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Expert Speakers

The SME Arizona Conference is proud to present speakers who are experts in their respective fields with a focus on industry developments, trends and innovations specific to the Southwest.

* Please check back often for updates on speakers.


Monday, December 4, 2023  |  8:30 AM – 9:00 AM | Arizona Ballroom Salons 6-7


Michael Henderson

Director, The Tailings Center, Colorado School of Mines




Recent Trends in Tailings Facilities Management Following Implementation of GISTM

With the continued scrutiny across the globe on mine operators and their lifecycle management of tailings and tailings facilities, the International Council of Mining & Metals (ICMM) created the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) in 2020. GISTM was developed “to prevent catastrophic failure and enhance the safety of mine tailings facilities”. All ICMM members committed to implement GISTM following its development. Those operators with “extreme” or “very high potential” consequences of failure were to be in conformance by August 2023, and others not in a state of “safe closure” are to be in conformance by August 2025. This presentation provides a broad overview of tailings facility management and the current state of the practice in light of GISTM. It will then focus on some best practices being implemented by various operators subject to the Standard.

About the Speaker:

Michael Henderson has spent a nearly 40-year career in the engineering and environmental aspects of mine wastes, including tailings. At Strata-Geo, Henderson is responsible for senior review and leadership on a wide range of engineering projects, including tailings impoundments, water storage reservoirs, heap leach facilities, and mine planning.  Henderson’s technical background includes design-engineering experience on projects in the US and overseas. Henderson has operations experience at several large mines, has conducted mine and energy research for the US Bureau of Mines and Department of Energy, and has provided expert witness testimony related to mining issues. Henderson currently serves as a Site Director for the Tailings Center, after stepping down from three years as the Center Director.


Monday, December 4, 2023  | 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM | Arizona Ballroom Salons 6-7


Krishna Parameswaran

Independent Consultant, formerly with ASARCO LLC




Sustainable Development and the Primary Copper Industry – The Coming Decades

Based on the classic Brundtland Commission definition of sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” the presentation discusses how metal mining can be compatible with sustainable development and how sustainability considerations have been applied in the primary copper industry, using examples of sustainable mining practices from past and current ASARCO LLC operations. 

The presentation then discusses how such considerations might be applied in the future, by examining the emerging trends and drivers that will influence the mining industry in the coming decades. The trends include: (1) declining ore grades; (2) staffing of  mines with the baby boom generation retiring; and (3) transitioning to a low carbon economy and (4) re-gaining stakeholder trust and license to operate.  Addressing these trends will require mining companies to subscribe to a purpose that goes beyond profits, develop coherent sustainable development strategies that are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and seek strategic collaboration with companies outside the industry. 

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