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SME eNews
Call for nominations
It is that time of year in which SME needs your support in selecting the future leadership for 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:

2016 SME President
2015 – 2018 SME Board Member-at-large (two will be selected)
Members for all SME Strategic Committees

To assist you in making a recommendation, the following criteria have been provided for your review. The president must be a current member of the society and must meet several additional qualifications (see here for details). Board members must be current members; in addition, the qualifications for president may be considered for guidance. Strategic committee members must be current members and have an interest in a topic covered by one of the committees. For a review of the strategic committees, click here. For a list of the current SME board of director and strategic committee members, click here.

Please forward any recommendations with a photo and brief bio for consideration to Mary O’Shea ( no later than July 31, 2013. The nominations will be reviewed at the September midyear meeting by the SME nominating committee.

Call for nominations for 2013 awards
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 our 2013 awards. Recipients of the 2013 awards will be recognized during SME’s 2014 Annual Meeting & Exhibit held February 23-26, 2014 in Salt Lake City, UT.

For more information on each award or to download the required nomination form, please visit Completed nominations are due by June 1. Questions may be directed to Tessa Baxter at 303-948-4208 or

Care about SME?
Become a founding partner
On Monday, February 25, 2013, SME and the SME Foundation proudly launched "Creating Global Prosperity - The Campaign for Mining". Co-chairs Red Conger and Rick Whiting helped to kick off this exciting event! Our campaign will help build a stronger global industry with a growing pipeline of future leaders and better relationships with our communities. The success of this campaign will depend on the support of individuals and companies who share SME and SME Foundation’s vision. Be recognized as one of the “Founding Partners” of this endeavor by contacting AnnMarie Estrada, SME Foundation Manager. She can be reached at 303-948-4239 or at For more information, go to
Thank you in advance for your support!
Be a part of SME: MEC curriculum coordinator job announcement
SMEF’s Minerals Education Coalition is accepting applications for the position of curriculum coordinator to research and write K-12 content lessons and activities appropriate for elementary, middle and high school students who are the consumers of the future and potential employees of the mining industry. The factual instructional materials to be developed will emphasize the importance of minerals and mining in our everyday lives and lifestyles.

To view the job description and submit an application, go to

Emerging Leaders Alliance cross-disciplinary leadership training
The Emerging Leaders Alliance (ELA) was established in 2008 through a United Engineering Foundation grant to provide cost-effective, high-quality training and networking for emerging leaders in the engineering and scientific community. Its mission is to provide an interdisciplinary community of learning for engineering and scientific professionals, promoting the development of effective leaders to guide our professions in addressing the needs of people in the 21st century. Through intensive live training sessions, cross-disciplinary networking opportunities, follow-up communication and the availability of the ELA On Demand (recorded sessions), the ELA seeks to build upon its mission by promoting: Personal and professional leadership development for select engineering professionals, networking across engineering and scientific disciplines, global perspective and holistic, systems-level thinking.

The ELA will hold a cross-disciplinary leadership training session in November, 2013.

Who should attend: SME members between the ages of 25-35

When: November 11-13, 2013

Where: Hyatt Regency, Reston, VA

Registration for the training is covered by SME for eight attendees. For more information on ELA Training, please follow the link. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mona Vandervoort at by June 1, 2013.

SME to chair International Sustainability Session in Greece
2010 SME president Nikhil Trivedi is chairing an international task force on mining and sustainability of the World Federation of Engineering Organization’s (WFEO) Committee on Engineering and the Environment (CEE) that has developed programming for the 6th international Sustainability in the Minerals Industry conference (PDF) (SDIMI) in Milos, Greece June 30-July 3. The main theme of the overall SDIMI meeting is the development, monitoring and assessment of sustainable development criteria for global mineral operations. The program developed by the SME-chaired task force includes presentation by SME 2013 president Jessica Kogel, 2002 SME president Michael Karmis and WFEO vice president and Chair of the CEE, Darrel Danyluk. In addition, the five theme areas of the task force on mining and sustainability will also give presentations on their work product to date.

The SDIMI conference will conclude with a consensus plan and a process, representing a variety of stakeholders, which can provide guidance and direction to the minerals community on the path to sustainable development.

New from the SME bookshelf
Grouting Equipment Manual: Selection, Operations, Maintenance, and Repair, by Donald C. Hegebarth. This handy, colorful manual introduces various types of equipment employed in pressure grouting applications performed in geotechnical works, and examines the operating principles and maintenance issues relative to each equipment type. Only $69 for SME members. For more information, click here.

