Award Recognition

Honor an industry colleague or team with your nomination for an SME award. Award recipients represent the highest level of professionalism and expertise in the mining and minerals industry. Awards are given for individual and group achievements. All nominations must be submitted online by June 1.

Winners will be notified in September.

Select an award to learn more and start the online nomination process.

A candidate for SME Fellow Award must have been a full member of SME for at least 15 years. A candidate must have demonstrated significant and sustained contributions to the minerals industry and to SME. There must be some contributions to both the industry and SME, though significant and sustained contributions can be to either one.

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The Robert M. Dreyer Award in Applied Economic Geology (Dreyer Award) was established in 2000 from a generous bequest from Dr. Dreyer’s estate. The Dreyer Award recognizes outstanding achievements in applied economic geology. The outstanding achievements so recognized must have been accomplished through commercial exploration or development of metalliferous and/or nonmetalliferous mineral deposits.

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The first Miners Give Back (MGB) project took place on February 26, 2010, when 25 men and women gathered to help Arizona teachers. After a very busy afternoon, the volunteers had created hundreds of needed items for Arizona classrooms. In 2011, 61 persons from the mining industry gathered to help the Food Bank of the Rockies. The volunteers packed meals for more than 4,000 people during their day at the food bank. In 2012, 21 volunteers spent part of a day working at the Food Lifeline of Seattle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger in western Washington. In all, their volunteer work produced more than 2,900 meals for the needy in Washington. In 2015, the MGB program began a three year partnership with Engineers without Borders (EWB) to leverage EWB’s global network of on-the-ground engineers in developing countries that implement multiple projects to address the needs identified by a community. EWB’s mission complimented that of MGB’s: to support world-wide initiatives focused on humanitarian efforts that tangibly improved the lives of individuals and inspired a commitment to give back to the local community. The newest Miners Give Back initiative is intended to increase the level of participation by the SME Sections in humanitarian efforts and community service and provide rewards/recognition each year for the outstanding project(s). For multiple projects, please submit an application for each project.

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This award is based on Chapter Reports; nominations are not accepted for this award. Chapter reports are judged on the basis of a comprehensive review and evaluation with other reports from competing chapters. These chapter reports are used to evaluate the level and quality of chapter activities and operations. The financial resources of our Chapters vary therefore, the selection process for the award places a strong emphasis on a Chapter's activities as opposed to the glossiness of reporting those activities. The winning chapter receives a $500 cash award, a certificate of recognition and a ticket to the awards banquet at the SME annual meeting. The winning chapter also receives a travel allowance of up to $500 to offset travel expenses related to the meeting. The three runner-up chapters receive certificates of recognition. All entrants are recognized in Mining Engineering.

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The Syd S. and Felicia F. Peng Ground Control in Mining Award (Peng Award) was established in 2004 through a generous donation from Syd and Felicia Peng. The purpose of the Peng Award is to provide recognition to individuals that have demonstrated technical and scientific excellence in advancing the understanding of ground control technologies or approaches by either publication or direct applications in the mining industry.

The mining and minerals industry has been and remains supportive of mining and mineral engineering education. There is a clear recognition that neither can exist without the other. Ivan B. Rahn, when Manager-Manpower Services, CONSOL, was a major part of this relationship. Significantly, and substantially different from his industrial colleagues, Mr. Rahn recognized that industry could have a say in the development of educational quality and, hence, the quality of graduates available for hire by industry. In pursuit of quality, he alone amongst his colleagues, attended every major SME meeting where education was on the agenda, provided input and insight into the educational needs of industry, did statistical analyses of mining and mineral engineering enrollments and graduation rates, supported the accreditation activities of ABET, and provided the social environment in which faculty could come together as a community. Indeed, there were some younger faculty members who came to believe that CONSOL’s support for education and the social reception for engineering educators was a permanent fixture. Mr. Rahn’s well-deserved retirement at the beginning of 1996 was accompanied by a rude realization that so much of what had come to be expected was entirely dependent upon him. The creation of the award and the naming of it for him were in clear recognition of his contributions to quality engineering education in the fields for which SME has responsibility: geological, mineral, mineral processing, and mining engineering. Making him the first recipient of the award was a most fitting gesture.

