The 2016 Annual Conference and Expo of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) was held at the Phoenix Convention Center Feb. 21-24, and brought together mining industry professionals from around the globe. More than 38 countries were represented during the Society’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,” said SME Executive Director David L. Kanagy. “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.”
The Phoenix meeting welcomed:
- 6,309 attendees.
- 680 international attendees.
- 582 students.
- 627 exhibitors.
- 844 booths on the convention floor.
The conference began with the keynote session, “Guarding Against a Normalization of Deviance,” bringing Colonel Mike Mullane into the spotlight with his evaluation of the phenomenon of repeatedly accepting lower standards of performance until those standards become the “norm.” He used the NASA Challenger tragedy and his Space Shuttle experiences to illustrate this tendency. Colonel 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.