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SME eNews
Don’t be left out – complete your Annual Meeting arrangements today!
2013 SME Annual Meeting & Exhibit and
CMA 115th National Western Mining Conference
February 24-27, 2013
Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO

  1. Many hotels are SOLD OUT. Make arrangements now before it’s too late.
  2. Save $$$ if you register at the early-bird rate.
  3. The 2013 meeting has MORE exhibits, MORE sessions and registration is up nearly 10%. Don’t be left out!

Complete meeting details, including registration, housing, program, short courses and field trips are available NOW.

Register today! There are only a few days left to take advantage of the early bird registration pricing for the SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Denver, CO. The 2013 Annual Meeting promises to be a conference you won’t want to miss!

Get a hotel room today! Make sure you aren’t without a place to stay! Rooms are filling up fast. If you haven’t booked your hotel room for the SME/CMA Annual Meeting and Exhibit, book now.

SME Photo Contest - BIG CHANGES!
Your photo could now win $500, plus a free year of membership! The deadline has been extended for the “Show Us Your Rocks!” photo contest to Thursday, January 31st. Members and nonmembers are now welcome to participate. Submit your photo today for your chance to win one of our new and exciting prizes including cash! Details at

SME’S new mentoring program online & onsite at the Annual Meeting
Have you checked out our new online mentoring program? Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to be a mentor or mentee. The new online mentor program will enhance the present onsite mentor program.
The Mentoring Meeting Place will still be held on Sunday, February 24, from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center during the SME/CMA Annual Meeting. This meeting time will provide a venue for Mentors and Mentees to meet in person.
To participate in the SME Online Mentor Program:
  1. Go to the SME website ( and log in.
  2. Once you have logged onto the SME website, click on the SME Community tab located near the top of the page, which will direct you to your profile.
  3. If you have not been in the Community before, you will be directed to the Terms and Agreements page where you must accept the terms of use. This will only appear the first time you enter the community. Once accepted, the system will take you to your Profile page.
  4. In the upper right corner of your profile page, you can select the mentee/ mentor tab.
  5. Click on the link that says mentee/ mentor status.
  6. Click edit status and enter the appropriate information; then click save at the bottom of that page. You will then see a notification that your enrollment was saved successfully.
  7. Next, choose from the left hand menu to find a mentor or mentee. On the Find page enter the criteria of the mentor/mentee profile that would suit you best.
  8. Selecting which SME events you will be attending, such as the Annual Meeting & Exhibit, will enable you to be matched with others attending that meeting.
  9. At the bottom of that page, click Find mentors/mentees.
  10. When search results appear, choose the mentor/mentee to view their profile. Under each photo, there is a mentor/mentee contact button. Simply click to send your mentor/mentee request.
  11. Once the request is sent, it must be accepted for the connection to be complete. Keep in mind that the mentor/mentee has the option to decline the request as well as accept it.
  12. To view the status of your relationships, go to the mentoring menu and choose My Mentoring Relationships. If your request was not accepted within 3-5 days, please search again and select another mentor/mentee from the search results.
If you do not enroll in the online program and select the appropriate meeting, you will not be matched in advance! You can enroll onsite using your personal computer, but you will be responsible for arranging a meeting with your mentor/mentee.

2013 NSSGA/SME Student Design Competition:
Congratulations to the winning teams for Phase 1!
These six teams will compete in Phase 2 of the competition at the 2013 SME Annual Meeting.

Daily Grind Virginia Tech
École Polytechnique de Montréal École Polytechnique de Montréal
Bharat Khanitras Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Jagstone Virginia Tech
Frimp Aggregates Missouri University of Science and Technology
Gateway Aggregates Missouri University of Science and Technology

Eighteen fantastic teams entered and competed this year. NSSGA and SME congratulate all the teams that participated this year:

Daily Grind Virginia Tech
École Polytechnique de Montréal École Polytechnique de Montréal
Bharat Khanitras Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Jagstone Virginia Tech
Frimp Aggregates Missouri University of Science and Technology
Gateway Aggregates Missouri University of Science and Technology
Blue Creek Aggregates Missouri University of Science and Technology
Pilgrim Aggregates University of Alaska Fairbanks
Team 1 Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Team 2 Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Team 3/Saluki Miners Southern Illinois University Carbondale
WMC Universite Laval
University of Arizona University of Arizona
Hardrocker Aggregates South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Team 2/Grubby Aggregates South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
McGill University McGill University
Mackay Mining Solutions University of Nevada Reno
Limomite Aggregates Indian School of Mines

Get caught looking............................
Winter Webinar Series......mark your calendar!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Vishal Gupta, research engineer

FLSmidth Minerals Inc., Midvale, UT
Electrokinetic feature of kaolinite and other selected two layer silicate minerals

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Yi Luo, associate professor

Dept., Mining Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Locating and determining the status of a thermal event in longwall panel using mine atmosphere monitoring data

For complete information, go to SME Webinars page.

Miss a program? It’s not too late to watch. The complete library of past webinar series is available via video download. For complete details, click here.

