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SME eNews - View Past Issue  

SME eNews
Meet our members
SME Members are among the most successful professionals in the Minerals Industry -- and it all starts with students. Every fall, SME hosts a Student Membership Challenge. Thirty-five student chapters, in the U.S. and around the world, compete against each other to try to recruit the highest number of new SME student members. This year’s Student Membership Challenge just ended and the winners will be announced soon. The top three student chapters to recruit the most new members will receive cash awards.

We would like to share stories from several student members. Here is our first featured student:
Román Gil Rodriguez, Mining engineer,
Universdad Politécnica De Madrid, Madrid, Spain,
Member Since 2011, Student member

“I discovered SME thanks to their famous publications on mineral processing, tunnels and mining. This is my first year as a member and, finally, as a student, so far I can only comment on the quality and accuracy of its publications. I hope to discover more aspects of SME for many years.”
2012 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit
February 19-22, 2012, Seattle, WA
Register today! There are only 30 days left to take advantage of the early bird registration pricing for the SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Seattle, WA. We are up 37% for registrations and we are up in booth sales; the 2012 Annual Meeting promises to be a conference you won’t want to miss!

Make sure you aren’t Sleepless in Seattle! Rooms are filling up fast. The Hilton is currently sold out and other hotels have a waiting list for certain days, so if you haven’t booked your hotel room for the SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit book now.

Volunteers wanted! Help give back by being a part of the 3rd annual Miners Give Back on Friday, February 17th. To volunteer, please sign up when you register or edit/add to your existing registration.

Click here and join us in Seattle! VOLUNTEERS WANTED! Help give back by being a part of the 3rd annual Miners Give Back on Friday, February 17th. To volunteer please sign up when you register or edit/add to your existing registration.

Look for the 2012 Proxy in the mail and online
In 2012 the Annual Meeting of Members will be held immediately following the conclusion of the SME Board of Directors Meeting on Sunday, February 19, at the Sheraton Seattle, Seattle, WA.

At this meeting, 2011 President, John N. Murphy, will report on the Society’s activities, its state, its concerns and its financial condition. Drew A. Meyer will be installed as the 2012 President and, upon election by the membership entitled to vote, the following directors shall take office:

Jessica Elzea Kogel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President-Elect
Marc A. Herpfer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director-at-Large
Hugh B. Miller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Director-at-Large

A proxy will be sent to you via mail in the next week or so. In the event you will not be attending the Meeting of Members. Please sign, date, and return your mail ballot/proxy or, you may vote on-line at Online voting will be available Friday, January 3, 2012. Your prompt response is appreciated.

Students: sign up for an Annual Meeting Mentor
SME is looking forward to providing student members with mentors at the SME Annual Meeting in 2012. Given the favorable feedback from the students and veteran members alike, SME is once again making this mentoring program available to all students who wish to participate during the 2012 Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. The programs' goals are to give students a deeper understanding of the activities, opportunities, and networking available at the Annual Meetings, and give veteran SME members a better perspective of the wants and needs of our younger membership. Students planning to attend the Annual Meeting who wish to take advantage of the mentoring program should complete the Student Interest form online at: Students will then be paired with member volunteers based on shared common interests and will be notified before the 2012 annual meeting. You can apply for a Mentor when you register for the Annual Meeting. Make sure you follow the link to the Mentor and Mentee Applications and complete the application process. Your application will then be sent to Mona Vandervoort at headquarters. We are looking forward to seeing you in Seattle, WA at the 2012 SME Annual Meeting. In order to be matched with a Mentor or Student with similar interests it is imperative that applications are received by January 20, 2012!
MPD students — check out this great Annual Meeting opportunity!
Going to the Annual Meeting? Doing undergraduate or graduate work in minerals processing? Have we got the deal for you! Enter the Minerals Processing Division (MPD) student poster contest by January 16 and attend the MPD luncheon for free (Annual Meeting Registration charges still apply). Prizes are $1000, $500 and $300 for first, second and third place in each category (graduate and undergraduate). All compliant poster entry authors will be treated to lunch at the MPD luncheon, a complimentary online subscription to SME's premier peer-reviewed journal, Minerals & Metallurgical Processing, and either a cash prize or $100. View more details at MPD Student Poster Contest, or contact Tessa Baxter for more information at or 303-948-4208.

Mentors needed for the 2012 SME Annual Meeting
Whether you are a seasoned SME Annual Meeting veteran or a first timer, you have the opportunity to affect the future of SME by participating as a mentor in this year's SME Annual Meeting Mentor Program. Mentors can be instrumental in helping students to begin developing a network in the industry by showing students the "ropes" and introducing them to colleagues. This is a marvelous opportunity to have a real impact in the society at a personal level. Students requesting mentors will be matched with mentor volunteers, based on information drawn from the Mentor Form. Both Mentors and Students will be notified before the 2012 Annual Meeting. Don't miss your chance to be a valuable resource to our student members - SME's future leaders. To volunteer or request further information for the Mentor Program, contact Mona Vandervoort at, or phone 303-948-4227.
To sign up online go to: or you can sign up when you register for the annual meeting. In order to be properly matched with a Mentor or Student, it is imperative that applications are received by January 20, 2012.
Last chance to enter your photos!
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.

