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SME eNews
Catch the next SME summer webinar, Directions in Mineral Exploration
The SME Summer Webinar Series is underway. Webinars are an effective way to connect with others in the industry without the expense and inconvenience of travel. The summer program features five hour-long webinars. Registration is now open.

Thursday, May 24, 2PM 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.

Thursday, June 21, 2PM MDT
“Emerging Workforce Trends,” Cliff Brandon, President, Automated Systems Alliance Inc.

Time TBA
“New Trends in Health & Safety”

Tuesday, August 7, 8AM MDT
“The Future for Gold,” Gary Goldberg, Executive Vice President and COO, Newmont Mining

Draft of National Science Standards
released for public review
On May 11, 2012 the long-awaited draft of the future National Science Standards was released for public comment. All SME members and others concerned about the teaching of K-12 science and engineering curriculum are urged to visit the website to view the proposed standards. Be prepared to spend many hours doing the review, as understanding the format and then examining the contents are very lengthy tasks and need your full attention. The Minerals Education Coalition Committee would welcome hearing from you, as an SME response will be submitted. The comment period deadline is June 1, 2012. For more information or to submit your concerns, contact Sharon Schonhaut, MEC Manager, at (303) 948-4236 or
Reach out and
nominate someone
SME administers and presents numerous recognition awards for outstanding individual and group achievements in the minerals industry. These awards and their recipients represent the highest levels of commitment and expertise that have come to symbolize the vitality of SME as a professional society. SME is now accepting nominations for SME and AIME awards to be presented at our 2013 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. Please visit for more information on all SME awards or to download the award nomination form. All nomination and supporting materials must be received no later than June 1, 2012. Contact Tessa Baxter at 303-948-4208 or e-mail to with any questions.

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: reaches 100,000 documents
The participating organizations of are pleased to announce that as of May 2, 2012, more than 100,000 documents have been uploaded to the site, representing more than 1.6 million pages of technical information vital to the mining, metals, minerals and underground construction industries. is a single repository of stored documents ranging from 1871 to the present day. It consists of several participating societies, each supplying its own technical material. Members of each participating society have unlimited access to the site and can download as many documents as they want at no cost. Nonmembers can download documents for a fee. Corporate and library subscriptions are also available. Participating organizations include:
  • American Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME)
  • Australasian Institute for Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM)
  • Deep Foundations Institute (DFI)
  • International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS)
  • Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME).Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME)
  • Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM)
  • U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
For more information about, contact Gregg Tiedeman, phone 303-948-4248, e-mail

Foundation news
Newmont Mining has been a great supporter of the educational programs within the SME Foundation. We would like to say thank you to Newmont for their generous gift of $30,000 to the MEC program. This will be used to develop new materials and be part of the outreach the MEC does within classrooms for teachers.

The SME Foundation and the MEC would also like to express their gratitude to Kappes Cassiday and Associates for their $5,000 cosponsorship of the reprint for the Spanish version of the Periodic Chart. These charts will be available soon.

Mark your calendars now for the SME Foundation Dinner during the SME Annual Conference in Denver, CO: February 24, 2013. The theme this year will be Mardi Gras Casino night. Table sponsorships for eight will be available for purchase. Look for more details next month.

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SME issues technical briefing on minerals needs for energy production
On April 23, SME issued its latest technical briefing paper, "Meeting the U.S. Metals and Minerals Needs for Energy Production." The development of mineral resources is a key driver of global economic growth and energy production. The paper states that it is essential for the economic growth and national security of the U.S. that the nation have an adequate, sustainable and economically viable balanced supply of energy sources. In addition, the allocation of mineral raw materials to the energy-producing sector of the economy needs to be a top priority. This will require an assessment of the demand for mineral commodities by the energy sectors and the ability of U.S. minerals producers to satisfy that demand.

Other technical briefings issued by SME on rare earths, nuclear energy, mine safety, access to public lands for mineral development, meeting the world’s future mineral needs and permitting impediments to mineral development can be found on SME’s government relations-specific website

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

SME’s government affairs web site – your resource for current legislative issues
Don’t forget to visit SME’s Government Affairs website, at, for full access to all activities in the Legislative and Executive Branches of government. From this homepage, which is updated every two weeks, you can access current House and Senate legislation affecting the mining industry; federal reports and publications on mining; EPA, MSHA and NIOSH portals on mining; locate a bill by number or sponsor that is pending in Congress; locate your member of Congress; view and download technical briefing papers issued by SME on a variety of mining topics; read testimony given by SME; view archived House and Senate hearings on mining issues; track votes by your member of Congress and more. Bookmark this page for future reference.