Look for the 2013 proxy in the mail and online
In 2013, the Annual Meeting of Members will be held immediately following the conclusion of the SME Board of Directors Meeting on Sunday, February 24, 2013, 4:00 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center, Denver, CO.

At this meeting, 2012 President, Drew A. Meyer, will report on the Society’s activities, its state, its concerns and its financial condition. Jessica Elzea Kogel will be installed as the 2013 President and, upon election by the membership entitled to vote, the following directors shall take office:

John O. Marsden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President-Elect
Steven C. Holmes . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . Director-at-Large
Mary B. Korpi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director-at-Large

A proxy will be sent to you via mail. In the event you will not be attending the Meeting of Members, please sign, date and return your mail ballot/proxy. You may also vote online at Online voting began on Friday, January 4, 2013. Your prompt response is appreciated.

Round up some SME books
The SME Bookstore is traveling to Vancouver for the Annual Mineral Exploration BC’s 30th Annual Mineral Exploration Roundup Conference from January 28th to January 31st. Great opportunity to get our books at show pricing and NO shipping. Don’t miss this chance to update your library. We are bringing 900 books, including many new titles. Jane Olivier and Carol Kiser will see you at the Roundup in the Mackenzie Room.

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing featured abstract
From our November issue: Researchers from five Brazilian universities collaborate on this study of flotation technology: “Identification of sodium silicate species used as flotation depressants.”

Subscribe today to ensure access to the upcoming Rare-Earth Minerals issue, featuring the latest research from Jan Miller, Douglas Fuerstenau, Pradip and other luminaries.
Mine the archives at Mining Engineering
Come visit MEOnline to read daily news articles, browse the Mining Engineering archives and flip through the latest issue of your flagship magazine.

Upcoming conferences
April 14-18, 2013
Charleston Marriott
Charleston, WV

April 29-30, 2013
City University of New York, Graduate Center
New York, NY

Elearning courses available for all your needs and interests
SME is pleased to introduce course offerings in partnership with EduMine. Courses include:
  • Blast Design and Assessment for Surface Mines and Quarries
  • An Introduction to Mining and Mineral Processing
  • Mine Project Economics
  • Practical Mineral Processing
  • Mineral Project Management
  • Estimating the Cost of Mining
  • Underground Mining Methods and Equipment
  • Conventional Methods of Resource / Reserve Estimation
  • Quality Control of Geochemical and Assay Samples
  • Design and Operation of Large Waste Dumps
  • Exploration and Mining Geology 1 - The Geologic Baseline
  • Introduction to Block Caving
  • Bench Face Design in Rock
  • Groundwater in Mining
  • Practical Geostatistics 2000 - 1: Classical Statistics
  • Practical Rock Engineering 1 - Introduction
  • Mineral Project Reporting Under NI 43-101
  • Geostatistics 101 - A Practical Introduction
  • Managing the Environmental Permitting Process
  • Global Acid Rock Drainage
SME offers 55 online courses total. For a complete catalog, see:

Mining states scramble for cleanup cash at edge of "fiscal cliff'"
Although the "fiscal cliff" deal President Obama hammered out with lawmakers over the holidays delayed across-the-board spending cuts until March, mining states are already feeling the effects as they scramble to come up with money for their abandoned-mine cleanup programs. The Office of Surface Mining, which distributes grants from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, has yet to announce grant allocations for fiscal 2013. Usually they come in mid-December.

Beyond being able to run the program, states and environmental advocates are concerned about the funding delay jeopardizing cleanup projects. As is, the available funding is enough to cover a fraction of the need. Environmental advocates and states are also questioning why the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund is part of the sequestration negotiations in the first place, as the money comes from fees paid by coal companies. If lawmakers don't reach a deal and mandatory budget cuts or "sequestration" is allowed to happen, it will mean significant budget cuts to reclamation programs that cannot operate on their own. The White House Office of Management and Budget is trying to help resolve questions about what money can be distributed to states amid the ongoing spending stalemate.

Marcia McNutt to resign as director of the USGS
In an email to her staff on January 11, U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt announced that she will resign from the Survey effective February 15. Suzette Kimball will take over as Acting Director and Bill Werkheiser will be Acting Deputy Director until a replacement is nominated by president Obama. In announcing her resignation, McNutt listed 21 accomplishments during her time as Director. Among them: USGS research programs such as Energy and Minerals, Climate and Hazards were elevated to the Associate Director level; a hyperspectral survey of Afghanistan was completed that identified 1 million metric tons of mineral wealth in more than two dozen world-class deposits of copper, gold, lithium, rare-earth elements and other commodities; a role was institutionalized for the Department of Interior (DOI) within the Federal STEM education plan; the USGS helped inform Secretary Salazar’s decisions by producing reports such as the one on uranium resources, water and ecosystems that aided the decision to withdraw more than 1 million acres for 20 years from additional mining claims around the Grand Canyon; and it provided ecosystem science on a landscape scale in support of industrial wind, solar and geothermal energy facilities.

