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SME eNews
Award nomination deadline extended to June 3!
Typically, award nominations are due on June 1 each year. This year, June 1 falls on Saturday, so the deadline has been extended to June 3. All award nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 3, 2013 in order to be considered for this year’s awards.

For more information about SME’s various awards, go to
Hold SME accountable
The 2011 and 2012 SME annual reports are now available online for SME members. The reports review Society activities for those years, including messages from the SME president and the executive director. Activities for SME publications, membership, meetings, the SME Foundation and the Minerals Education Coalition are also reviewed. To view the reports, log on to the SME site,, click on “SME News” and then click on “Annual Reports.”

Register for RETC today
Meet with colleagues to get the latest developments in tunneling technology and innovation, from TBM case studies to water control to difficult ground considerations. This is the tunneling conference that you can’t afford to miss.

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

The preliminary program with complete details is now online at:

Reserve your spot now for this much-anticipated conference!

SME taking the lead in promoting sustainable mining
It is impossible to operate in today’s global market without making a serious commitment to maintaining a social license to operate, a license which includes social and environmental responsibility. In the May Mining Engineering, SME’s Sustainable Development Committee explores reasons why some companies are better at attaining that social license to operate and lays out what is needed to achieve better sustainability across the industry – and what you can do to get involved.
Improve precious metal recovery from electronic waste
Read Minerals & Metallurgical Processing to take the lead in processing the world’s fastest growing source of waste: “Leaching behavior of copper powders from waste printed circuit board by electrogenerated chlorine and aeration.

Subscribe today to access the entire issue and the complete online archives.

Explore strategies for success in the critical minerals supply chain
What: Critical Minerals 2013
When: June 4-5, 2013
Where: Perth, Western Australia
Registration is now open for Critical Minerals 2013, hosted by AusIMM in association with SME. The first of its kind in Australia, the overarching theme of the conference is mines, markets, manufacturing and money – the need for all participants in the critical material supply chains. Attendance at Critical Minerals 2013 will equip you with the strategies, methods and models you need to address the issue of critical materials in your business, whether you are a miner or an end user. Register today:
Learn from the best
Take SME’s PE Review Course and work with the best in the business. Raja Ramani, professor emeritus of The Pennsylvania State University, is a longstanding expert in the field of mineral processing and brings to the course extensive knowledge of both the material and the exam itself.

What: Review Course for the Professional Engineer (P.E.) Examination of Mining/Mineral Processing Engineers, 2013
September 7-11, 2013
Where: Marriott St. Louis Airport, St. Louis, MO

Present your work at NAT
What: 2014 North American Tunneling Conference (NAT) –
Call for papers
June 22-25, 2014
Where: JW Marriott, Los Angeles, CA

The 2014 NAT theme is “Tunneling: Mission Possible.” A full list of topics and approaches can be found at this link.

Deadline: July 5, 2013.
First call for 2015 Hoist and Haul
What: 2015 International Conference on Hoisting and Haulage – Call for papers
June 21-25, 2015
Where: Clarion Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden

Hoist and Haul covers systems or technology associated with the handling of ore from the point of extraction in the underground mine to the stockpiling on the surface. The conference will also include a focused trade exhibition and local tours. The program encompasses a wide range of topics including shaft hoisting, incline and drift hoisting, conveying, underground rail haulage, tramming and truck haulage.

To submit an abstract, click here.

Step into leadership
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 the 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 Directors 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.

$1.6 million ways to make a difference to mining
SME Foundation trustees hope that all SME members will join their colleagues to support Creating Global Prosperity: The Campaign for Mining.

The Campaign for Mining is raising funds for:
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) – to ensure that universities offering degrees in mining, geological and geophysical engineering in the United States maintain high standards.
  • Minerals Education Coalition – develops and disseminates factual and timely curriculum to K-12 educators across the U.S. and globally for use in classrooms, as well as informal education, science and community settings.
  • Professional Engineers Licensure – sets the standard for mining and mineral engineers working in the field. This credential indicates a high level of skill and additional education throughout the industry.
  • New programs – the Foundation will be able to add new programs, such as expanding Miners Give Back and adding a Career Transition program.
Our goal is to raise $1.6 million to provide world class programming to our members, the industry and the community! As of May 1st, contributions to the campaign total $1,272,761. Please donate today!

Reminder: Financial reports needed
As you know, your local SME Section is a legally constituted unit of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., encompassing a specific geographical area. As a legal entity of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., your section is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization operating under SME’s tax ID.

As such, SME sections are required to submit the following information to SME headquarters:

Financial Summary – SME is required to report local Section finances as part of our annual tax return. Each local Section is responsible for submitting a report detailing your section’s finances for the fiscal year (October 1-September 30). The required report is sent to each section’s treasurer and chair of record annually in early October and must be returned no later than November 15. If your section fails to provide us with this information for the group filing, you may have to file individually and the SME Board of Directors will consider closing the Section. To keep in comliance with IRS regulations, if your section fails to provide a completed financial statement for three years in a row, SME may be required to close your section.