Environmental Considerations
in Energy Production
When: April 14-18, 2013
Where: Charleston Marriott, 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. The goals of this meeting are to discuss existing and emerging problems, appropriate and innovative solutions and best practices and techniques, and to develop collaborations and open dialogue on the impacts of energy production on the environment. This conference will feature plenary and keynote sessions with key political and industry leaders, which provide context for the technical issues being discussed.

You won’t want to miss this! Complete details and registration now available here.
Current Trends in Mining Finance: An Operators’ Guide
When: April 29-30, 2013
Where: City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY
Who: Senior executives and mining industry specialists among bankers, analysts and investors

SME will host its first annual conference on Current Trends in Mining Finance in New York City. This two-day conference will cover a range of important topics, including general trends in project evaluation and investment decision-making; drivers of future industry mergers and acquisitions; tax and accounting issues facing the mining industry; risk factors in the current market environment; new sources of funding for mining projects; trends in mineral development agreements; and the impact of “soft” issues on mine development and finance. This is a unique opportunity to get current on important issues that affect project finance, investment and strategic planning.

Registration now open! Complete meeting details available at:

2013 Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference (RETC)
When: June 23-26, 2013
Where: Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC

The preliminary program with complete details is now online at:
Reserve your spot now for this much-anticipated conference!
Review Course for the Professional Engineer (P.E.) Examination of Mining/Mineral Processing Engineers, 2013
When: September 7-11, 2013
Where: Marriott St. Louis Airport, St. Louis, MO

Be prepared for the PE exam. Take the review course and have an advantage. Click here for details.

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing featured abstract
From our February rare-earths issue: the chemistry of bastnaesite in contact with aqueous solutions is critical to the processing of rare-earth minerals. The University of Sonora’s Dr. Herrera-Urbina teamed with Pradip and Dr. Douglas Fuerstenau to compute the electrophoretic mobility of bastnaesite in aqueous solution: “Electrophoretic mobility and computations of solid-aqueous solution equilibria for the bastnaesite-H2O system.

Subscribe today to access the rare-earth minerals issue and the complete online archives.
U.S. again tied for having worst permitting process – but there’s good news, too
In the annual report of the global mining industry from the advisory firm of Behre Dolbear, the United States again won the dubious distinction of ranking last in the world among 25 countries in the permitting criteria – but many of its other stats show a different picture. Dig a little deeper into this headline on Mining Engineering Online’s daily news digest – free to members and nonmembers.

Get caught looking.................spring webinar series......mark your calendar!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

9:00 a.m. MDT
Yi Luo, associate professor
Dept. of Mining Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
“Locating and determining the status of a thermal event in longwall panel using mine atmosphere monitoring data”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

9:00 a.m. MDT
Dragan Bogunovic, mining engineer
North American Coal Corp., Liberty Miner, Bailey, MS
“Integrated production management systems – step further”

Can’t fit these programs in your schedule? It’s not too late. The complete library of the summer webinar series is available via video download.
For complete details, go to:

NIOSH call for proposals
The NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research has released a new funding opportunity in the form of a Broad Agency Announcement. NIOSH is looking for innovative concepts for refuge alternatives near the face area of coal mines. These concepts must provide miners with enough confidence to use refuge alternatives in emergency situations when escape is not practical, provide a simple method of employing the refuge alternative, provide enough breathable air supply to increase the likelihood of miners surviving for extended periods of time in the refuge alternative, address heat and humidity concerns within the refuge alternative, provide communication to the refuge alternative and consider the psychological and ergonomic issues associated with confinement.

The deadline for responses is April 16 at 3:30 PM ET. For more information about how to complete your application for funding, please consult the BAA on

Coal News
Interior details cost, timing of coal mining stream rule
In an April 2 letter (PDF) to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Doc Hastings (R-WA), Dept of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining (OSM) Director Joseph Pizarchik said OSM plans to publish its long-awaited and controversial stream protection rule next year. Pizarchik said the agency has spent roughly $8.6 million developing the rule since 2009, with $6 million going to contractors and the rest spent on in-house staff support. Pizarchik's remarks constituted the first time in recent months that OSM has provided details, including a timeline, for the rulemaking, which has drawn strong oversight from House Republicans.

Natural Resources panel Republicans have been looking into the stream protection rule since early in 2011 and have concerns about potential industry job losses. They want the existing rule, promulgated under President Bush, to remain in place.

Two Wyoming mines accounted for 20% of U.S. coal production by tons in 2012
According to the Energy Information Administration, preliminary coal production data for 2012 show that 9 out of the top 10 producing coal mines in the United States are located in Wyoming; the top two producing mines in Wyoming account for 20% of total U.S. coal production by tonnage. Collectively, the top 10 mines accounted for 38% of total U.S. coal production by tonnage in 2012. Shares of production by energy content for the top mines are somewhat lower, since the subbituminous coal they produce has lower heat content per ton than the bituminous coal produced in other regions.

