Keynote and Signature Lectures

Leading experts from around the globe share insights on the trends and factors changing the future of the industry.

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Monday, February 26, 2024 | 8:30 am – 11:00 am



Energy is Everything

Speaker: Alex Epstein, Author, Energy Expert

Fossil fuels have fostered global human flourishing and pulled millions of people out of poverty. Factoring in an estimated coal reserve of approximately 250 billion tonnes in the United States, roughly 23% of the world reserve, these minerals continue to have an impact on the global energy mix.

Energy expert Alex Epstein opens the keynote session with a presentation about the need for affordable and reliable energy in the future and perspectives on how coal and other fossil fuels can continue to provide improved energy delivery systems for developing nations. With nearly a billion people without reliable power and potable water, providing affordable, reliable energy encourages the innovation necessary to support developing countries.

A panel discussion follows the overview and covers the state of today’s energy grid and the dangers of “net-zero by 2050.”

Bradford Crabtree, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM)

Jimmy Brock, CEO, CONSOL Energy

Jimmy Staton, President & CEO, Santee Cooper

About the Speaker:

AEAlex Epstein is a philosopher and energy expert who argues that “human flourishing” should be the guiding principle of energy and environmental progress. He is the author of the new bestselling book Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas—Not Less. He is also the creator of—a source of powerful, well-referenced talking points on energy, environmental, and climate issues.

Not So Fast: The Continuing Role of Coal in a Sustainable Future Robert E. Murray Innovation Award Lecture 

Daniel Connell, Senior Vice President – CONSOL Innovations, CONSOL Energy Inc.

Jacqueline Fidler, Vice President – Environmental & Sustainability, CONSOL Energy Inc.


Monday, February 26, 2024 | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm


Unlocking Efficiency: Advances in Flotation Circuit Design and Optimization

Antoine M. Gaudin Award Lecture

Speaker: Peter Amelunxen

There is no widely accepted standard calculation for estimating residence time requirements and flowsheet configurations for flotation circuits. Part of the challenge relates to the fact that some of the key phenomena that occur in laboratory and industrial flotation machines are not quantifiable under the commercial constraints of most industrial engineering studies, and this has forced engineers, who must get on with the job at hand, to plug the knowledge gap with a guess (engineers call them “assumptions”). In this presentation I will review some of these “assumptions” and how they have introduced error, risk and cost to the resulting flotation circuit design. Lastly, I will discuss some of the recent developments in addressing these shortcomings, and how they are being used to improve the efficiency of modern flotation circuits.


Froth Flotation Then and Now

Robert H. Richards Award Lecture

Speaker: Richard H. Johnson

RJJIn 1976, I began my career operating 7-rows of 48-ft3 (1.4-m3) Galigher Agitair float cells in the old plant and 3-rows of 300-ft3 (8.5-m3) Wemco cells in the new plant. Within a five-year span, we started replacing some of the small Agitair cells with 2,000-ft3 (56.6-m3) Maxwell pre-rougher cells, followed by 500-ft3 (14.2-m3) Outokumpu units. I was thinking what a very progressive operation I had joined. Flash forward 10 years, the OK-1,350-ft3 (38-m3) and Wemco 1,500-ft3 (42.5-m3) cells were the new rave. Jump another 10 years, and the Wemco 3,000-ft3 (85-m3) were making a splash, and we were talking about even larger tank cells in our future. Another 10 years later, the tank cells arrive at 100 m3 and are jumping to a new standard of 300-m3 cells. What I would like to discuss today is the ongoing shift back to smaller, more efficient cells and how we got there.


What the MPD Can Learn from the Lead Battery

Milton E. Wadsworth Award Lecture

Speaker: Gus Van Weert

GVWThe automotive starter battery industry provides just about the second-best example of what’s going to happen to most industrial metals: near complete recycling! With only residual domestic mining, U.S. steelmakers already operate with 50% steel scrap. Concrete waste and bricks are attracting attention as cement replacement and wood is turned into char. What’s the utility of the MPD in this happening? The role of minerals?


Tuesday, February 27 | 7:00 am – 9:00 am


Impactful Leadership: The Importance of Confidence and Resilience 

Women of SME Breakfast*

You’ll have a positive impact on the industry, your company and your team when you lead with confidence and demonstrate resilience. These skills can take time to develop and may not come naturally, so how do you develop them? Join us at the 2024 Women of SME Breakfast where three trailblazing industry leaders will share their transformative journeys. Dive into the secrets of cultivating unshakable confidence and unwavering resilience—essential skills for supercharging your career.



Sam Houston

Mining Industry Business Executive, formerly with Rio Tinto and Eldorado Gold, and Entrepreneur/Principal with Strategist Solutions



Melissa Harmon

Group Head, Joint Ventures, Newmont


Sarah Loomis, Director of Worldwide Mining Technology Product Support, Training, Implementation & Worldwide Autonomous Operations, Caterpillar Inc.

Sarah Loomis has over 18 years of experience with Caterpillar Inc. supporting the global mining industry. She started with the company in 2005 and has since held roles with increasing responsibility and leadership in the field supporting the Cat dealer network and our mining customers. Her assignments have spanned Illinois, Eastern North America, Western Canada, and Denver, Colorado.

Sarah is currently the Director of Worldwide Mining Technology Product Support, Training, Implementation & Worldwide Autonomous Operations. She leads a worldwide team supporting all things Mining Technology and Autonomy. Prior to this position, she was the Mining Director for the Canada Region and the Autonomous Haulage Solutions Operations Manager for the Americas.

She holds a Business Administration Degree from Illinois State University and has completed the renowned Mining 360 Program through the University of Arizona.

Sarah has a passion for supporting diversity and women in the mining industry and has participated in SME for many years. In her free time, she enjoys golfing, snow and water skiing, river and deep-sea fishing and traveling the world with family and friends.

Casey Stazick

Materials Engineer, NIOSH, Spokane Mining Research Division


*Ticketed Event

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