SME Books, a sneak peek of upcoming publications and the people behind them

Genevieve Homyack

December 6, 2021

In 2022, SME will publish two highly-anticipated books, Project Management for Mining, Second Edition and Tailings Management Handbook, a Life-Cycle Approach. Editors of the books took some time out their busy schedule to talk about the projects for this article.

SME author, editor, and penultimate adventurer Robin J. Hickson gave me a brief glimpse into his life and the process he used as a co-author along with Terry L. Owen to write Project Management for Mining, Second Edition.

When describing Hickson, the term teetotaler, does not come to mind. His answer to the question if he had any interesting stories over the course of his career was, “I’ve been at the wrong end of rebel forces’ guns in the Philippines and Mexico, caught up in demonstrations in Ecuador and Chile, placed under counter-intelligence interrogation in Russia and the U.S., twice been on planes that had engines fail in flight, three times had to evacuate my hotel because of actual fires (Toronto, New Orleans, Santiago), survived a highway truck collision in Romania and a locomotive impact in Virginia, witnessed the security force killing of a would-be terrorist in South America, endured -57°C temperatures in Arctic Russia and +53°C in the southern California deserts, worked in the supposed wettest place on earth (400” annual rain in Indonesia) and the driest (Atacama Desert where it hadn’t rained in 60 years), lived below sea level and worked in the highest mine in the world (at 20,200 feet), been chased by an alligator in Louisiana and a hostile wedding group in Bolivia, witnessed the aurora borealis, twice seen total eclipses of the sun, watched bald eagles catch salmon in Alaska, seen a leopard take its kill in the South African night, and been blessed with a wife who puts up with all this.”

He added, “This international project life has allowed me to meet with several country presidents, two U.S. Secretaries of State, Broadway performers, rock ’n roll singers, world renowned artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, sports stars and Hollywood celebrities. Mind you, I still think that regular folk are the most interesting.”

When asked what he like most about the book, he said, “The flowcharts, checklists and color figures in each subject chapter. Together, they deliver more of a handbook for the project manager trying to succeed out in the field, than a library text book.” Also, he added “This 2nd edition provides the perfect avenue for addressing issues that readers raised from our first edition, and that attendees at our ‘Project Management for Mining’ seminars wanted more fully explained.”

To stay motivated with repetitive tasks like proofreading, fact-checking, or source-checking, Hickson says he will, “deliberately tackle each task of chapter writing, and each ancillary effort such as fact-checking or proof reading, as just a happy step for successfully executing the project assignment.”

Currently Hickson is working on the very important project of “putting together, for my children and grandchildren, a collection of the oddest, most humorous experiences from the variety of foreign project locales and taxing international travels that came my way.”

Hickson adds “Kudos to SME for providing the forum for getting these project management ‘best practices’ into such a convenient medium for practicing project personnel to draw upon at their mine development sites.”

Kimberly Finke Morrison, SME Author and Editor of Tailings Management Handbook, a Life-Cycle Approach said that what she liked most about this project was that “Through working on this book, it became apparent just how necessary this resource really is for the mining industry. This is highlighted by the fact that there were more than 100 authors, including many world-renowned experts, volunteering their time to contribute to development of the book. This is the first resource of its kind that truly encompasses the full lifecycle of tailings management, including cross-functional components such as permitting and hydrogeological site characterization, governance elements, and risk management. Also, the resource is timely in that it brings in the elements introduced by the 2020 release of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM).”

Morrison also added, “I’m excited that my employer, Newmont Corporation, sees the value in this effort by providing sponsorship of the book, bringing the price down considerably.”


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