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SME eNews - View Past Issue  

SME eNews
Mine the archives
Of Mining Engineering. Our complete online archive is available to SME members — just log in at http://me.smenet.org and dig into the past.
The Foundation’s Annual Giving Campaign on a roll
Your continued support is drawing us closer and closer to attaining our fundraising goal. Thank you for being so supportive. Since October, 2011, we have seen 30 NEW donors to the Foundation and re-engaged 38 that have not been a part of us for a while. Eight last gave to us in the 1990s. YAY supporters!


Congratulations to our MPD Student Poster Contest winners!
The May issue of Minerals & Metallurgical Processing, SME’s international peer-reviewed journal, is now available online. Check out the winners of the MPD Student Poster Contest - the top three abstracts are available to subscribers, along with cutting-edge articles on the processing of hematite, new ways to float coal and much, much more. Nonsubscribers may view abstracts.

Get the latest mining news delivered directly to your inbox!
Subscribe today to Mining Engineering’s RSS feed and get daily news updates, opportunities and more. Click here.

Minerals Education Coalition staff positions announced
SMEF’s Minerals Education Coalition is accepting applications for two positions: K-12 and Public Awareness Curriculum Coordinator and K-12 and Public Awareness Outreach Coordinator. The work of both individuals will focus on generating an enlightened and supportive public that appreciates the importance of mining and minerals to their lives and their lifestyles.

Several distinct, yet equally important, groups are the targeted audience for the activities of the MEC, specifically: 1) K-12 students, who are the consumers of the future and potential employees of the mining industry; 2) K-12 teachers, who will provide the knowledge and skills needed to provide factual and meaningful instruction and experiences for youth; 3) SME members throughout the nation who locally provide accurate and significant educational activities for K-12 students and the general public and 4) the general public, who are the beneficiaries of mining and minerals in their daily lives.

For more information, go to http://miningjobs.smenet.org/jobs.

Get caught looking...
The Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) is pleased to introduce the SME Summer Webinar Series.
Webinars are an effective way to bring you together with others in the industry without travel expense and inconvenience. The summer program features five hour-long webinars. Each program is $45 for a member and $90 for a nonmember. Registration is now open.

May
- Wednesday, May 9th, 2:00 p.m. MDT
"Rare Earth Resurgence: Diversifying Global Supply Chains"
Mark Smith, President and CEO, Molycorp
- Thursday, May 24, 2:00 p.m. MDT
"Directions in Mineral Exploration"
Robert Schafer, Executive vice president, Hunter Dickinson
David Cole, President and CEO, Eurasian Minerals Inc.
Ron Parratt, Executive Chairman, Renaissance Exploration Inc.

June
- Thursday, June 21, 2:00 p.m. MDT "Emerging Workforce Trends"
Cliff Brandon, President, Automated Systems Alliance Inc.

July
"New Trends in Health & Safety"

August
- Tuesday, August 7, 8:00 a.m. MDT "The Future for Gold"
Gary Goldberg, Executive vice president and COO, Newmont Mining Corp.

New courses now available!
SME eLearning is pleased to introduce two new courses:

Fundamentals of the Dragline
This self-paced, video hybrid course provides a detailed look at efficient planning and operation of draglines, which is a critical aspect to the majority of surface coal mines throughout the world. Additionally, very few university programs offer in-depth studies of draglines and aftermarket training is primarily available through infrequently scheduled seminars. As a result, most training is received on the job and this course provides an excellent primer on the subject.

Mining Terminology and Methods
This self-paced, video hybrid course explains a wide variety of common mining terms, surface and underground mining methods, and the pros and cons of each. Additionally, this course identifies the different types of mineral commodities, drilling and blasting concepts and sources for additional information.

SME will be adding new courses on a regular basis, so be certain to check the website regularly to see what's new. For a complete catalog, see: http://www.smenet.org/elearning/

RETC call for papers
The 2013 Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference (RETC) Organizing Committee has issued a call for papers for the 2013 RETC, June 23-26, Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC. Prospective authors should submit an abstract no later than June 30, 2012 , to http://www.retc.org/Author/author_kit.cfm
View 2012 SME Annual Meeting Sessions -
online now!
If you missed the Annual Meeting in Seattle, you can still take in the Keynote and 10 other sessions.

