Published On: 11/24/2015

Mining Industry Gathers to Honor Outstanding Member

St. Barbara’s Day Award to be presented at holiday gathering

The 2013 St. Barbara’s Day Holiday Party will be jointly hosted by the Colorado Mining Association (CMA), the Denver Gold Group (DGG) and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME). During this annual evening of entertainment and camaraderie, members of the mining and minerals industry gather to pay homage to one of their colleagues with the presentation of the St. Barbara’s Day Award. This year’s honoree is Ms. Barbara A. Filas.

“For the past 25 years the mining community in Denver has honored one individual for outstanding contributions to mining over a career or lifetime,” said CMA President Stuart A. Sanderson. “Thus, the honor is a very special one, and Barb Filas is a truly well-qualified candidate, deserving of the honor named after the patron saint of mining.”

Ms. Filas is a registered professional mining engineer with more than three decades of experience in the industry. She is a past president of SME (the first woman to hold that position), former president of Geovic Mining, executive vice president of corporate development for Geovic and former president of Knight Piésold consulting engineers and environmental scientists.

  • When: 5-7 pm, Wednesday, 11 December 2013

  • Where: Ritz Carlton, 1881 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80202

  • Reservations: Contact the Denver Gold Group at 303-825-3368

According to legend, St. Barbara was the daughter of a wealthy merchant who lived in Asia Minor around 300 AD. Although she was confined to a tower and isolated whenever her father was away on business, Barbara nevertheless was introduced to Christianity by one of her tutors. Enraged that his daughter had rejected his pagan gods and was baptized into the Christian faith, he turned her over to the Roman authorities. They punished her, but her wounds healed immediately. Still overwhelmed by rage, the merchant killed his daughter with his own sword, but was immediately struck and killed by a bolt of lightning.

The legend of the lightning bolt caused her to be regarded as the patron saint in time of danger from thunderstorms, fires and sudden death. Miners prayed to her that she might protect them during their sojourn underground, and especially against accidents from the use of explosives. St. Barbara became the patron saint of a variety of craftsmen, not just miners and geologists, but firefighters and artillerymen as well. 

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