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SME eNews
So much is going on in the SME Foundation that we had to revamp the website!
We have designed the new site to showcase all the education and outreach that is going on, to focus attention on the great programs under the Foundation (PE, ABET, MEC and more), to highlight the SIX scholarships that are awarded each year, to announce all of the coming events and, of course, to THANK all of our donors! We invite you to visit our page at and check out the videos, photos from past events and news about our volunteers, contributors and staff. As we move into a new year of exciting events we want to thank all our members for your support! Stay tuned...we are just getting started!

West Virginia – here we come!
Calling all SME members – we need volunteers to staff the SME/MEC exhibit at the July 15-24 Boy Scout Jamboree at The Summit in West Virginia. It is expected that 50,000 Scouts, Venturers, volunteers and staff from all over the United States will participate. Activities include mountain biking, scuba diving, swimming, wall climbing, archery, shooting, skateboarding, zip lining and canopy touring. Scouts also get to trade patches, attend stadium shows, demonstrate their camping skills, work on Merit Badge activities and meet lots of new friends.

Please review the Jamboree website,, to determine if this is the right experience for you. Click on the section for “staff.” Are you comfortable sleeping on an aluminum cot in a tent? Cold showers? Long daily hikes from sleeping tent to exhibit tent to activity areas and back again? Long scheduled days? Flying into Charleston, WV and taking a shuttle bus to the campsite? Meeting all health, security, legal and training requirements? Providing the registration fee of $850 for the full experience or $425 for half-participation? This is a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, which is, as they say, priceless.

If this is something that you would like to do as an SME volunteer, or have any questions once you have looked at the website, please contact Sharon Schonhaut, or 303-948-4236, as soon as possible.

SME Distinguished Member nominations –
deadline extended until Monday, December 3!
Nominations for the SME Distinguished Member award are due on annually on December 1. However, since December 1 is a Saturday this year, we are extending the deadline until Monday, December 3. Any completed nominations received by that deadline will be considered and will be active for a period of three years. Candidates must have been members of SME for at least 15 years and must have demonstrated significant and sustained contributions to the minerals industry and to SME.

A list of past recipients and the downloadable nomination form may be found on the Distinguished Member Award page. For full nomination procedures, please refer to the nomination form or to the September 2012 edition of Mining Engineering.

We congratulate the Distinguished Members of the Class of 2013 (to be inducted at the SME Annual Meeting in Denver, CO): Kadri Dagdelen, Ray Henn, Tim O’Neil and Harry Parker!

WAAIME call for nominations
The WAAIME Committee is seeking nominations for the incoming WAAIME Committee member, who this year represents the “international” area of the committee. The nominee should therefore be from an international section. An electronic copy of a photo and a brief bio should be faxed or emailed with the attached nomination form. The due dates for nominations follow:
  • November 30 - All nominations with photos and bios should be at SME Headquarters.
  • December 2 - SME Headquarters will forward the nominees to the WAAIME Executive Committee.
  • December 15 - WAAIME Chair will notify SME Headquarters of the incoming committee member.
  • December 19 - WAAIME Chair will notify incoming committee member and invite her to the SME Annual Meeting.
Click here to download the nomination form.

Please send nomination form, photo and bio to Mary O'Shea, 12999 E Adam Aircraft Cir, Englewood, CO 80112; PH 303-948-4211; Fax: 303-973-3845; E-mail .

Last chance to enter the Education Sustainability Task Force
2013 Graduate Student Poster Contest
The Educational Sustainability Task Force is organizing the Third Annual Graduate Student Poster Contest to be held at the 2013 SME Annual Meeting. The Task Force believes that the greatest obstacle facing educational sustainability in the mineral industries is the pending shortage of qualified faculty members. The purpose of the Graduate Student Poster Contest is to recognize excellence in research by SME graduate student members and to encourage them to continue their pursuit of excellence through an academic career. The Graduate Student Poster Contest is open to any SME student member who is currently enrolled in a minerals-related graduate program. Prizes will be awarded to the top three places as follows: 1st place - $1,000, 2nd place - $650, and 3rd place - $350. For complete guidelines, download this PDF.

