Beyond 37th APCOM
Do you remember the first APCOM symposium you attended? The sense of anticipation? The thrill and the excitement of leaving your everyday workplace and arriving someplace new?
I do. For me, that experience was over 40 years ago when I was inducted into the APCOM community by my mentor, Dr. R.V. Ramani of Pennsylvania State University. Yet whether we discuss the APCOM symposiums of forty years ago or those of today, our APCOM community has consistently provided a stimulating environment with professors doing cutting-edge research, graduate students looking to learn and change the world, and industry leaders looking for a new way to optimize their operations. With increasing challenges of lower grade ore bodies, more complex mineralogy, water availability, rising power costs and stricter environmental regulations, the need to optimize existing or new mining operations is a constant. A new faculty member or graduate student might sit next to a world-class authority at the Application of Operation Research and Computer in the Mineral Industry (APCOM) forum. Rather than building silos of experience and knowledge, all attendees are given the chance to mingle and exchange ideas at our numerous technical sessions, between technical sessions, or while socializing afterhours. Regardless of background or credentials, the goal is to ensure that APCOM continues to be a place where attendees are free to talk about algorithms, compare simulation results, and hopefully leave thinking “that was worth my time!”
For the past 40 years, APCOM has been worth my time, first as an attendee and now as a volunteer organizer. Years ago, my mentor urged me to stay involved; he insisted that participation with this group of people, the research being shared within this forum would end up being life-changing in my career. I’m pleased to say that he was right. Yet whether my mentor’s vision of APCOM was truly there to discover is not the key question; instead, whether that vision is fulfilled for the next generation is what we gather together for today. It is my hope that our collective effort ensures that APCOM continues to be a place that affords many opportunities to build on our strengths, trusts, innovation and collaboration, and that it continues to foster a culture of engagement. While the forum itself may only be a few days every other year, fostering these values between sessions should be part and parcel of life ‘beyond APCOM’.
The University of Alaska, in cooperation with the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME), is hosting the 37th APCOM in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fairbanks is best known as the “Golden Heart” city of Alaska. We have taken our commitments seriously and have put together a great technical program. Over one hundred peer-reviewed technical papers are scheduled be presented during the symposium. Every native culture in North America has myths and legends, many of them are tributes to wisdom and strength. We have put together Alaska Native cultural programs that may mean something to you. And if they do, it would make an impression you will never forget.
Every few decades, APCOM organizers recognize a selected few of its most celebrated contributors as “APCOM Pioneers”, our highest honor, and a handful with the APCOM Recognition Award for their decades of contribution to APCOM.
The APCOM Recognition Awards were last presented at the 21st APCOM, in Las Vegas, February 1989. At the 37th APCOM Awards Banquet this year in Fairbanks, Alaska, we will be honoring several APCOM Pioneers for their decades of contributions. We invite you to learn about our legends of APCOM. Come to Fairbanks, relax and enjoy few days in the city of Golden Heart, and the city of mid-night sun, renew your sense of adventure and join your colleagues at the 2015 APCOM.
Finally, this proceeding volume is truly the result of hard work of all my graduate and post-graduate students. As such, I dedicate the 37th APCOM proceedings to my mentor, Dr. Raja V. Ramani, and to all my past, present, and future graduate and post-graduate students I had the privilege to mentor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
I invite you to join us this year as we celebrate the 50th year of APCOM!
Sukumar Bandopadhyay, PhD., P.E.
Professor of Mining Engineering
University of Alaska Fairbanks
& Chairman, 37th. APCOM