This past week (February 24-27), mining professionals gathered in Denver, CO for the 142nd SME Annual Meeting & Exhibit. The meeting was well attended, in spite of the weather (lots of snow), which delayed my own arrival after my flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the next day. According to SME’s numbers prior to the conference there were 589 exhibiting companies. My goal in this post is to share my impressions of the conference and exhibition.
As I said earlier, my flight to Denver on the 24th was cancelled because of snow in Denver. Consequently, I missed the plenary session on Monday (25th) and cannot report, first hand, on it. I am waiting for video of the recorded sessions to be uploaded at the usual spot on the SME website. However, my general impression, based on attending Tuesday and Wednesday, is that this was a good conference. I found many presentations on my specific interests (mine planning, modeling & simulation, and sustainability). I couldn’t attend all sessions of interest but I found the ones I attended very good. It was also good to meet new professionals and some old friends too.
Tuesday was eventful for two reasons: (1) I had to run my first meeting as chair of the SME Sustainable Development Committee; and (2) One of my research assistants was presenting some of our work. The SD Committee meeting was well attended in spite of the early start (7:30am). We had some meaningful discussions which should help SME advance its sustainability objectives. For those of you interested in learning more about how you can help implement sustainability programs in your organizations, stay tuned for more information in the coming months. We are planning to start webinars on that topic, which will be coordinated by three renowned sustainability experts: Dr. Dirk van Zyl (professor of mining engineering at UBC), Dr. Deborah Shields (professor of mineral economics at Colorado State), and Carol Russell (EPA).
Our work was very well presented by Ms. Angelina Anani. She presented on errors introduced in discrete event simulation analysis when one ignores truck bunching due to a slow truck(s) on the haul roads. I will post separately in the coming weeks on this research. The talk (slides below) was well received.
Again, our research group had on presentation on Wednesday. I also got the chance to visit some of the exhibits. Ms. Maryam Abdi Oskouei presented our work on the relationship between operator practices (determined by skill and experience) and dragline energy efficiency. I have discussed this work in more detail in a separate post. This is an important consideration for all those who want to improve their energy costs and the carbon footprint of their operations.
Wednesday morning I got to see some of the 818 booths of the exhibit. My favorite exhibits, based on design and layout, were those by Caterpillar, Westec and Tons per Hour. Technically, however, the most interesting stand I visited was Geovariances’, where they were showing demos of Isatis. Isatis a good product for geostatistical analysis. As with anything specific, it has a lot more features than the modules in your general mine planning software. It is a good product to check out.
Next year, the SME Annual Meeting will be in Salt Lake City. I hope to see you there. If you attended this year’s conference, share your thoughts on your favorite exhibit and technical find below.