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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Conference Reports: 2004 SME


2004 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit
Denver, USA, February 23-25, 2004

The Annual Meeting of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Engineers took place at the Convention Center in Denver, Colorado under the theme, “Cultivating Knowledge, Sustainability, and Responsibility”. Participants were around 2400 and the exhibits were 239. Papers presented were 350 by 720 authors from 29 countries. Short courses (mainly on mining topics) preceded the meeting (February 20-22), field trips on February 26, while a number of social functions, alumni receptions, committee meetings, and board of directors meetings took place during the conference. A bookstore was also available for marketing books published by SME.

A unique feature of SME meetings is organizing sessions called, “International” in which the experience of members working in foreign countries are related. For example, there were presentations on mining and metallurgical projects in Indonesia, Central Asia, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Turkey, South Africa, and Germany. SME is committed to international cooperation and the reception held for foreign delegates confirms this commitment. Normally, there were sessions devoted to mineral processing and related topics. In addition, there was a number of events of interest to readers of Minerals Engineering. For example:

  • Engineering education session. The concern about the decreasing number of students in mining and metallurgy departments in universities was thoroughly discussed by deans of engineering from various universities, and representatives from industry. The general conclusion was the status quo will no doubt change but how, no body has decided yet. In addition there was “Educators Forum” under the title “How do we prepare the young engineers for a diverse career?"
  • Cyanide Solution Management Technologies session. Papers were presented on the recovery and disposal of cyanide
  • Environmental Concerns session. This session included papers on tailings management and fly ash.
  • Silica session. Papers presented mainly from hygiene point of view.
  • Four papers were devoted to solution mining, two to mercury problems in gold ores were presented by Newmont engineers, and a session to Management of Process Technology Development.

The aggregates industry is the largest sector of the mining industry (by volume). It contributed $14.59 billion in direct output to the US economy in 2001. When indirect benefits are combined with direct output, the industry contributes $37.6 billion to the GDP and supports more than 284,090 jobs in all sectors of the economy. Companies that produce stone, sand, and gravel now use and will continue to use mining engineers. There is also a good opportunity for mineral processing engineers to find jobs in this industry.

Fathi Habashi, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada, Fathi.habashi@gmn.ulaval.ca




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