The Genesis and Growth of SME
Before the Society of Mining Engineers (SME) was established as an independent Member Society of AIME in 1984, it was first an agglomeration of technical committees that formed into the AIME Mining Branch. Then in 1949, the three branches – Mining, Metals, and Petroleum – each became professional Divisions of AIME, thus creating SME.
Since the beginning, SME has repeatedly reorganized its structure to best represent its members and the society’s mission. However, the changes over the years have proven to be evolutionary, and the output has greatly benefited mining engineers. The constant change in the society is an expression of the dynamic technological advancements in the minerals and mining industry. To accommodate the growth of knowledge in the profession, it is vital SME provide resources to all engineers to exchange information and encourage professional collaboration.
Initially, SME was formed of the three divisions of the Mining Branch in 1949: Coal Division, Industrial Minerals Division, and Minerals Beneficiation Division. A fourth division – the Mining & Exploration Division – was formed in 1958. The role of each division in the society is to appoint committees responsible for programs, publications, and awards in their discipline. Committees continually undergo establishment and restructuring to ensure the society focuses on disciplines and subjects of interest to its members and the profession. In 1962, the fourth President of SME, A. B. Cummins, established the Planning Committee to ensure SME’s focus was to implement the objectives of the Institute. Within this committee, Cummins formed five working parties, and a sixth was formed in 1963. The Planning Committee led SME into new disciplines and a governing structure that enhanced the society’s growth and vigor.
SME is now composed of 8 divisions that exist uniquely to serve its members' diverse interests and career objectives.
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