through early September. The Senate will return to Washington from its December recess on Jan. 23, leaving only seven days of possible legislative business in January. For the first 36 weeks of the year, the chamber will be in session for only 22 weeks, or less than two-thirds of the time. Like the House, the Senate is likely to ease up on its activity during the fall of 2012 as the campaign season enters its final stretch.

Dept of Interior to move Surface Mining Office to BLM
On October 26, 2011 Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a Secretarial Order that will incorporate the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement into the Bureau of Land Management. According to DOI, this effort seeks to further strengthen the bureaus’ mining regulations and abandoned mine land reclamation programs. The order will become effective on December 2, 2011 following consultation with the White House Office of Management and Budget, employees, and related congressional committees with responsibilities over these functions. According to the Order, Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes must work with OSM and BLM to develop a schedule by March 1, 2012, to improve strategies in four primary areas: administrative support functions, environmental restoration of abandoned mine lands, fee collections, and the regulation, inspection and enforcement and state program oversight.

EPA Announces final study plan to assess hydraulic fracturing
On November 4, the EPA announced its final research plan (pdf) on hydraulic fracturing. The final study plan looks at the full cycle of water in hydraulic fracturing, from the acquisition of the water, through the mixing of chemicals and actual fracturing, to the post-fracturing stage, including the management of flowback and produced or used water as well as its ultimate treatment and disposal. It is projected that shale gas will comprise over 20% of the total U.S. gas supply by 2020. The study was reviewed by the Science Advisory Board, an independent panel of scientists, to ensure the agency conducted the research using a scientifically sound approach. Earlier this year, EPA announced its selection of locations for five retrospective and two prospective case studies in ND, CO, PA and TX. The initial research results and study findings will be released to the public in 2012. The final report will be delivered in 2014.

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