2022 SME Minnesota conference off to a great start in mining country

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The 2022 SME Minnesota Conference is underway this week on the Range. And it’s the first time hundreds of mining engineers and geologists and more came together in person for this event in three years.

Folks were definitely excited that it was in the heart of mining country. "We are thrilled to be here, with industry partners, on the Iron Range," shared Allyz Kramer, from SEH. "We have a rich history in northern Minnesota, and this new event center is a great place for people to see eachother again and do business. We work in this critical industry, for Minnesota and the global supply of minerals."

Vendors had a great time seeing their customers again. Blake Kolquist, Marketing Director for GPM, Inc., said, "We’re really getting that engagement, versus working with people online or on Teams. It’s exciting, the energy is high."

He told us that even during the pandemic, they were pushing forward with innovation and even continuing to expand their product line of pumps.

Jim Kochevar from Cleveland-Cliffs was the main speaker at the opening session. The VP of Iron Ore Operations shared more about sustainability, as the steel industry looks to do their part.

"We have a lot of steel going into the greening of America," he said. He mentioned wind turbines, which need plated steel. Then there’s the steel that’s needed for electric vehicles, and then the charging stations for those vehicles.

Even the production side is seeing some progress. "We committed to purchasing solar power for our Dearborn mill," he said.

A few more highlights from Tuesday. The 2022 Mining Professional of the Year is Peter Clevenstine, who works for the DNR. The leaders of the SME tried to keep it a secret from him, so it was a surprise.

An update from the SME national president is that there will be a six episode series about mining jobs coming on Amazon Prime.

The conference continues on Wednesday.