The United Nation (UN) have highlighted that minerals are essential for human well-being and are fundamental for virtually all sectors of the economy. Most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN like the reduction of poverty and hunger or the improvement of industry, innovation and infrastructure amongst others cannot be reached without the contribution of the mining industry. Growing world population + increasing urbanization + increasing prosperity = more mining in the future. A very simple formula. Of course, mining in the future has to be smarter than today to realize and to enhance its benefits and to avoid economic, environmental or social risks. Mining is a complex business. It deserves an excellent education to cover all facets of the industry, no matter if it is artisanal small scale mining or digital large scale “mining 4.0”.
Because they enhance progress universities play a key role for a better world! They generate and transfer local knowledge and they exchange knowledge across the scientific community regionally, nationally and world-wide. The universities maintain a network of international relationships and thus a world-wide infrastructure that can be utilized for coping with the tasks of sustainable development. One of the most important networks in the academic mining world is the Society of Mining Professors, SOMP.
SOMP is a non-profit organization constituted in Leoben, Austria in the year 1990 and registered in Delft, the Netherlands. The purpose of SOMP is to promote the responsible practice of mining engineering as an engineering discipline, and to facilitate information exchange, research and teaching collaboration and other collaborative activities among its members. The mission of SOMP is to contribute towards a sustainable minerals supply for society. To accomplish its mission and achieve its purpose, SOMP holds an annual general and regional meetings, publishes into the international journal of Mining Technology, provides a variety of information on its website, and supports relevant international conferences and other academic activities.
SOMP offers an extremely effective informal international networking opportunity amongst mining academics around the world. This has led to numerous examples of: international research collaboration; staff exchange; shared education curriculum and research advice; shared teaching resources; capacity-building support in developing regions; postgraduate student exchange; benchmarking between universities etc. – plus wonderful friendships.
Friendships are important in a world where the rules of the game are changing rapidly. We are facing a redefinition of international political relations based on nationalism. We are concerned about the increasing acceptance of “fake news” in public. We as academics have to argue against this developments. We are a community of global responsibility. We follow a vision of a better mining for a better future of mankind.
It is an honor and privilege to serve as the President of SOMP for 2018-2019. I am very glad and deeply grateful to the Council and the members for electing me and providing me with this wonderful opportunity.
During my term the major events of SOMP will be three regional meetings in Indonesia, Germany, and South Africa. I am very happy to host the SOMP annual meeting at my university, Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola, in Bochum, Germany, from June 29th to July 5th, 2019. I am sure these meetings will foster our collaboration and innovation in research, teaching and learning practices and point out our relevance and impact for the global mining sector and society at large.
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kretschmann,
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Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola
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