Published On: 11/24/2015

Around the globe, mining increasingly a young person’s career choice

Young people across the United States and around the world are making choices about the educational paths that will best serve them in life and their career. Increasingly, students are choosing mining as their career choice. This is reflected in the growth in the number of student chapters and student members in SME – the mining industry’s premier professional society. Student chapters of SME offer the first opportunity for a young person to engage in the world of mining outside of the classroom.

SME has a long history of supporting emerging leaders of the mining industry through professional development programs offered by SME and its student chapters. Through their membership, a student’s opportunities to be involved with industry professionals and the potential for training and skills development are unprecedented. As the world’s demand for products and services increases, so does the mining industry’s need for a qualified technical workforce to develop and operate global mining projects.

The number of SME’s international student chapters has doubled from 6 in 2008 to 12 in 2013. Furthermore, the Society experienced a 63% increase in student membership during that time. The increase of overall U.S. and international SME student chapters from 22 to 32 during that same time period indicates the benefits of becoming a member of SME are being sought by upcoming mining professionals throughout the world. Membership in SME establishes a personal and professional network that lasts throughout the participant’s career. Offered for comparison:

  • 2008: 22 U.S. and international student chapters – 1,024 total student members

  • 2013: 32 U.S. and international student chapters – 1,615 total student members


“The exceptional growth in the numbers of student members can be attributed to the global demand for mining professionals,” said SME Executive Director David L. Kanagy. “Through dedicated marketing and cultivating relationships with institutes of higher learning worldwide, we have been able to offer opportunities to more students through SME programs which help them develop the skills that will be sought after by potential employers.”

In addition to becoming part of an international network of mentors who are the foremost technology experts, leaders and educators in the minerals industry, students enjoy full access to SME’s global mining and minerals library: This online research tool places thousands of articles, technical papers, books and other documents from the worldwide mining community at their fingertips. Dozens of scholarships totaling over $416,000 were awarded in 2012 to SME student members to help them advance in their chosen careers in the mining industry. 

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) is a professional society (nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation) whose more than 15,000 membership represents all professionals serving the minerals industry in more than 100 countries. SME members include engineers, geologists, metallurgists, educators, students and researchers. SME advances the worldwide mining and underground construction community through information exchange and professional development. SME's staff is located in Englewood, Colorado.

For more information contact John Hayden, Deputy Executive Director - Public Affairs and Government Relations, at (303) 948-4250 or