2015 SME Annual Meeting & Exhibit

14 Feb 2015 - 18 February 2015

ERM: New Realities Facing the Mining Industry

ERM participated in the 2015 SME Annual Conference “Mining: Navigating the Global Waters” in Denver, Colorado, from February 15-18, 2015.

Our mining industry clients inform us that planning and permitting concerns, social license to operate, and developing closure strategies are some of the many challenges they face every day. ERM understands these challenges and their implications in today’s world. Having been deeply involved in the mining sector for many decades, ERM has successfully assisted clients in navigating through multiple industry fluctuations. As a result, we can help you develop a clear strategy and associated tactics for your operations to minimize risk and maintain performance.

Current trends we are seeing

Oversupply and weakening demand continue to drive commodity prices lower, leading to:

  • Continued reduction in new capital investment and Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) as the industry’s new mantra
  • Market share competition and aggressive unit cost reduction by streamlining operations and increasing productivity 
  • Divestment of under-performing and non-core assets to improve returns and relieve cost of debt

Risk-based approach to health, safety, environmental, and community (HSEC) management has shifted the focus of scarce resources to:

  • Confirm that material risks have been identified, assessed, and effectively managed to acceptable levels
  • Provide a material contribution to financial return through obtaining and maintaining your social license to operate and supporting increased productivity 
  • Continuously improve safety performance and the fight against fatalities 
  • Reassessment of closure plans in order to reduce long-term liabilities by developing innovative closure strategies and optimizing mining methods.

ERM at the conference 

Exhibiting at SME
Sunday, February 15 to Wednesday, February 18

ERM was in the Colorado Pavilion at the Exhibit Hall in Booth 1531. With many of our mining sector representatives at SME, we provided an in-depth understanding of our services to delegates looking to evaluate and establish new sites across the globe while also improving the efficiency and safety of existing operations.

Technical Session Presentations

In addition to our exhibit booth, ERM staff shared thought leadership at the technical sessions, encompassing our overall conference theme of “Mining as a Force for Good.”

  • Nicholas Schnee - Tuesday 2/17, 2:05 PM
    Reducing Closure Costs and Risks: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Mining and Rehabilitation Methods
  • Erik Carlso - Tuesday 2/17, 2:25 PM
    Sustainable Mine Planning: Development Planning Approaches to Create a Positive Legacy
  • Tania Barron and Nicholas Schnee, ERM; Peter Martell, Highland Valley Partnership - Tuesday 2/17, 4:05 PM
    Social Management Systems - The Missing Link 

Learn more about the Technical Program at SME

Why was ERM at SME 2015?

The Mining Sector is a key focus for ERM. Having served the Mining and Metals industry for over 40 years, we help our clients evaluate and establish new sites across the globe while also improving the efficiency and safety of existing operations.

ERM can add value to mining projects with a focus on overcoming the technical and non-technical issues needed to move a mine project from concept to reality. We excel at community engagement, local capacity building, assessment of project infrastructure alternatives, and environmental management. Clients seek ERM out for our regulatory expertise and strategy to successfully complete Environmental Assessments and develop programs to save money on the bottom line while reducing overall risks to the operations. We help obtain and maintain permits and licenses to operate – e.g., water license, exploration permits, land use permits, and can assist in any environmental and social aspects related to mine finance or capital projects.

Learn more about ERM's services


Colorado Convention Center
700 14th St. 
Denver, CO 80202

ERM Speakers

Nicholas Schnee
Mr. Nicholas Schnee is an ERM Partner in Seattle. His expertise is in designing, implementing, and auditing Environmental, Health, and Safety Management Systems that conform to international standards and assurance frameworks, including ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, Mining Association of Canada Toward Sustainable Mining, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Intl. Council of Mining and Metals assurance.

Erik Carlson
Mr.Erik Carlson is a certified Planner based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has extensive experience in the mining sector. His expertise is in managing land use permits, regulatory reviews, zoning ordinance, transportation forecasting, and FEMA flood and natural hazard mitigation planning.

Tania Barron
Ms. Tania Barron is a senior consultant with ERM’s Corporate Social Strategies team, based in Seattle. Her expertise in leading and conducting health and social impact assessments, stakeholder engagement and providing strategic advice and training to mining  clients on managing the social and sustainability risks of their operations.