Washington Updates

House mining bills call for action on soda ash and critical minerals on federal lands
Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO) introduced the "Planning for American Energy Act of 2012" (PDF), which calls for an amendment to the Mineral Leasing Act that would require the Department of the Interior to develop a federal onshore energy production strategy every four years. The DOI plan would include best estimates of increased production of strategic and critical energy minerals, including domestic production of coal, minerals, oil, natural gas and oil shale.

Another mining-related bill before the House subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources has garnered some bipartisan support. Wyoming Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis' H.R. 1192 (PDF) would keep the royalty rate for soda ash -- a key resource used in making glass, chemicals and detergents – low at 2 percent to better compete with Chinese producers. The Green River Basin in Wyoming has the world's largest deposit of trona, a mineral mined for soda ash. Oregon lawmakers are also supporting the bill because of shipping facilities there. Both bills were subjects of a Subcommittee hearing on various energy and mining initiatives on April 26.

Bill to streamline the mine permitting process passes House committee
On May 16, the House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Protection Act, introduced by former Nevada Mining Association President-turned Congressman, Mark Amodei (R-NV . This bill allows the U.S. to more efficiently develop strategic and critical minerals, such as rare earth elements, that are vital to job creation, American economic competitiveness and national security. The bill streamlines the permitting process for mineral development by coordinating the actions of federal, state, local and Tribal agencies. 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.

Compromise reached on Senate critical minerals bill
On May 10, Democratic and Republican staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reached a compromise on an amendment (PDF) to Senator Murkowski’s (R-AK) “Critical Minerals Policy Act” (S.1113) (PDF). This legislation had been sitting idle since introduction, until key staff were directed to work out differences raised by the Committee leadership. The key changes that will likely move this bill include: a 10-mineral limit on the number of criticality designations that can be made at any one point in time (all rare earths count as just one of the 10); modification of permitting and review reforms; elimination of the ‘Interagency Working Group’ for implementing permitting and review reforms (replaced with BLM and USFS as leads); addition of a National Academy of Science study of the critical minerals supply chain, with mandatory agency responses to recommendations; deletion of loan guarantee program eligibility provisions and inclusion of an offset for the full $60 million that is authorized for appropriation. Provisions that remain in place in the legislation include an assessment of the domestic workforce available for critical mineral development; the design of curriculum in colleges to address critical minerals issues and a grant program for faculty, research, internships and scholarships related to critical minerals supply. It remains Sen. Murkowski’s goal to advance S.1113 through regular order in the Senate with broad, bipartisan support.

SME opposes restrictions on federal employees attendance at society meetings
SME , along with over 2,100 associations, respectfully sent a letter (PDF) urging Congress to consider revisions to amendments passed in two separate bills on April 25 by the House and Senate, which place severe restrictions on government employees attending meetings and conferences of professional societies and associations. These amendments were included in the “Digital Accountability and Transparency Act” or DATA Act (H.R. 2146) in the House, and the “21st Century Postal Service Act” (S. 1789) in the Senate. However well-intentioned, the provisions of these bills have broad implications for SME, trade associations and other nongovernmental organizations that invite government employees to give presentations or attend their conferences. Without modifications, the provisions could discourage government attendance at educational conferences and hinder the necessary interchange between government and the private sector. The Obama administration has responded with a directive (PDF) to federal agencies to cut their travel budgets for fiscal year 2013 by 30 percent and cap spending on government-sponsored conferences at $500,000.

The letter points out that the dialogue that takes place at these meetings between government and the private sector is essential to the development of informed policymaking and facilitates economic growth and job creation. The dangers of government operating in a vacuum – with fewer opportunities to learn and exchange information with private industries in a conference or meeting setting – are too great to ignore.

SME joins the Materials Genome Initiative for global competitiveness
SME has joined force with other organizations representing the spectrum of science and engineering to launch an online community dedicated to sharing news and information related to the Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness (MGI), unveiled by President Obama in June 2011. Called The MGI Forum, the resource has been developed as an online digest of MGI-related initiatives and issues within and across the participating organizations, as well as the broader materials and manufacturing community. The Materials Genome Initiative is a multi-stakeholder effort focused on developing an innovation infrastructure to accelerate materials discovery and deployment. The MGI will support the development of the computational tools, software, new methods for material characterization and the development of open standards and databases that will make the process of discovery and development of advanced materials faster, less expensive, and more predictable.

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