Luckily, the example that he set has been taken up by others although none has done it with the totality that he showed. Dr. Ashworth took up the responsibility for data gathering and statistical analyses of enrollments and graduation rates. Many industrial members of SME started to attend the education meetings and the most dedicated of them became ABET program evaluators and, even, members of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Over the years, the Rahn Award has been given to a number of industry-based members of SME. Their participation in the pursuit of engineering-educational quality can be attributed to Ivan B. Rahn.

The John Fritz Medal is presented each year for scientific or industrial achievement in any field of pure or applied science. It was established in 1902 as a memorial to the great engineer whose name it bears.

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1) The award recipient may be asked to speak or give a lecture during the Keynote Session and will receive their award at the SME Annual Conference & Expo Banquet. 2) The Robert E. Murray Award shall be a gold medal bearing the likeness of Robert E. Murray, an engraved crystal with the winner’s name and date, and a framed certificate with the year of the award, and a citation of the service or achievement on which the award is based. 3) The award winner will also receive a travel reimbursement and conference registration to attend the SME Annual Conference & Expo including the annual awards banquet.

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The SME Board of Directors and Past Presidents provide nominations for this award upon request; other nominations are not accepted. AIME Honorary Membership is one of the highest honors that the Institute can bestow on an individual. It is awarded in appreciation of outstanding service to the Institute or in recognition of distinguished scientific or engineering achievement in the fields embracing the activities of AIME and its Member Societies. Candidates for Honorary Membership are generally (1) members of the AIME Member Societies who are outstanding in their respective fields and/or who have performed unusual service to the Institute; (2) United States citizens, whether AIME Member Society members or not, who are particularly outstanding; or (3) citizens of foreign countries who are outstanding in their work combined with some official position of service to the profession. Nominations are only accepted from the current SME Board of Directors and the SME Past Presidents. Please contact the Member Society Executive Director for more information.

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The Douglas Award was established by AIME in 1922 in memory of James Douglas, industrialist, mining and metallurgical engineer, inventor of metallurgical equipment, author, and founder of the Phelps Dodge Corporation. He was the donor of the AIME James Douglas Library Fund, the income of which is specifically earmarked for the support of the Engineering Societies Library, situated in the United Engineering Center in New York City. Dr. Douglas was AIME President in 1899 and 1900 and received AIME Honorary Membership in 1906.

If a committee member is nominated, they will either find a replacement committee member so that they can resign for the year or remove their nomination until their term is up.



AIME Board members are exempt from receiving AIME awards.

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Such significant contributions may be represented by discovery of a major source of mineral supply, by development of an engineering process to extend present minerals supplies, or outstanding engineering contributions that, in other ways, enhance the standard of living.

There are no limitations regarding nationality or membership in the AIME Member Societies, but preference is given to members. If a committee member is nominated, they will either find a replacement committee member so that they can resign for the year or remove their nomination until their term is up. Candidate must be living or passed away prior to May 1st of the nomination year.

No AIME Major Award winner is eligible to be nominated for another AIME Major Award until 9 years shall have elapsed, and the nomination support package shall conspicuously reference work in a new field or significant new accomplishments in the field for which the original award was made. (The AIME Major Awards are the Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal, Robert Earll McConnell Award, James Douglas Gold Medal, Hal Williams Hardinge Award, Erskine Ramsay Medal, Robert H. Richards Award, William Lawrence Saunders Gold Medal, Benjamin F. Fairless Award and Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal.)

AIME Board members are exempt from receiving AIME awards.

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The Mineral Economics Award is given to recognize distinguished contributions to the advancement of mineral economics.

AIME Board members are exempt from receiving AIME awards.

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The award was established by AIME in 1950 to recognize distinguished contributions to the advancement of mineral industry education. In 2011, AIME transitioned administration of this award to SME.

