SME conference draws thousands to Phoenix

By |  March 9, 2016

sme-annual-conference-expoThe 2016 Annual Conference & Expo of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) was held at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, uniting mining industry professionals from around the world.

More than 38 countries were represented during SME’s four-day event, which featured 751 professional papers presented in 121 technical sessions and four professional short courses. Attendees received USB flash drives containing 171 preprint manuscripts.

“Despite the current weakened economic climate for the mining industry, the demand for mineral products will continue to grow worldwide,” says David Kanagy, SME executive director. “The future for the mining industry is bright and hinges on keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. The 2016 SME Conference & Expo was the perfect showcase for the latest opportunities, innovations and developments in our industry.”

According to SME, 6,309 people attended the event in Phoenix. The conference began with a keynote session titled “Guarding Against a Normalization of Deviance,” bringing Col. Mike Mullane into the spotlight with his evaluation of the phenomenon of repeatedly accepting lower standards of performance until those standards become the “norm.”

Mullane used the NASA Challenger tragedy and his Space Shuttle experiences to illustrate this tendency. Mullane completed three space missions and logged 356 hours in space aboard the shuttles Discovery and Atlantis before retiring from NASA and the Air Force in 1990.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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