Abstracts should be e-mailed to Dr. Rick Sweigard at no later than December 1, 2012. Authors will be notified of acceptance by December 15, 2012. For additional information, please contact Mona Vandervoort at

MPD Student Poster contest
Minerals & Metallurgical Processing, SME’s premier international peer-reviewed journal, has again teamed up with SME's Mineral and Metallurgical Processing Division for the MPD Student Poster Contest, to be held in conjunction with the 2013 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Denver, CO. Details of the contest can be found here: MPD Student Poster contest.

Abstracts and posters must conform to the guidelines posted here (PDF) and be submitted to Jon Kellar, MPD Student Poster Contest Chair, via e-mail to by Tuesday, January 15, 2013.
Minerals & Metallurgical Processing featured abstract
Peek into the November issue of M&MP with this month’s featured abstract from the Lulea lab of Dr. K. Hanumantha Rao: "Recycling process water in sulfide flotation," Part A and Part B.

Subscribe now to M&MP (print & online) and receive five issues for the price of one: November 2012 plus all of 2013.

In 2013, M&MP will have two feature issues, including the highly-anticipated Rare-Earth Elements issue in February, featuring the latest research from Jan Miller, Douglas Fuerstenau, Pradip and other luminaries.

Did you know...?
Every December issue of Mining Engineering contains a complete index to the articles from the entire year.

SME members receive exclusive discount on Mine Reconciliation
& Resource Estimation Conference
IQPC North America has developed the 2012 Mine Reconciliation & Resource Estimation Training Seminar to provide tools and strategies for ongoing reconciliation excellence. SME members are eligible for an exclusive member-discounted pass for the five conference training modules: Business Consequences & Reconciliation; Resource Estimation; Model Generation; Data Management and Slope Stability and Safety. Mining company employees can register for just $999 (saving you $500). Service providers and consultants can register for $1399 (saving $500).

The training seminar, held in Phoenix, AZ, January 22-23, includes intensive technical sessions, interactive discussions and practical case studies. Register immediately to benefit from this limited SME offer that is valid until December 14. Register by calling 800-882-8684 or emailing Please quote Promo Code: MR_SME in all correspondence to guarantee the SME members-only discount.

For more information, go to To receive the SME discount, however, you must either call or email IQPC and use the discount code above.

Get involved with SME’s newest professional development program
The SME Online Mentoring program is a new member benefit and 100% free to all members! This is a wonderful way to engage with the future generation of mining and minerals professionals. The industry will experience a significant loss of professionals to retirement in the next 5-10 years. Mining schools are already suffering from low numbers of instructors and professors. The SME online mentoring program is an inexpensive, easy and effective way to guide and assist young professionals. Additionally, for those new to the industry, students and professionals at the beginning of their career, this is an excellent way to get a step ahead. Even seasoned professionals can benefit from a mentor. Sign up now! Be a mentor or a mentee or both!

Registration is now open for the
SME & CMA Annual Meeting!
The 2013 SME Annual Meeting & Exhibit and CMA 115th National Western Mining Conference will be held in Denver, CO from February 24-27. Be sure to register now to take advantage of early bird pricing, and don’t forget to book your housing. With over 5,500 attendees and 750+ exhibit booths, this is a conference you don’t want to miss. Full program details are now available.
2012 Annual Meeting of the
SME Arizona Conference
December 2-3, 2012
JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort
Tucson, AZ
Register online today!