AIME Board members are exempt from receiving AIME awards.

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The Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal Award (Rand Award) recognizes distinguished achievement in mining administration, regarding mining in its broad sense to include metallurgy and petroleum.

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SME staff will determine which papers, published by SME over a period of four years, are eligible for this award. Nominations are not accepted for this award. Eligible papers are Single- or dual-authored technical papers where the lead author is a member in good standing of one of the AIME member societies, under the age of 35 at the time the paper was peer-approved/reviewed and published in the four years preceding May 1 of the judging year. SME Publications --- Before February 2019 -- Mining Engineering magazine; Minerals and Metallurgical Processing journal; Transactions of SME. As of February 2019 – Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration – research journal of SME. AIME Member Society Staff reviews its journals and transactions from the previous four years to nominate authors of technical papers that meet the above eligibility criteria. Nominations cannot be accepted, view the guidelines for the procedure.

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The Coal & Energy Division Distinguished Service Award was established by the Coal & Energy Division in 1989 and the first Award was given in 1990. This Award will be presented to an individual for achievements in the coal mining industry. All candidates must be SME members in good standing and must be living at the time of their selection in order to receive the Award. Members of the current award committee are not eligible to receive the award during their term of service on the award committee.

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Howard N. Eavenson (1874-1953) obtained a bachelors degree from Swarthmore College and a civil engineering degree a few years later. At 26, he became chief engineer for United States Coal & Coke, a subsidiary of US Steel. For the next 18 years, he opened up several coal deposits and built 15 large coal plants in West Virginia and Kentucky. In 1920, Eavenson established his own consulting firm in Pittsburgh, PA and, by the time he became president of AIME in 1934, he was a director of Pittsburgh Coal Co. and chairman of the board of Appalachian Coals - a joint selling agency through which 137 producers of bituminous coal marketed more than 45 Mt/pa (50 million stpy).

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The Howard L. Hartman Award, established in 1989, recognizes distinguished contributions in practice, teaching or research in the field of underground ventilation engineering. There are no limitations regarding age, nationality, professional field, membership in the Society, or otherwise.

Award Guidelines >
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At a joint Fuels Meeting of the ASME Fuels Division and the AIME Coal Division in St. Louis, MO in 1942, the fall after Percy Nicholls died, the first Percy Nicholls Award was presented .This award was established by the two divisions to commemorate the outstanding contributions that Nicholls had made in the science and technology of fuels utilization. It is presented jointly by the Fuels and Combustion Technologies Division of ASME and the Coal & Energy Division of SME.

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Erskine Ramsay (1864-1953) graduated from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA in 1883. By age 20, he was the superintendent of H.C. Frick Coke Co.'s Monastery mines and coal works, which produced the third largest amount of coal in Pennsylvania. He then joined the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Co. at its Pratt Mines near Birmingham,AL and, in 1895, became the assistant general manager. An avid inventor, Ramsay was granted his first patent in 1897, for a coal and mineral washer. Subsequent inventions centered on improvement in the coal-mining process and in the safety of miners. Ramsay was involved in the design of a mine car with a safety cage and an automatic car stop.

Other inventions include the rotary car dump, the swivel coupling, the use of shaking screens and improved washers.The latter two inventions improved the process of removing coal from other minerals in a more efficient manner.

Ramsay served as head of the Republican National Committee and, in 1911, was appointed by the U.S.Bureau of Mines as member of a commission to study coal-mining methods in Europe. During World War I, he served on the Committee on Coal Production. He received the William Lawrence Saunders Gold Medal in 1937.

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The Rock Mechanics Award shall be given for distinguished contributions to the advancement of the field of rock mechanics and is open to all regardless of age, nationality, SME membership, or professional field. There are no limitations regarding nationality or membership in the society, though preference is given to society members. All candidates must be living at the time of award presentation.

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The Stefanko Best Paper Award, established in 1983, recognizes authors presenting papers in the Coal & Energy Division technical sessions, at SME Annual Meetings, for their contributions to the body of knowledge. The award shall consider: 1) technical quality of the paper; and 2) quality of presentation. The award shall consist of a cash gift and certificate(s) for the author(s). In case of multiple authors the cash gift shall be divided equally among the authors.