Coming January 1 — the new Mining Engineering web site!
The new Mining Engineering web site ( is scheduled to launch on January 1st 2012. The web site has been redesigned from the ground up. Members will able to access the current issue of ME, as well as archived issues going back to 2004. In addition, the site will contain mining industry news stories, updated daily, as well as a monthly online-only feature article. This will make Mining Engineering more timely and useful to members.

Members will also be able to access the SME website, including the society’s Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and SME Community pages. And links to and the Mineral Information Institute are provided. Paid advertising on the new site will offset the cost of maintaining the site.

SME launches two new eLearning courses
SME is pleased to announce the addition of two new courses to its eLearning program:
Acid Rock Drainage: Prediction and Treatment
This video presents a technical foundation of acid rock drainage related to permitting new mines and remediation of abandoned mine land.

Equipment Management: Key to Reliability
By Paul D. Tomlingson

This course introduces and explains the fundamental economic and financial models and terms that are commonly found in the minerals industry. The course is perfect for managers and technical professionals in the minerals industries who do not have a financial background, but wish to expand their knowledge of basic financial tools and terms they will commonly encounter. The course is designed for operational mining personnel who must work within their company's financial management, approvals and reporting systems. Each module of the course focuses on a different term or tool, and uses mining-specific examples to illustrate these terms or tools.

SME will be adding new courses on a regular basis, so be certain to check the website regularly to see what's new. As always we are very happy to offer our members a discount. If you are not a member, please enjoy these courses at reasonable nonmember rates or join SME and take advantage of the numerous benefits and discounts we offer. For a complete catalog see:

Call for papers - Minerals & Metallurgical Processing
Minerals & Metallurgical Processing has put out a call for papers for its Advanced Sustainable Iron and Steel Making special issue (February 2013). This is a great chance to become part of SME’s premier peer-reviewed quarterly journal. The deadline to submit is June 30, 2012. Come browse the latest issue of Minerals & Metallurgical Processing—titles and abstracts are available to everyone. All first-time subscribers to M&MP will receive five issues for the price of one subscription if they subscribe by December 31, 2011. A great opportunity!

New to the SME Bookshelf
Mining & Rock Construction Technology Desk Reference
A comprehensive and illustrated desk reference with terms, definitions, explanations, abbreviations, trade names, quantifications, units and symbols used in rock mechanics, drilling and blasting.
Mining & Rock Construction Technology Desk Reference

Remote Sensing of the Mine Environment
A guide for students and professionals, this book covers the basic principles of remote sensing and its applications in mine environment monitoring.
Remote Sensing of the Mine Environment

Underwater Mining Institute seeks presentations for 2012 conference
The Underwater Mining Institute is seeking presentations focused on the following topics:
  • Environmental baseline and monitoring technologies and results
  • Benefit cost evaluations of seabed versus land-based mining for specific commodities
  • Strategies and methodologies for achieving sustainable seabed mining projects
  • Others of relevant and timely interest to seabed minerals
The conference title is Marine Minerals: Finding the Right Balance of Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection. The 2012 Underwater Mining Institute will be hosted by Tongji University in Shanghai, China, October 15-21, 2012. Please direct any questions to the Conference Coordinator, Ms. Karynne Morgan at

Submission instructions: go to the SME web site’s link to UMI Author's Information and click on Abstract Submission. You will be asked to review the SME Copyright policy, then submit your abstract. A preliminary abstract is due by April 30. If selected, a final version will be required on or before the end of June 2012.

  • Enter title of presentation
  • Select preference for an oral (~25 minutes) or poster presentation
  • Enter key words
  • Upload abstract: use the Author Guidelines (PDF) in preparing your abstract (maximum of 10 pages including tables and figures). Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx and .pdf.
  • Upload biographical sketch of principal author and speaker(s): ½-page narrative and portrait photo of each also as a .doc, .docx and .pdf file.
The deadline for submission of a preliminary abstract is April 30, 2012. The selection of presentations and notification of authors will be completed by May 31, 2012. If necessary, authors may submit final abstract revisions by the end of June 2012.

