Published On: 11/24/2015

Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference to be held in New Orleans, LA

Post-Hurricane Katrina projects to be highlighted

Registration is now open for the Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference (RETC) sponsored by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME). Held every two years, RETC is the renowned international forum for the exchange and dissemination of developments and advances in underground construction. The conference will be held June 7-10, 2015 at the Sheraton New Orleans. More than 1,400 registrants from 30 countries will be attending the conference to observe the latest innovations in equipment and advancing technologies. Nearly 400 industry leaders and practitioners from around the world have submitted 113 papers, with a proceedings that will allow attendees to learn how to put these best practices into place.

“RETC is known for timely, quality programming,” said SME Executive Director David L. Kanagy. “Issues covered in the conference provide innovative solutions to the unique challenges associated with the tunneling and underground construction industries.”

Short courses in shaft construction and design, underground blasting and risk management, and grouting in underground construction will explore case histories and state-of-the-art technology. Technical programs will examine diverse issues including:

  • tunnel safety

  • design and planning

  • difficult ground

  • ground support

  • hard rock tunneling

  • pressure face TBM case histories

  • cavern and large spans

A special field trip for attendees will be a visit to the premier project associated with post-Hurricane Katrina work in New Orleans – the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps (PCCP) Project. The PCCP Project includes building three permanent structures to block future hurricane storm surges to New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain.

In addition to the programming, RETC will award scholarships for selected students with full registration, lodging and airfare to attend the conference. The RETC Executive Committee Scholarships of approximately $2,500 each will be awarded to promising students seeking to develop their skills in the tunneling industry. For more information and to register for the conference, go to

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