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The J. W. Woomer Award (formerly the Young Engineer Award) established in 1976, brings recognition of engineering professionalism to young people working in the coal industry. Election to this honor is by the Coal & Energy Division Officers with notification to the SME Executive Committee.

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Environmental Division’s Benefactor Award was established in 2014 to recognize companies or individuals who have significantly contributed to the Silent Auction to benefit the Environmental Division Scholarship Fund.

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The Environmental Division Distinguished Service Award, established in 2001, recognizes members who have significantly contributed to the workings of SME and the Environmental Division and have an outstanding reputation for professionalism and accomplishment.

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The Environmental Stewardship Distinguished Service Award was established by AIME in 1970 to recognize significant contributions to environmental conservation by addition to knowledge; by the design or invention of useful equipment of procedure; or by outstanding service to governmental or private organizations devoted to any field of environmental conservation. In 2011, AIME transitioned this award to SME.

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The Health & Safety Research & Educational Excellence Award (HSREX Award) was established in 2012,

The Health & Safety Individual Excellence Award (HSIX Award) was established in 2012.

The Health & Safety Operational Excellence Award was established in 2012. The Award recognizes operations that demonstrate improved health or safety performance as a result of (1) designing, launching, and tracking initiatives over at least the past five years or (2) maintaining programs for more than five years that require a considerable commitment of resources.

The Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division Distinguished Service Award, established in 1995, recognizes members who have significantly contributed to the workings of SME and the Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division; and have an outstanding reputation for professionalism and accomplishments. The award consists of an engraved plaque to be presented at the annual Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division Luncheon.

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The Hal Williams Hardinge Award, established in 1958 and funded by AIME, recognizes outstanding achievement which has benefited the field of industrial minerals & aggregates. The achievement so recognized may have been accomplished through writing, teaching, research or administration, resulting in new uses, wider markets, improved management, or through wider dissemination of knowledge. The award shall be a plaque, appropriately engraved with the name of the award, the name of the recipient, and the citation of the particular achievement for which the award is being conferred.

There are no limitations regarding nationality or membership in the AIME Member Societies, but preference is given to members. If a committee member is nominated, they will either find a replacement committee member so that they can resign for the year or remove their nomination until their term is up. Candidate must be living or passed away prior to May 1st of the nomination year.

No AIME Major Award winner is eligible to be nominated for another AIME Major Award until 9 years shall have elapsed, and the nomination support package shall conspicuously reference work in a new field or significant new accomplishments in the field for which the original award was made. (The AIME Major Awards are the Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal, Robert Earll McConnell? Award, James Douglas Gold Medal, Hal Williams Hardinge Award, Erskine Ramsay Medal, Robert H. Richards Award, William Lawrence Saunders Gold Medal, Benjamin F. Fairless Award and Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal.)

AIME Board members are exempt from receiving AIME awards.

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The Young Scientist Award, established by the Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division in 1985, brings recognition of scientific professionalism to young people working in the industrial minerals & aggregates industry. The award consists of a plaque, a stipend of $250 to help defray expenses while attending the Annual Meeting at which the award is presented, and paid housing, registration(s) and ticket(s) for the recipient and his/her spouse at the SME Annual Conference & Expo and the IM & AD Luncheon. The recipient will be encouraged to submit an article within a year of the award presentation for consideration for publication in "In the Aggregate."

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Ben F. Dickerson III was a member of AIME from 1962 until his death in 1987. He served on the Board of Directors and was Chair of the M&E Division. He will be remembered for his numerous "ROCK IN THE BOX" columns which he began writing in 1980, and also for the humor, wit and satire of his "News and Rumor from the Bush" articles featured in Skillings Magazine. He believed in professionalism and encouraged his employees to participate in professional societies in order to grow in their profession. Besides AIME, he was a member of SEG, GSA (Society of Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits), SIMM, AIPG, Colorado Mining Association, Northwest Mining Association, Mining Club of the Southwest, Mining Club of New York, and the Arizona Geological Society, to name just a few. He abhorred ignorance and apathy. His curiosity was boundless; he never stopped asking "Why?"

