MINEXCHANGE 2023 SME Annual Conference wraps up in Denver, CO
The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration wrapped up a highly successful MINEXCHANGE 2023 SME Annual Conference & Expo in Denver, CO on Wednesday, March 1 with its annual awards dinner. Marc LeVier assumed the role of SME President for 2023 at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Through the four day conference more than 6,500 attendees took part in more than 120 technical sessions and visited MINEXCHANGE 2023 a vibrant exhibit hall with more than 500 companies exhibiting in 803 booths.
Steven Schafrik, associate professor, University of Kentucky, served as the program chair to create a technical program that covered the breadth of the mining industry. Of note, the technical program included a session focused on total worker health with an emphasis on the importance of mental health in the workforce. It is the first time SME has had such a session. The topic was also discussed at the Health and Safety Division awards breakfast by Lori Guasta of the National Safety Council.
The technical programming for MINEXCHANGE is built by SME’s divisions, this year’s program chairs by division were: Omar Smith, senior civil engineer, Wood – Environmental Division; Pedram Roghanchi, assistant professor, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology – Health and Safety Division; Guarav Soni, proposal manager, Metso Outotec – Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division; Patrick Jacomet, executive director, Ohio Aggregates and Industrial Minerals Association - Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division; David Meadows, CTO, Bechtel – Minerals and Metallurgical Processing Division; Don Dwyer, general manager, SSR mining – Marigold – Mining & Exploration Division; Carrie Hartford, senior project engineer, Jenike & Johnson Inc, - Bulk Material Handling Committee; Janet Baron, director metallurgical services, Newmont; Inclusion & Diversity Committee; Rachel Jansen, senior process engineer, Patterson Cooke, Tailings Program Committee and Lance Waddell, project manager, Lane Construction – Underground Construction Division.
The conference kicked off in Denver, CO with an overarching theme of Investing in Success – Building Trust in Mining. The technical aspect of the conference began with a keynote address, Embracing ESG to build trust in mining investments. The panel discussion was moderated by Kim Morrison, Senior Director, Global Tailings Management, Technical Services, Newmont and Kelly Ward, Vice President, Mining, Metals & Minerals – U.S.Practice Leader.
Morrison and Ward discussed ESG, role of investing and insurance in mining as well as tailings management. The panel included Ryan Bond, Head of Climate and Sustainability Insurance Initiative, Marsh; Aidan Davy, Chief Operating Officer, International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM); Daniele La Porta, Global Head of Sustainability and ESG, Gerald Group, Casey Nault, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief ESG Officer, Coeur Mining, Inc.
Environmental, social, governance (ESG) and the issues it encompasses has come to the forefront of the mining industry. External influencers such as institutional investors are demanding increased attention on ESG drivers and looking beyond financial performance, while insurance companies also consider ESG performance in their coverage pricing and terms. Further, new standards and frameworks have been introduced against which mining companies are being measured. Against this background it can be difficult for mining companies to navigate what is important and how best to report their performance, with numerous issues on the ESG agenda for the industry including tailings management, climate change and resiliency planning, mine closure, human rights, stakeholder engagement, and transparency, among others. This panel discussion dives into these issues from the perspectives of the mining, investment, and insurance communities.
Following the keynote was the Murray Innovation Award lecture. The award was presented to Hecla Mining for its innovation at the Lucky Friday Mine. Phillips S. Baker, Jr., CEO and President, Hecla Mining Company and Chris Neville, Operations, Lucky Friday Mine spoke about the company’s implementation of the underhand closed bench (UCB) method the Lucky Friday Mine, the deepest mine in the United States.
The UCB has helped Hecla mange the seismicity at the mine. As a result, the 80–year–old Lucky Friday mine is mining the most tons and will produce the most silver ounces in its history.