All of the top 10 producing coal mines in the U.S. are subbituminous, surface mining operations, and all are located in the Powder River Basin. The lone mine in the top 10 not located in Wyoming is the Spring Creek Mine in Montana. The nation's top producing mine in 2012 was the North Antelope Rochelle Mine, which produced 108 million short tons, followed by the Black Thunder Mine, which produced 93.1 million short tons. Individually, each of these two mines produced more coal than the entire state of Kentucky (90.6 million short tons), which was the third largest coal producing state in 2012.

Report calls for streamlined permitting process for REEs and other minerals
A recent report (PDF) by the National Center for Policy Analysis calls for the U.S. government to dramatically reduce the permitting backlog for mining projects, particularly for rare-earth mines. The report concludes that developing America’s natural resources would provide both economic and security benefits, but unnecessary regulatory and political barriers currently hamper the process. State economies and budgets would also benefit from expanded mineral development, which would in turn improve national trade deficits and energy security. America should model Australia’s and Canada’s successful regulations, and dramatically shorten domestic permitting time. The federal government should consider a trade mission to both countries to discover how they permit mines in one-fourth the time it takes in the U.S., while meeting similar worker safety and environmental protection goals.

Nevada moving towards removing cap on tax for mining companies
The Nevada State Senate voted 17-4 in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment that will lift the 5% cap on net proceeds taxes paid by mines. This action would eliminate over a century of special tax protections and dismantle what has been considered a model mining taxation system touted by the World Bank and the IMF. Nevada presently levies a mineral extraction tax between 2%-5% of net proceeds for each geographically separate operation.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will be powerless to stop SJR 15, because the governor cannot veto a resolution calling for a public vote on an issue. Despite a two-year opposition by the Nevada Mining Association, a 2011 revelation that several Nevada mines had not been audited for years by the Nevada State Department of Taxation did not help mining politically.

If SJR15 wins approval in the Assembly, the measure then goes to a vote of the people in 2014. If voters remove the constitutional cap on mining taxation, legislation to raise net proceeds taxes on mining would have to be voted on by the 2015 Legislature.

The mining industry is one of several Nevada industries specifically mentioned in the state’s constitution. Banking and the financial sector also have constitutional tax exemptions. The inventories of retailers are also exempted from taxation in the constitution.

Washington Updates

Obama nominees for EPA, OMB and DOE face mixed bag during confirmation hearings this week
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member David Vitter (R-La) likely will grill U.S. EPA administrator nominee Gina McCarthy at her Thursday confirmation hearing over what he says is a flood of aggressive and costly regulations. With a stacked regulatory agenda on tap for the agency in Obama's second term, the hearing will offer an opportunity for opponents to challenge what they see as costly overreach by the federal government. Vitter has been especially harsh, writing a flurry of letters challenging the agency's lack of transparency, its scientific backing for rulemaking and its regulatory reach.

MIT professor and nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz did not run into major opposition during his confirmation hearing as Dept of Energy Administrator before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier this week. Moniz has drawn mixed reviews from environmentalists criticizing his support for natural gas and the use of hydraulic fracturing during his time at MIT, as well as his backing of nuclear power.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is the Administration's nominee to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget. Burwell is a veteran of President Clinton's economic team and spent the last decade working with two of the nation's top corporate philanthropies, the Walmart Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has won praise from both sides of the aisle since her nomination was announced.

Any Senator may place a "hold" on any nominee for any reason, thus holding hostage the process for confirmation until some unrelated issue is resolved to their personal satisfaction.

MSHA Updates

MSHA making progress in agency reform efforts, report concludes
In a report (PDF) issued on March 31, the Dept of Labor’s inspector general (IG) concluded that MSHA is making "significant progress" in reforming its own operations after a series of reports found enforcement problems in the aftermath of the 2010 Upper Big Branch disaster. But the report also says the agency can do more to ensure that problems are being corrected.

At issue are a pair of reports released early last year that focused on MSHA's role leading up to Upper Big Branch. An internal review found "significant shortcomings" within the agency. Another independent probe said MSHA downplayed its own culpability. The new report says MSHA had already been taking actions to address gaps in mine safety oversight, including tougher coal dust standards to prevent explosions and an enhanced inspection regime. The audit was requested by House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN).

The IG concludes by asking MSHA to "build a process into its Internal Review framework to rank and prioritize recommendations [and] continue work on those recommendations that do not currently have anticipated due dates to ensure they are being diligently pursued."

The agency has issued more than 10,000 citations since the special impact inspections began in April 2010.

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