2011 Salaries for mining engineering remain competitive in the geosciences
Across the U.S., the majority of geoscience-related occupations have competitive median salaries and starting salaries when compared to the median salaries of all occupations within the same state. Compiled by the American Geosciences Institute from Bureau of Labor Statistics data, in 2011, median salaries for the majority of geoscience-related occupations at the national, state and industry levels were 30 percent higher than the median salary for all occupations within each state. Starting salaries for geoscience-related occupations is available for 35 states, yet the currency of the data ranges from 2009 to 2012, with 20 states reporting data for 2011. Within these 20 states, the 2011 starting salaries for most geoscience-related occupations were over 10% higher than the median salary for all occupations within each state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled this data that includes median and starting salaries for 17 geoscience disciplines, including mining and geological engineering. This interactive chart allows the user to choose from occupation-, industry- and state-specific data to view the range of salaries.

New report on gender inequality in the mining sector
The mining and resource industry has a considerable challenge to retain its workforce. The industry faces serious labor shortages as a result of an aging labor force over the next decade, the retirement of the baby-boomer generation and increased competition for talent. Thus, there exists an immediate need to shift attention toward attracting new talent. Improving women’s participation and advancement in the industry is one of the opportunities to meet this challenge, according to a new report (PDF) from Canada’s Carleton University.

According to “The Pathway Forward: Creating Gender Inclusive Leadership in Mining and Resources,” the traditionally male-dominated workplace culture and its infusion into working values and styles, as well as communication practices and lack of support for managing family responsibilities, pose key obstacles for women’s advancement to executive positions in the mining industry. Women remain underrepresented in all of the mining industry’s employment opportunities, from entrance positions to leadership posts. Women’s employment in the mining industry – at around 15% for the past 14 years - is very low compared to other key economic sectors: service (71%), public administration (47%), manufacturing (21%), energy (24%), finance (61%), tourism and transport (45%).

The report lists 12 specific recommendations to address this issue, as well as best practices being implemented by mining companies. These include attracting female students to industry; entry to the industry; women-friendly culture in the workplace; work and family life balance; gender pay equity and career advancement.

Coal News

Europe and Asia are the leading destinations for U.S. coal exports in 2012
According to a Nov 15 report from the Energy Information Administration, about 75% of U.S. coal exports were shipped to Europe and Asia in 2012, continuing the growth of the past few years, with exports this year expected to reach an all-time high. Despite growing demand in Asia, the United States exports slightly more coal to Europe than it sends the rest of the world combined. U.S. coal exports to Europe are primarily serviced out of the East Coast via Norfolk, VA (the largest coal export facility in the United States) and Baltimore, MD (the third largest). Exports to Asia originate mostly from the East Coast as well, primarily out of Baltimore. Somewhat counterintuitively, most coal out of Baltimore - almost double the port's European volume - is destined for Asia, the world's largest coal consuming region.

One reason eastern seaports are the primary origin of U.S. coal exports to Asia is their proximity to U.S. metallurgical coal mines, concentrated in the eastern United States. While U.S. exports to Europe are closely split between metallurgical and steam coal (used to generate electricity), Asia primarily imports metallurgical coal, which is used in steelmaking. The unavailability of significant capacity limits exports from the western United States, the country's largest coal producing region, although the Seattle customs district has seen rapid growth over the past several years exporting steam coal via rail to Canada, where it is then shipped to Asia.

EIA issues Annual Coal Report for 2011
In November, the Energy Information Administration issued its Annual Coal Report (PDF), which provides annual data on U.S. coal production, number of mines, prices, recoverable reserves, employment, productivity, productive capacity, consumption and stocks. All data for 2011 and prior years are final.

Highlights for 2011:
  • U.S. coal production in 2011 increased slightly from 2010, driven by export demand, to roughly 1.1 billion short tons.
  • Production in the Western Region, which includes Wyoming, totaled 587.6 million short tons, a 0.7-percent decline from 2010.
  • In 2011, productive capacity of coal mines increased by 2.5 million short tons to 1.3 billion short tons.
  • The average number of employees in U.S. coal mines increased 6.3 percent to 91,611.
  • Domestic coal consumption of metallurgical coal by the coking industry rose 1.6 percent to 21.4 million short tons.
  • The average sales price of coal increased 15.2 percent to $41.01 per short ton.