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The Daniel C. Jackling Award was instituted by the Mining, Geology and Geophysics of AIME in 1953. Daniel C. Jackling, for whom the Award is named, was an Honorary Member of AIME andPresident in 1938. The Jackling Award is presented for significant contributions to technical progress in the fields of mining, geology and geophysics or other applicable fields as determined by the Mining & Exploration Division.

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The Mining & Exploration Division Service Award, established in 1985, honors members of SME (with the exception of all M&E Division Officers at the time they hold office) who have made outstanding contributions to the M&E Division in its programs or other activities. The award consists of an engraved plaque to be presented at the annual M&E Division luncheon. Election to this honor is by the M&E Division Executive Committee with notification to the SME Executive Committee.

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The M&E Outstanding Young Professional Award, established in 1996, recognizes the meritorious accomplishments of a young individual working in the mining and exploration industry (including related academic and governmental careers). The award shall consist of a plaque appropriately engraved with the name of the award and the name of the recipient.

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The Miner of the Year Award was established by the Mining & Exploration (M&E) Division in 2012 and was first awarded in 2013. It is presented to a person in recognition for getting “Rock in the Box.” This award is designed to recognize mine-site leaders who are able to manage production, people, community, safety and be good stewards of the environment and is funded by Atlas Copco, Inc.

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The award recognizes individuals who most exemplifies the effort and insight Harry Parker has brought to improve the mining industry. His work in resource/feasibility reporting and geostatistics has improved the investment community’s perception of mining ventures.

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The Robert Peele Memorial Award, established in 1953, is funded by AIME. The paper under consideration must have been published in an SME publication within a two-year period ending December 31. Only the first author of a paper must be an SME member not over 35 years of age at the time the paper is submitted. The award is limited to authors of M&E Division papers. Nominations cannot be accepted, view the guidelines for the procedure.

Award Guidelines >
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William Lawrence Saunders was born in 1856 in Columbus, GA, the son of Episcopal minister William Trebell Saunders and Eliza Morton of Virginia. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. As a young man, Saunders invented the apparatus for underwater drilling and became wealthy as a result of his equipment being used in the Russian oil fields. He was the founding editor of Compressed Air magazine and published two textbooks on compressed air. In 1904, he became president of the Ingersoll Sergeant Drill Co. after the death of William Russell Grace. He became the first president of the now combined Ingersoll Rand in 1906. As the twice-elected mayor of North Planfield, NJ, he campaigned for woman's right to vote.

During World War I, Saunders was chair of the Naval Consulting Board, which collected inventions and ideas from engineers and inventors to be used in the war effort. He also served as the 1915 president of AIME and deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He died in 1931.

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Robert H. Richards, inventor, author and teacher, was one of America's pre-eminent ore dressing engineers, and he can rightly be called the father of ore dressing in the United States. In 1874, Richards began studies of hydraulic classification that led to his discovery of and extensive research on the phenomenon of hindered settling. Based on these fundamental studies, he developed a series of sizing and concentrating classifiers, the Richards pulsator jig, and the concept of sizing before gravity concentration. In addition to this important research, Richards' encyclopedic, four-volume treatise, Ore Drressing, published in 1909, was the first comprehensive work to codify and publicize all that was know about ore dressing American at that time.

In 1868, Richards was in the first graduating class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Upon graduation, Richards stayed at MIT as an instructor, advancing to the rank of professor in 1884, and served as the head of the department of Mining and Metallurgy until his retirement in 1914. He joined AIME in 1873 and became its president in 1886. AIME honored Richards' memory in 1948 establishing the Robert H. Richards Award as the premier award in the field of ore processing.

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The award was established by AIME in 1989 with voluntary contributions of friends and associates as a tribute to Frank F. Aplan for his lifelong productive career in coal and mineral processing research and education. Dr. Aplan was the initial award recipient.