More resignations announced as Administration prepares for second term
On January 16, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that he will resign from his post effective March 31 to return to his home state of Colorado, having fulfilled his promise to President Obama to serve four years as Secretary. Under Salazar, Interior established 10 national wildlife refuges and seven national parks since 2009. Further, Interior has authorized 34 solar, wind and geothermal energy projects on public lands that total 10,400 megawatts. Salazar has also undertaken an historic overhaul of Interior’s management of oil and gas resources and split the former Minerals Management Service into three independent agencies with a mission to oversee ocean energy management and revenue collection. Interior has offered millions of acres offshore in the Gulf of Mexico for exploration and development and is proceeding with cautious exploration of Arctic resources. Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradoan, has served his state and the nation for 14 years as Colorado Attorney General, U.S. Senator and as the 50th secretary of the Interior.

On January 9, president Obama accepted the resignation of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who presided over a period of high unemployment. Solis had been the first, and only, Hispanic woman in a top Cabinet post. Her resignation follows the resignation of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, announced earlier in January. There is no word if MSHA Assistant Secretary Joe Main will remain with the Administration.

DOE creates research hub for critical and strategic minerals
On January 9, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that a team led by Ames Laboratory in Ames, IA, has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish an Energy Innovation Hub that will develop solutions to the domestic shortages of rare-earth metals and other materials critical for U.S. energy security. The Department’s 2011 Critical Materials Strategy reported that supply challenges for five rare earth metals (dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium and yttrium) may affect clean energy technology deployment in the coming years. The new Hub will focus on technologies that will make better use of the materials available, as well as eliminate the need for materials that are subject to supply disruptions. The new research center, which will be named the Critical Materials Institute, will bring together leading researchers from academia and four Department of Energy national laboratories, as well as the private sector. University and research partners include Brown University, the Colorado School of Mines, Purdue University, Rutgers University, University of California-Davis, Iowa State University and the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute. Industry partners include General Electric, OLI Systems Inc., SpinTek Filtration Inc., Advanced Recovery, Cytec Inc., Molycorp Inc. and Simbol Materials.

EPA News

EPA’s TRI concludes toxic chemicals increase as result of mining
On January 17, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Toxic Release Inventory report for 2011. The annual TRI program collects information on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country. The 2011 TRI data show that 4.09 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were disposed of or released into the environment, an 8 percent increase from 2010. The difference is mainly due to increases in land disposal at metal mines, which typically involve large facilities handling large volumes of material. In this sector, even a small change in the chemical composition of the ore being mined - which EPA understands is one of the asserted reasons for the increase in total reported releases - can lead to big changes in the amount of toxic chemicals reported nationally. Click here for more information on the TRI conclusions for metal mining. EPA has also created a mining-specific compliance assistance website with useful tools on pollution prevention, environmental management systems and more for metal, aggregates and industrial minerals.


MSHA issues final rule on pattern of violations
On January 23, MSHA issued (PDF) its final rule revising the Agency’s existing regulation for pattern of violations (POV). MSHA determined that the existing regulation does not adequately achieve the intent of the Mine Act that the POV provision be used to address mine operators who have demonstrated a disregard for the health and safety of miners. Congress included the POV provision in the Mine Act so mine operators would manage health and safety conditions at mines and find and fix the root causes of significant and substantial violations, protecting the health and safety of miners. MSHA says the final rule simplifies the existing POV criteria, improves consistency in applying the POV criteria, and more effectively achieves the Mine Act’s statutory intent. It also encourages chronic safety violators to comply with the Mine Act and MSHA’s health and safety standards.

In particular, the final rule retains the existing regulatory requirement that MSHA review all mines for a POV at least once each year, eliminates the initial screening and the potential pattern of violations notice and review process, eliminates the existing requirement that MSHA can consider only final orders in its POV review and mirrors the provision in the Mine Act for termination of a POV.

In addition, in response to commenter concerns, the preamble to the final rule addresses MSHA’s Monthly Monitoring Tool for Pattern of Violations that operators can use to monitor their compliance performance, and MSHA’s commitment to requesting stakeholder input to revisions of the specific criteria. In response to commenters’ due process concerns, the final rule allows that an operator submit a corrective action program, request a meeting with the District Manager to discuss discrepancies in MSHA data and request expedited temporary relief from a POV closure order. Additional details can be found on the MSHA POV Fact Sheet (PDF).

The rule will become effective 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.

MSHA issues alert on diesel particulate matter
On January 10, MSHA issued an agency alert (PDF) on diesel particulate matter (DPM). The alert answers questions such as, what is DPM? Who can be exposed to DPM? What are the health effects of DPM? How can exposure to DPM be controlled? What standards are in place to protect miners? Diesel engines provide power to a wide variety of vehicles, heavy equipment and other machinery used in mining. The exhaust from diesel engines contains a mixture of gases and very small particles that can create a health hazard when not properly controlled.

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