To view: http://www.smenet.org/page/index.cfm?id=893

UMI 2012 Call for presentations
The Underwater Mining Institute has issued a call for presentations for UMI 2012: Marine Minerals: Finding the Right Balance of Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection. The conference will be held October 15-20, 2012, at Tonji University, Shanghai, China.

The Underwater Mining Institute is seeking presentations focused on:
  • 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
Prospective authors can submit an abstract to: 2012 UMI Author Information

Call for papers
Environmental Considerations in Energy Production, April 14-18, 2013, Charleston, WV

This conference is aimed at bringing together interested parties from around the world to exchange ideas on energy production, including mining, oil and gas production and electrical power generation, and the impacts on the environment and society.

For complete details, see: Environmental Considerations in Energy Production
2012 North American Tunneling Conference (NAT)
Indianapolis, IN
June 24th - 27th, 2012


Complete meeting details now available: full meeting information, including the technical program, short courses, exhibitors, award winners and more, is now available online at: North American Tunneling Conference (NAT).

SME and CIM are pleased to announce...
The second in a series of reliability and safety conferences:
Safety Management & System Reliability November 13-15, 2012, Minneapolis Marriott City Center, Minneapolis, MN

This conference is intended to provide attendees with the unique opportunity to learn and discuss best practices pertaining to topics related to safety and health management, loss control and system reliability.

SME Takes leadership role in international sustainability efforts
SME’s 2010 President Nikhil Trivedi is leading SME’s international efforts in the area of mining and sustainability by chairing a task force of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations’ Committee on Engineering and Environment, whose goal is to address the contributions of sound engineering practices in mining and sustainable development. The task force currently has representatives from 14 developed and developing countries with specialized interest in five thematic areas: environmentally sound engineering practices and technologies; best practices in social sustainability and responsibility; best practices in eco-efficient use of resources; engineering solutions to reuse, repurpose and recycle minerals and risk analysis, mitigation and management techniques. The task force has two initiatives currently underway: (1) Dissemination of information on the role of minerals and metals in sustainable development, including the role of minerals in improving the quality of life and materials essential for economic development, and (2) Promotion of the achievements and capabilities of the mineral community to the general public and specifically to the communities in which minerals companies operate. Click here (PDF) to see the April newsletter of the WFEO CEE devoted to mining and sustainability that provides an overview of the activities of, and issues addressed by, this SME-led task force.

Call for nominations
It is that time of year: SME needs your support in selecting the future leadership of our Society. SME is asking for your assistance in nominating and/or recommending members (including yourself) to serve the Society in one of the following roles:
  • SME President (2015)
  • Board Members-at-large (two will be selected)
  • Members for all SME Strategic Committees
For guidelines and information on the nominating process, click here: Call for nominations

Washington Updates

Ranking House Democrat requests GAO review of coal leasing program
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, asked the General Accountability Office on April 24 to review the government's coal leasing program amid an industry push for higher exports. In a letter (PDF) to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, Markey stressed the need to guarantee that taxpayers are getting the most from companies mining coal on public land, especially with more of that coal expected to end up overseas.

Markey noted that companies exported more than 100 million tons of coal last year. Peabody Energy Corp. predicted the export capacity could rise to 250 million tons by 2017, he said. "We lack information about how the rapid growth of coal mining on federal land combined with shrinking reserves and increasing exports produced from federal leases affect the value of U.S. coal," Markey said.

Markey wants to know more about the BLM's leasing activities for the last two decades and how it calculates fair market value for the coal it leases, especially when the coal ends up in overseas markets where it may end up selling for more.

Bill to streamline the mine permitting process introduced in the House
On April 19, former Nevada Mining Association president-turned-Congressman, Mark Amodei (R-NV), introduced the Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (H.R. 4402) (PDF), aimed at streamlining the federal permitting process for mineral development. The legislation would require federal agencies, including the Interior Department, to promote critical mineral production. It offers a broad definition of such materials, including resources necessary for national security, infrastructure, manufacturing and economic growth. Last summer, the House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved H.R. 2011 (PDF) to promote mineral production and assess permitting hurdles. But Amodei's new proposal is more aggressive in its reforms. It would limit the total review process for mining permits to a maximum of 30 months unless signatories agree to an extension. It also puts new restraints on project court injunctions and attorneys' fees. NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn testified at the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the bill on April 26 and said, "In a world in which the competition for mineral resources is increasingly fierce, America can no longer afford to benignly neglect a permitting process that stalls investment. We need assertive measures, such as those provided by H.R. 4402, to reverse a 30-year trend of increasing import reliance for materials we have here at home and lend a much-needed hand to the industries that will put Americans back to work."