In 2011, AIME transitioned administration of this award to SME.

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The Antoine M. Gaudin Award, established in 1975, is for scientific or engineering contributions that further understanding of the technology of mineral processing. Eligible areas for contributions are agglomeration, classification, comminution, electrical and magnetic separation, flocculation and sedimentation, froth flotation, hydrometallurgy, particulate behavior, and other related mineral processing operations. There are no limitations regarding nationality, membership in the Institute, or otherwise. The award shall consist of a plaque, appropriately engraved with the name of the award, the name of the recipient, and the citation of the particular achievement for which the award is being conferred. Election to this honor is by the MPD Executive Committee with notification to the SME Executive Committee.

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The MPD Outstanding Young Engineer Award, established in 1984, recognizes significant contribution of a young individual within the Mineral Processing/Extractive discipline.

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The Arthur F. Taggart Award, established in 1970, is made for the paper or series of closely related papers with at least one common author, which in the opinion of the Committee represents a notable contribution to the science of minerals processing. The selection shall be made from papers on mineral processing, published in Minerals and Metallurgical Processing Journal, Mining Engineering, Transactions, or any other appropriate SME publication published within the year preceding the Award. For the purpose of this Award, an Award year shall be considered to run from June 1 to May 31. The Award shall be presented at the next Annual Meeting of the Division. Nominations cannot be accepted, view the guidelines for the procedure.

Award Guidelines >
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The Milton E. Wadsworth Metallurgy Award, established in 1992, recognizes distinguished contributions that advance our understanding of the science and technology of non-ferrous chemical metallurgy.

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The UCA of SME Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals with outstanding achievements in the underground design and construction industry accomplished through design and/or construction of civil underground facilities. The recipient must have contributed significantly to the education, planning, design, construction or rehabilitation of tunnels and underground facilities. This includes seeking advances in new methods, materials, and advancing the public understanding and concurrence with the beneficial uses of underground space. The recipient must have a minimum of 20 years professional experience anywhere in the world and have spent most of his/her career in underground construction. The recipient should be an UCA member in good standing at the time of the Award and shall be selected without regard to age, gender, race, religion, or nationality.

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The UCA of SME's Outstanding Educator Award is presented to professors and teachers who have had an exception career in academia and the education in the area of underground design and construction. These individuals also have had significant contributions to the industry through they academic interests, as well as the introduction of many student graduates into the industry. These individuals are nominated by their industry peers and bestowed the award by the UCA Executive Committee.

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The Underground Construction Association Outstanding Individual Award will be presented to an individual (contractor, engineer, owner, supplier) for outstanding achievements in the underground construction industry.

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The Project of the Year Award recognizes an individual or a group that has shown insight and understanding of underground construction in a significant project, which may include a practice, developing concepts, theories or technologies to overcome unusual problems within a project. There should be little to no outstanding issues.

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The MEC Leadership Award will be a custom Prazen bronze engraved plaque with a raised MEC mountain logo and a $750 stipend. The awardee may decide to accept the stipend or donate it to their charity of choice engaged in MEC-type education and outreach related to minerals and mining.

The Minerals Education Coalition SME Organization Recognition Award recognizes an SME group (Division, Local Section, Committee, etc.) effort which has demonstrated active involvement with the MEC’s efforts either through development and use of educational materials with K-12 teachers and students or public outreach and awareness about mining and minerals.

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The Minerals Education Coalition Partnership Appreciation Award acknowledges a non-SME individual or organization which has exemplified support for the MEC’s mission either through development and use of educational materials with K-12 teachers and students or public outreach and awareness about mining and minerals.

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To be considered for the MEC Student Chapter Outreach Award, you must demonstrate community service and/or other educational outreach activities (educational outreach to K-12 students, teachers and the general public) in the Application. The award selection committee will evaluate Outreach activities to select the award recipient. The application should be submitted electronically for the MEC Outreach Award.

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Let your colleagues know how you are getting involved!