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SME eNews

This year, SME and the Boy Scouts of America are proud to launch the newest BSA merit badge, Mining in Society, at SME's annual meeting. We hope that you will be able to join us at the Keynote Session and the SME dinner, where SME will participate in awarding the first Mining in Society merit badges to local scouts.

With over 90 technical sessions, 750-plus booths in the exhibit hall, committee meetings and division luncheons, this is one meeting you won't want to miss. Be sure to register today!

New this year: earn professional development hours (PDH) for attending sessions.

Don’t forget: leverage your membership through the SME mentoring program.

See you in Salt Lake City!

Join the festivities!
Tickets for the SME Foundation WinterFest Gala Dinner are limited this year and are expected to sell out quickly. Join your friends and colleagues for an evening of fine dining, musical entertainment, casino action and chances to win our door prizes of Best Buy shopping sprees. Buy your tickets on your SME Annual Meeting registration form, sponsor a table or donate an item for the Silent Auction today.

Arizona early bird registration extended
Network with colleagues, attend a short course, learn business tips from insiders at Rosemont Copper and Freeport-McMoRan. The SME Arizona conference is the best mining conference in the Southwest. Register today.

What: 2013 Arizona Conference
December 8-9, 2013
Where: JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, Tucson, AZ

For more upcoming meetings, click here.

Announcing the 2014 MPD Student Poster Contest
Students: submit your poster on mineral processing research and win $1,000 and possible publication in SME’s premier peer-reviewed journal, Minerals & Metallurgical Processing!
Click here for details. Deadline January 15.

Featured abstract: “Effects of tramp grinding steel and iron fines on comminution, flotation and cyanidation.”

New subscribers between now and December 31 get five issues for the price of one. Subscribe today.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

9:00 a.m. MST
Vishal Gupta
Research engineer, FLSmidth
“Rheology, Flotation, and Dewatering of Kaolinite as Explained by their Surface Chemistry Analyses.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
9:00 a.m. MST
Tammy R. Whiston
Managing partner, Cason Group LLC
“Networking novice to pro.”
Tuesday, December 3, 2013

9:00 a.m. MST
Ingar Walder
Professor, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM
“Mine waste characterization.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
9:00 a.m. MST
Roussos Dimitrikouplos
Professor, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
“Strategic mine planning under uncertainty: from complex orebodies and single mines to mining complexes.”
For details and to register, go to:

Free webinar on OSHA’s proposed Silica Rule
A pre-recorded webinar on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s notice of proposed rulemaking on silica (quartz) is available for viewing without cost. “OSHA’s silica rulemaking: what employers need to know,” can be viewed at any time by clicking here or through the Jackson Lewis webinars page. (Please contact if you have any problems accessing the webinar.)

In the webinar, Jackson Lewis Partners Brad Hammock and Henry Chajet provide an overview of the proposed OSHA rules mandating employer actions to protect against occupational hazards associated with inhaling very small (respirable) crystalline silica dust particles.

Coal news
Coal backers lose out in 2013 U.S. elections
On November 5, voters in Whatcom County, WA, tossed out two county council members seen as friendly to a local coal export proposal and re-elected two others who are considered skeptical of plans for the shipping terminal. At issue is SSA Marine's proposed Gateway Pacific terminal, one of three on the drawing board in the Pacific Northwest. The Whatcom County Council race gained national attention and attracted campaign cash from both procoal and environmental interests that treated the election as a referendum on coal exports. Coal companies have complained about the decision by Washington state regulators, in partnership with localities like Whatcom, to conduct a broad review of the export proposals that would consider climate impacts. In Virginia, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who ran on a strong procoal platform, lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the gubernatorial election. Cuccinelli swept the state's coal-field counties, but lost in the more populous Washington, D.C. suburbs of northern Virginia. Cuccinelli's strong numbers overall in coal country could bode well for Republicans in a couple of key Senate races next year - in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is trying to beat back aggressive challengers on the right and left, and in the open race to replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Long-term numbers show that, coal aside, Virginia counties near West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee have become more Republican.