House bill looks to restrict agencies’ regulation of waters of the U.S.
Legislation was introduced in the House April 27 to limit the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers’ attempts to expand federal power under the Clean Water Act and extend the government’s regulatory reach to all waters of the U.S., including incidentally created wetlands or water bodies located on mine sites. The bipartisan bill, H.R. 4965 (PDF), was introduced by Reps. John Mica (R-FL), Nick Rahall (D-WV), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH), leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Agriculture Committee.

The bill would prohibit the Obama Administration from finalizing or implementing the agencies’ proposed Final Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act (PDF) that may significantly broaden the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Act. Allowing the agencies to pursue the Final Guidance raises critical legal questions of whether the Clean Water Act permits such a major policy shift to be pursued through guidance, and whether the agencies are exceeding their authority granted by Congress.

MSHA Updates
MSHA Issues first quarter 2012 mining fatalities
Ten miners died in work-related accidents at the nation's mines in the first quarter of 2012. There were six coal mining and four metal/nonmetal mining fatalities in the first three months of 2012. The six coal mining deaths occurred in each of the following accident categories: Exploding Vessels Under Pressure, Other (Drowning), Handling Materials, Rib Fall, Machinery and Electrical. An uncharacteristic trend identified was that five of these fatalities - three of them supervisors – occurred on five consecutive weekends. The four metal/nonmetal mining deaths occurred in the following accident categories: one in a Powered Haulage accident; two killed in Fall of Face/Rib/Highwall; and one in a Fall of Person accident. MSHA has placed an analysis of the first quarter 2012 mining fatalities on its website at http://www.msha.gov/fatals/summaries/summaries.asp.

MSHA to phase out certain underground self rescuers
On April 26, MSHA announced that mine operators must immediately begin phasing out the use of SR-100 self-contained self-rescuers manufactured by Pittsburgh, PA-based CSE Corp. The announcement, made in conjunction with OSHA and NIOSH, was prompted by the April 13 NIOSH report of a joint NIOSH-MSHA investigation that determined the units do not conform to safety requirements. By April 26, 2013, mine operators are required to replace with any other approved one-hour SCSR those SR-100s that are worn or carried by miners and stored on mantrips. The entire phase-out of all SR-100 units must be completed by Dec. 31, 2013.

Following the identification of a potential problem with the starter oxygen system on two SR-100s by NIOSH and later by the manufacturer during routine quality control testing, an investigation was launched. The company voluntarily stopped selling the units, and additional safety protections and new training measures for miners were put in place to address the potential problem. At the time of the investigation, the SR-100 was one of three one-hour SCSR models in use.

Under the MINER Act of 2006, coal mine operators are required to provide additional SCSRs for each miner underground in areas such as working places, on mantrips, in escapeways and where outby crews work or travel. The rule also requires that SCSRs be readily accessible in the event of an emergency.

EPA to issue liability guidelines for “Good Samaritan” mine cleanups
EPA says it is reviewing guidelines for so-called Good Samaritan cleanups - projects by volunteers who want to help repair environmental damage done by abandoned mines. The agency has been accused by environmentalists and key lawmakers of dragging its feet on the issue. Nancy Stoner, the agency's acting water chief, said in a letter (PDF) to lawmakers in March that "EPA staff is working diligently on a clarification of our interpretation of the law and regulations for qualified non-governmental organizations that have no connection to the mining activities or any liability or responsibility for the cleanup of the mine site." Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Colorado Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, who received Stoner's letter, have pressed for the agency to get the guidelines done.

Even though the senators' focus was on hardrock cleanups, advocates say EPA needs to also issue similar Good Samaritan guidelines for the cleanup of abandoned coal mines. State regulators want new guidance because a recent court ruling said state regulators must obtain individual water discharge permits under the Clean Water Act for mines taken over by the state, usually after owners declare bankruptcy. States are concerned about the extent of their liability for these sites and whether the federal government or environmentalists will push to require stronger protections against pollution from abandoned mines that precede laws like the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

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