EPA news

Bristol Bay peer-review issued; Sen. Murkowski responds
On Nov 9, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) commented on the peer review (PDF) of the EPA’s assessment of the Pebble Mine project in the Bristol Bay watershed. The document summarizes the three-day peer review meeting in Anchorage in August. An independent contractor facilitated the peer review, which was based on 14 “charge questions” put forth by the EPA. The report contains a number of recommendations, including asking the EPA to clarify the geographic scope and coverage of the assessment, consider adopting a broader range of mine scenarios, and incorporate mitigation measures. The 12 peer reviewers were chosen by the independent contractor with input from the public, and included experts in the fields of mine engineering, salmon fisheries biology, aquatic ecology, aquatic toxicology, hydrology, wildlife ecology and Alaska Native cultures.

“The peer review panel’s recommendations make it clear that EPA has a lot of work left to do if the goal is to issue a scientifically-sound document,” Murkowski said. “I remain concerned that the agency has chosen to evaluate a hypothetical mine that does not reflect modern mining practices. I’ve always believed that this assessment was seriously flawed. I appreciate the work done by the reviewers, but unless the EPA fixes the fundamental flaw of evaluating an unrealistic, straw-man argument instead of waiting for an actual application to be submitted, problems will remain. A preemptive veto by the EPA would make no more sense than a preemptive approval.”

Based on the comments, EPA has decided to convene a group of qualified experts to review the revised draft assessment in light of the issues raised by the peer reviewers.

EPA is already taking steps to incorporate key input from the peer reviewers, including:
  • Clarifying the overall purpose and objective of the Assessment
  • Clarifying the development and use of a realistic mining scenario
  • Expanding the use of the conceptual models throughout the Assessment to better illustrate how mining activities could potentially affect Bristol Bay’s fishery resources
  • Enhancing the review of modern mining practices to consider additional strategies for mitigation of potential adverse impacts of mining.

Washington Updates

Congress faces pressing issues in lame duck session
During the next month in the lame duck session, Congress will be working on three top priorities. First is how to avoid the "sequestration," the approximately one trillion dollars in automatic across-the-board cuts over defense, nondefense discretionary and Medicare spending, set to take place on January 2, 2013. Second, Congress must decide whether or not to extend the Bush-era income tax cuts and tax credits, which expire at the end of 2012. Lastly, Congress may face another debt ceiling vote sometime in December, though the Treasury Department may invoke extraordinary measures enabling the U.S. to meet its obligations until early 2013. Click here for an explanation of the details of the “fiscal cliff.”

Little to no change in House and Senate Resource Committee leadership
Nine-term Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) will remain chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee next year instead of leaving for the Rules Committee, after Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) was selected to lead that panel in the 113th Congress. Hastings said he supports the decision by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and welcomes a third term as the top Republican on the resources panel.

"For four years, I've have had the honor to serve as the top Republican on the Natural Resources Committee and look forward to continuing to lead an aggressive, active agenda to boost American energy production and job creation, promote and protect public access to the public's lands, and oversee the actions of the Interior Department that have such a tremendous impact on communities and federal lands across our nation," Hastings said yesterday in a statement.

In terms of policy, sources said they expect little change in the committee’s mission. Hastings' return suggests there may be continued focus in a committee that made fossil fuel development and relaxed government regulations a signature of its agenda in the 112th Congress. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) will also continue as chairman of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee.

On the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Democrats will have to fill at least one open seat on the panel with the retirement of Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is in line to take the gavel, and several names have been circulated as potential candidates to fill the open slot. Likely freshman candidates include Sens.-elect Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Heinrich is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, while Baldwin serves on Energy and Commerce. Ranking Republican member Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will remain in that minority leadership slot on the committee.

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© 2012 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
12999 E. Adam Aircraft Circle, Englewood, Colorado 80112
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