The following sections have not submitted financial reports in a year or more. If you know anyone in the below listed Sections, please have them contact SME, as their Section status is in jeopardy:
  • Arkansas
  • Arklatex
  • Northern Nevada
  • Utah
SME supports local sections in a variety of ways, as noted online at SME Division & Local Section Coordinator Tessa Baxter is ready to assist you in the support of your local Section. Please contact Tessa with any questions, concerns or suggestions: email or call 303-948-4208.

Mine fatalities tick up in May
From January 1 to May 17, 15 miners died in accidents in the mining industry. Eight were killed in coal mining accidents and seven in metal and nonmetal mining accidents. That includes four fatalities in the last six weeks since MSHA issued its analysis of fatalities during the first quarter of 2013 on its website at Click here for a chart showing year-to-date fatalities compared to previous year totals.

The year that the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 passed, 273 miners died, and since that time, fatality numbers have steadily declined, to 35 in 2012. 2012 had the lowest fatality rate in the history of U.S. mining, with 0.0107 deaths per 200,000 hours worked. The rate of reported injuries was 2.56 per 200,000 hours worked, also the lowest rate on record. These preliminary numbers show that actions undertaken by MSHA and the mining industry continue to move mine safety in the right direction.

MSHA has undertaken a number of measures to prevent mining deaths, injuries and illnesses: increased surveillance and strategic enforcement through impact inspections at mines with troubling compliance histories; enhanced pattern of violations actions; special initiatives such as "Rules to Live By," which focuses attention on the most common causes of mining deaths; and outreach efforts.

Washington Updates

House, Senate bills would send U.S. mineral royalties directly to states
On May 14, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives introduced bills to send revenues from oil, gas and coal on federal lands directly to the states, rather than through the federal government.

H.R. 1972, the State Mineral Revenue Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and a similar bill introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), are a response to the Interior Department's decision in March to withhold up to $110 million in mineral payments to satisfy the across-the-board cuts of the sequester. Wyoming and New Mexico were hit particularly hard by the withholdings, having to forego $53 million and $26 million, respectively, from minerals produced within their borders in 2012. While the bills would not recover this year's money, they would allow states the option of collecting future leasing, rental and royalty revenues themselves, rather than relying on the Interior Department to disburse them. It would also exempt participating states from a two percent fee the federal government charges to collect the revenues.

Co-sponsors of the House bill include Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Republican Reps. Steve Pearce of New Mexico; Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart of Utah; Scott Tipton of Colorado; and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM), John Barrasso (R-WY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jim Risch (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

EPA administrator nominee moves to Senate for vote
On May 16, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved Gina McCarthy's nomination to head the EPA in a 10-8 party-line vote. Democrats voted to send McCarthy's nomination to the Senate floor, with Republicans voting no. They said EPA still has not responded to their requests that the agency take steps to improve transparency. Republicans recently boycotted a scheduled vote on the nomination over the transparency requests, but ranking member Rep. David Vitter (R-LA) said he met with EPA and got a commitment to meet those requests. That, Vitter said, cleared the way for Republicans to attend the May 16 vote.

Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) applauded the committee for finally voting on what she called a "tremendously qualified" nominee. After the vote, she vowed to get McCarthy's nomination to the floor as soon as possible and expressed hope that Republicans would not filibuster. McCarthy is predicted to face hurdles on the floor, where, if not appeased by EPA, Republicans could block the vote.

Bill to streamline mine permitting heads to House floor
On May 15, the House Natural Resources Committee approved H.R. 761, which would significantly streamline permitting for hardrock mining on federal land. The bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), would allow the U.S. to more efficiently develop strategic and critical minerals, such as rare earth elements, by setting permitting timelines and litigation limits for suits against mining projects on federal lands. Further, the bill streamlines the permitting process for mineral development by coordinating the actions of federal, state, local and tribal agencies. In introducing the bill, Amodei said, "There is a need for certainty in the permitting process. There is nothing in this bill that [says a mine] is entitled to an approval.”

Other mining bills approved by House Natural Resources Committee
In a flurry of activity on May 15, the House Natural Resources Committee approved several mining-related bills. The panel passed Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-AZ) H.R. 687, to approve a land swap in Arizona to make way for Resolution Copper Mining LLC's project near Superior, AZ. Congress has debated versions of this bill for a decade. The panel approved H.R. 957 from Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) to lower the royalty rate for mining soda ash. Other, less controversial bills aimed at encouraging mineral development received unanimous consent approval. One of them, H.R. 1063 from Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), chairman of the House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, would require the Interior Department to lead an assessment of U.S. mineral capabilities and regulatory hurdles. The other, Rep. Hank Johnson's (D-GA) H.R. 981, would task the U.S. Geological Survey with increasing its research on rare earth elements.

House forms endangered species working group
On May 9, members of the House of Representatives, representing a broad geographic range, announced the creation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Working Group. This working group, led by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Western Caucus Co-Chair Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), will hold a series of events, forums and hearings that will invite discussion and input on ways in which the ESA (last reauthorized in 1988) may be working well, how it could be updated and how to boost its effectiveness for both people and species.

The working group will examine the impacts of litigation, along with how to measure ESA progress, how to define success, if the ESA is working to achieve its goals, the role of state and local governments in recovering species, whether the ESA conserves species while ensuring property and water rights protection, the need for public engagement and input, and more.

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