Highlights from SME Annual Conference & Expo in Denver: Awards, news and distinguished multidisciplinary mining research

Around 6000 mining professionals converged on Denver this month for the 2019 SME Annual Conference & Expo and SMA 121st National Western Mining Conference.

The four-day event featured an extensive technical program (120 sessions with an integrated student program); short courses covering topics on the latest mining technology, practices and innovation; and a major trade exhibition with more than 750 booths and 575 vendors.

Organisers say that the annual conference is recognised as “the most distinguished forum for the publication of multidisciplinary mining research”.

For more details on the conference, see Dr Barry Wills’ report on the MEI blog. A few highlights raised by Barry relevant to mining and processing leaders and practitioners:

Important awards included

  • Awarding of the prestigious Frank F. Aplan Award to CEEC Sponsor Eriez’s Jaisen Kohmuench for his exceptional contributions, and news of Eriez’ latest high-gradient dry vibrating magnetic filters and the successful deployment of Eriez’s StackCell flotation technology into minerals
  • Awarding of the prestigious Robert H. Richards Awards to Dr Jaime Sepulveda, a long-standing expert and contributor to industry and past speaker at CEEC’s Santiago workshops
  • Awarding of the Milton E. Wadsworth Award to Dr Kathryn Sole for her distinguished contribution on the development and practice of solvent extraction and high impact publications
  • Awarding of the Rong Yu Want Dissertation Award to Dr Seyed Hassan Amini for an outstanding dissertation on optimising mineral processing circuit design under uncertainty
  • Lifetime Achievement Award (2018) to Prof Jan Miller, University of Utah, for outstanding contributions in flotation and surface chemistry and much more
  • Awarding by SME President Barb Arnold of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award and Lifetime Achievement Award (2019) to Prof Douglas W. Fuerstenau, who celebrated his 90th birthday and gave a keynote looking back at seven decades as a mineral engineer

Discussions with companies

  • Barry’s discussions with Prof Alban Lynch highlighted the move towards high-frequency screens compared to hydrocyclones
  • Discussions with many other leading comminution and processing company representatives, including CEEC Sponsors FLSmidth (announcing the purchase of AuTech) and latest news from CEEC Sponsor Sandvik, plus many other companies in attendance including Derrick Corporation, Starkey & Associates, Sacré-Davey Engineering, Lincon Strategic, RSG Inc, Nouryon, OSIsoft, Clariant, Hazen Research, Tescan USA Inc, J-Consultants Ltd and Moly-Cop.
  • Discussions with global mining media representatives from International Mining, The Intelligent Miner, Engineering & Mining Journal, and Informed Magazine
  • Discussions with university researchers and industry organisations, including China University of Mining & Technology, University of Kentucky, International Mineral Processing Council, AusIMM and CSIRO leaders and representatives


  • Launch of the SME Mineral Processing Handbook, and new SME journal Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration.

CEEC thanks Barry Wills for his continued, excellent news and reporting from events including SME. For full details, read Barry’s MEI blog of the SME conference. CEEC is proud to partner with MEI as an Industry Advocate for three of their international conferences: Sustainable Minerals, Comminution and Physical Separation.