Educational Short Courses

Short Courses are developed specifically for the minerals professional. These courses provide professional development that is part of the path to a successful career. Take advantage of the short courses offered in conjunction with the SME MN Conference and enhance your career trajectory.

Full and half-day courses available. All courses include:

  • Couse material
  • PDH credit
  • Coffee breaks


Would you like to register for short courses only?

Please click on Register above under a registration type. Once you are in the registration process, from the Registration Information drop down, select the appropriate type of registration (Standard, Senior, Student, Exhibit Hall Only, Short Course Only or Ticket Only). Continue through the registration process to complete your registration online.

Integrated Alternative Tailings Management

$125 per person | 8:00am - 4:30pm


This short course will provide the attendees with a basic understanding of the alternative technologies available for tailings management and methods used in the mining industry. As mining companies review current tailings management methods, there has been a renewed effort to evaluate alternative tailings methods and applications. Mining companies in Minnesota and across the world are increasingly looking to these technologies to reduce water consumption, tailings storage facility footprint, and risk. Methods for manufacturing, dewatering, transporting, and placing tailings will be discussed, including considerations for use of these technologies in cold climates. A summary of historic and current Minnesota iron ore tailings management practices, will also be discussed. The training will also include the recommended monitoring of tailings systems in the mining and mineral industries.

The course will cover the following specific aspects of tailings management in iron ore processing:

  1. Introduction and Background of mine tailings
  2. Minnesota Iron Ore Tailings History and Current Management (Phillip Solseng – Barr Engineering)
  3. Dewatering and separation techniques
    1. Slurry, thickened, paste (surface and backfill), and filtered tailings
    2. Advantages and disadvantages
    3. Approximate Capital and Operating Costs
  4. Material and slurry characterization
    1. Rheology
    2. Flow behavior
    3. Significant variables
    4. Modeling
  5. Plant design and testing
  6. Tailings transportation
    1. Surface
    2. Underground
  7. Tailings placement
  8. Instrumentation and monitoring
  9. Water handling
  10. Environmental Considerations
  11. Climatic Considerations


Nils Steward – Slurry/Tailings Expert WEIR Minerals, Nils is currently the General Manager of the Weir Technical Centre located in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. During the 30 years prior to becoming part of Weir Minerals he has held several executive positions as both a researcher and a consultant as well as operating his own global company in the areas of mine backfill and slurry pipeline design.

Phillip Solseng Barr Engineering, Since joining the firm in 1972, Philip Solseng has been principal in charge and design engineer for geotechnical engineering projects involving dams, foundations, excavations, slope stability, groundwater/seepage, waste piles, and reclamation. He has direct and extensive experience in geotechnical investigation and analysis, design, plans and specifications, and construction review. He has provided expert testimony, technical reports, and professional presentations related to geotechnical, structural, soils, and groundwater issues.


40 Years of DNR Research: Mining and the Environment

$75 per person | 12:30pm - 4:30pm


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been conducting research related to the environmental effects of mining for over 40 years. This body of work has uniquely positioned the DNR with a foundation of knowledge that can be drawn upon for technical aspects of the environmental review and mine permitting responsibilities with which the department is charged. This course will provide a refresher of key geochemical concepts and test methods typically needed for mining projects. The course will then review the history of DNR research and provide case study examples of how the information is used.


Zach Wenz is an Environmental Research Scientist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Lands and Minerals Division. He has been with the DNR for over 7 years working primarily on the scientific review of documents submitted for environmental impact statements and mine permit applications as well as designing and conducting environmental research related to mining. Prior to joining the DNR he studied a variety of different ore deposit types as a student and professional and worked as a consultant in the oil and mineral exploration fields. He received a B.S. degree in geology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a M.S. degree in geology from the University of Alaska, and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Missouri.

Steve Koski is a Research Scientist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Lands and Minerals Division in Hibbing, MN. He has been with the DNR for over 4 years working in the field, laboratory, and at the field research site while performing environmental research related to mining. Before joining the DNR he studied organic synthesis, chromatography, and was a research assistant at the Natural Resources Research Institute working on both peat and water resource projects. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Mike Olson is a Mineland Reclamation Specialist Senior with the MN Department of Natural Resources, Lands and Minerals Division. During his 12 years with the DNR he has worked on environmental review and permitting for both ferrous and nonferrous mining projects in Minnesota and worked in the cooperative environmental research group with a focus on mine waste characterization. He received Bachelor of Science degrees in geology and geophysics from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Megan Kelly has been with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Lands and Minerals Division as a Research Scientist since 2012. Her work at the DNR involves the design and implementation of environmental research related to mining, applying her background in isotope systems to study the source, transport, and fate of geochemical constituents in mine waters. She also participates in the scientific review of mine permitting projects. Megan received her bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental science from Macalester College, and her Ph.D. in geology from the University of Minnesota.

Surface Mining Applications

$75 per person | 12:30pm - 4:30pm


This course will give you an overall picture of key mining applications and operations. The material covered will be relevant to any mining operation regardless of the manufacturer of the equipment. Upon completion, you will be able to describe the operations of a mine site and identify the machine applications along with Best Practice to reduce your mining costs. Registration will include a copy of the CAT “A Reference Guide to Surface Mining Applications” pocket book.


Kent Clifton is a Senior Market Professional for Caterpillar Global Mining based in Peoria Illinois. Prior to joining Caterpillar in Tucson, Arizona in 1991, he worked for 2 Caterpillar Dealers for 12 years working in Colorado and Nebraska. His career with Caterpillar started as a product Demonstrator/Operator teaching operators around the world how to get more from their Caterpillar equipment. This led him to Joliet, Illinois where he was the Product Development Operator working with customers, dealers and engineers to develop the 5000 Series Hydraulic Mining Shovels, 994 Wheel Loader and the 24H Motor grader. Once these products were developed he again worked with customers on mine site efficiency, helping drive out inefficiencies and further reducing their Cost per Ton. Kent has performed these activities all over the world while also living in Australia for several years to directly serve this key mining region.

Earn Professional Development Hours (PDHs)

For each technical session and short course you attend, you can earn Professional Development Hours. Each contact hour of professional development equals one PDH. Please check with your state board(s) for their criteria to be certain this meets the required needs. For each full day course, a participant is eligible to receive 7 PDH credits. For each half day course, a participant is eligible to receive 3 PDH credits. For additional questions regarding professional development hours for SME Minnesota Conference Short Courses, please email Tara Davis at

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