Tunneling and underground construction students: don’t miss this opportunity
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. The top three authors will receive admission to the 2012 NAT Conference (June 24-27, 2012), including flight and accommodations. The authors will present their papers at the conference breakfast. In addition, the winners will receive $2,000 each. 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: NAT Scholarships

  • Abstract with Bio due January 15, 2012
  • Final Papers due April 30, 2012
  • Conference: June 24-27, 2012

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

Contribute to the Vernon F. Swanson Endowment
"Paying it forward" to help impassioned engineering students was Vernon (Fred) Swanson’s desire. Swanson passed away in 2010. His family is committed to living out his vision of helping students continue their education and establish funds to annually award to CSM students. This endowment is fully endorsed by the Extractive Metallurgy Chapter of Denver and supported by Swanson’s colleagues. Swanson’s dedication to cultivate young engineers to realize their full potential was a constant passion throughout his life. In this ever-changing economic climate, the Swanson Family wants to ensure that his dedication and passion continue. Please consider contributing to this tax-deductible scholarship fund through February 2012 by sending your donation to The Vernon F. Swanson Memorial Scholarship Fund, Colorado School of Mines Foundation, Inc., 1600 Arapahoe Street, Golden, Colorado 80401. Please feel free to contact Kim Spratt in the Gift Planning Department at the address above or at

Washington Updates

House passes bills limiting federal agency authority
In continuing efforts to limit the regulatory reach of federal agencies, the House of Representatives passed two bills on December 7 and 8 that would restrict agency authority and require Congressional approval prior to rulemaking. On Dec 7, the House passed H.R. 10, “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2011,” that requires Congressional approval of all major rules proposed by a federal agency. Specifically, the bill seeks to increase accountability and transparency in the federal regulatory process and to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of Congressional approval is enacted into law. In this case, the term `major rule' means any rule that is likely to result in an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation or on the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.

On Dec 8, the House passed H.R. 1633, “Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act” on a bipartisan vote of 268-150 that would establish a temporary prohibition against EPA revising any national ambient air quality standard applicable to coarse particulate matter and to limit federal regulation of nuisance dust in areas in which such dust is regulated under State law. While the title of the bill indicates it concerns only farming, this bill also affects mining operations that emit fugitive dust from extraction and beneficiation activities, such as drilling, blasting, hauling, crushing and processing of ore. Working in concert with the farming industry representatives, mining organizations made sure their concerns were addressed in this final bill. EPA had proposed to significantly lower the air standard for dust, which would make it difficult for mining companies to comply, even for operations that already employ best available control technologies. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) is renewing his call to pass S.1528, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, a bill he introduced in September that is nearly identical to H.R. 1633.

House hearing calls for securing U.S. Supply of energy critical elements and REEs

On December 8, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing to examine research needs and priorities relating to energy critical elements, most notably rare earths, and to examine H.R. 2090 (PDF), the “Energy Critical Elements Advancement Act of 2011,” a bill introduced by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL). H.R. 2090 establishes a national resource assessment of potential geologic reserves that would deliver key information to the market and benefit both producers and consumers of energy critical elements. With respect to R&D, the legislation focuses Federal efforts in basic materials science and chemistry related to energy critical elements in order to complement private sector efforts and enable accelerated innovations. Appearing as a witness, DOE Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow said the agency will issue its updated 2011 Critical Materials Strategy in late December. Sandalow said that the report will update its analysis in light of rapidly-changing market conditions and include updated criticality assessments and market analyses to assist in addressing critical materials challenges.

PwC issues report on mineral and metals scarcity
On December 7, PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a report (PDF) , "Minerals and Metals Scarcity in Manufacturing: The Ticking Time Bomb," that considered the impact materials scarcity is likely to have on seven different manufacturing industries. Through interviews held between July and September 2011 with senior executives in many of the world’s leading organizations, PwC was able to gauge the importance of minerals and metals scarcity and highlight the likely economic, environmental and social impact on different geographic regions and industry sectors. Industry sectors surveyed include: automotive, aviation, chemicals, energy and utilities, high tech, infrastructure and renewable energy. Survey responses fell into six broad categories: there is high relevance for scarcity but limited current awareness; scarcity brings risks and opportunities; the impact of scarcity will increase substantially in near future; increased demand for materials is perceived as the primary cause for scarcity; preparedness for the anticipated shortage differs considerably per sector and, finally, process improvements, increased efficiencies and peer collaboration are the right global response. Finally, respondents agreed that resource scarcity is likely to be a central issue for business leaders and for policymakers in coming decades.

MSHA issues PIL on mine rescue inspections
MSHA has issued a Procedure Instruction Letter (PIL) to provide instructions on mine rescue inspections under 30 C.F.R. Part 49, Subpart B. This PIL applies to coal mine safety and health enforcement personnel; however, the details of what is required by the inspectors is instructional for all underground coal mine operators as well.

The PIL contains requirements addressing the three essential elements of effective mine rescue teams: (1) ready availability, (2) proper equipment and (3) basic levels of skills and training. All mine rescue stations shall be inspected quarterly during the regular inspection. View the check sheet (PDF) used during mine rescue inspections for details of what an MSHA inspector is looking for in their reviews.

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© 2011 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
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