Coal supporters rally on Capitol Hill; bipartisan bill introduced
to limit EPA authority over power plants
On October 28, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in introducing a discussion draft that charts a middle course between slashing EPA's greenhouse gas regulatory authority for power plants and giving the agency free rein at the expense of coal country. The legislation would prohibit EPA from promulgating a rule requiring future power plants to be equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology until at least six commercial-scale plants have been operating for at least a year in diverse locations and without federal funding. Furthermore, it would require that three lignite plants be operating with CCS, or else that technology would be excluded from the standard. The agency’s proposal for future power plants released last month would require coal-fired units to limit their emissions to 1,050 or 1,100 pounds of CO2 per kilowatt-hour, arguing that projects currently in the works prove that carbon capture and storage technology is available to allow industry to meet those standards. The measure is likely to face little difficulty passing the House, but the Senate is another matter. A rally for American energy jobs, sponsored by the National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, took place on Capitol Hill on Oct 29 to draw attention to President Obama and the EPA's regulations on the domestic coal industry.

U.S. sets guidelines to stop funding most overseas coal-fired power plants
On Oct. 29, the U.S. Treasury Department issued new regulations implementing strict new criteria from the Obama administration for deciding what international coal projects it will back financially. The guidelines set in motion the Climate Action Plan that President Obama outlined in June in an effort to encourage greener domestic and international energy investments. The criteria requires that development agencies, such as the World Bank, give full consideration to low-carbon or no-carbon options before financing new international coal plants. Coal plants in the world's poorest countries must use best available technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Wealthier countries would have to include carbon capture and storage technology and meet the same emissions requirements laid out by the EPA domestically. When a coal plant is under consideration in a low-income country that borrows from the World Bank, the U.S. analysis will also include whether the low-carbon option is cheaper or more expensive. In doing so, it will also weigh the health, environmental and social impacts. The overseas coal debate now moves to the U.S. Export-Import Bank, where its draft regulations also say it will not provide support for exports for high-carbon intensity plants. An exception will be made for those in the world's poorest countries that utilize the most efficient coal technology available and where no other economically feasible alternative exists.

Washington Updates
Senators introduce bipartisan critical minerals legislation
On Oct. 29, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Dean Heller (R-NV) and 13 of their Senate colleagues introduced the bipartisan Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013 in an effort to revitalize the U.S.’s critical minerals supply chain and help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign suppliers. It directs the Secretary of the Interior to establish a list of minerals critical to the American economy and provides a comprehensive set of policies to address issues associated with their discovery, production, use and re-use. While introducing the legislation, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member Murkowski said that the bipartisan bill would “...provide clear direction to keep the United States competitive and begin the process of modernizing our federal mineral policies. While it took time to develop a bill we could all agree on, we have done just that – and the result will be more opportunities for domestic jobs, technological innovation, increased national security, and greater competitiveness.” The Critical Minerals Policy Act would also update the U.S.’s critical minerals policies by coordinating efforts across federal agencies, focus on the broader supply chain for critical minerals and address mineral resource assessments from recycling to alternatives. In total, nine Republicans and eight Democrats are supporting the Critical Minerals Policy Act.

Congress lowers royalty rate for soda ash
The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed legislation, H.R. 527, the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act, which included a provision that will lower the federal royalty rate U.S. soda ash producers pay from 6% to 4% for two years. This will go into effect immediately. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) has been a champion for the domestic soda ash industry in pushing Congress for years to pass this temporary rate reduction. This measure was important for the U.S. soda ash industry, which saw its federal royalty payments increase by 300% two years ago. Five U.S. companies supply 100% of the U.S. needs and export the remaining production. The U.S. has been facing growing competition from synthetic soda ash from China. Because of this increased foreign competition and the threat of losses on the export market, Congress quickly passed this temporary royalty rate reduction.

MSHA news
MSHA sets Oct 30 as Mine Rescue Day
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced that it is recognizing Oct. 30 as national Mine Rescue Day. The date was selected because of its historic significance. On Oct. 30, 1911, the first national mine rescue demonstration was held in the U.S. It was organized by Dr. Joseph A. Holmes, who in 1910 was appointed the first director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines by President William Howard Taft. The announcement came during the first meeting of the newly established Holmes Mine Rescue Association (HMRA), held Oct. 29 and 30 at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, WV. The HMRA was created within the Holmes Safety Association at its annual meeting in June to provide a national mine response structure to better support and guide mine emergency response. To learn more, click here.

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