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Mining Conference to host 35th year in Morgantown

Portrait of Syd Peng.

Syd Peng.


The International Conference on Ground Control in Mining will celebrate its 35th year on July 26-28, in Morgantown.

The conference, founded by West Virginia University Charles E. Lawall Chair in Mining Engineering Emeritus Syd Peng, was created to provide a forum to promote closer communication among researchers, consultants, regulators, manufacturers and mine operators to expedite solutions to ground control problems, which covers roof, rib and floor controls and strata movement through an entire mine.

“When I started my mining research career in 1974, I noticed that many practitioners did not know what ground control technology was available, and conversely, many research results were not realistic as the practitioners found out from application experience,” said Peng, a member of the National Academy of Engineering. “I also found that equipment played a key role in mine design, that most ground control products in use were developed by equipment manufacturers and that any new products must be approved by the regulatory agencies before being used in the mines. Therefore, in order to advance state‐of‐the‐art ground control, a forum was urgently needed so researchers, practitioners, equipment manufacturers and government regulators could meet regularly and exchange information in a timely manner.”

The three‐day conference has grown over its history, with more than 300 people attending from across the United States, Europe, Australia, South America, China, Mexico and Africa. All told, attendees from 36 countries have made the trek to attend the event, which has been held in Morgantown for 32 of its 35 years, and more than 1,500 papers have been published on ground control topics as a result of conference.

This year’s discussion topics include void fill and support techniques, characteristics of pumpable roof supports, pillar stability and roof bolting techniques and machinery. Industry stakeholders Minova, BASF Construction Chemicals, Jennmar Corporation, Agapito Associates, Inc., DSI Underground Americas, Burrell Mining Products Inc., Heintzmann Inc., J.H. Fletcher & Co., Rosebud Mining and Geobrugg North America, LLC, will sponsor portions of the event.

“Through this conference, I believe we have firmly established the role of ground control in mine design and created a wider understanding of ground control problems, resulting in more appropriate and lasting solutions,” said Peng. “We have elevated ground control to be recognized as a major discipline in mining operations. There are still many challenges ahead, and we must continue to combine theory and practice to improve.”

In 2017, management of the conference will transfer to the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, but the event will remain in Morgantown. SME, established in 1871, is the non‐profit professional society for mining engineers, headquartered in Denver, Colorado.



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