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The Society of Mining Professors Annual General Meeting and Conference is coming to UNSW Sydney

· 900 words, 5 min read

SOMP group meeting

The Society of Mining Professors (SOMP) represents the global academic community and is committed to make a significant contribution to the future of minerals-related disciplines. 

The main goal of SOMP is to guarantee the scientific, technical, academic and professional knowledge required to ensure a sustainable supply of minerals for the community. The Society facilitates information exchange, research and teaching partnerships and other collaborative activities among its members. 


The Secretary General of the SOMP, Prof Vladislav Kecojevic from West Virginia University, provides a brief history: 

Since its inception in 1990, during a special inaugural meeting of 20 professors, hosted by the Montanuniversität in Leoben, Austria, the Society functioned primarily as a European entity of senior academics in the mining engineering discipline. 

The Society is considered the natural successor of the historic Societät der Bergbaukunde, formed in the early 18th century and recognised as the world's first international scientific society. 

Today, after almost 35 years of operation, Society membership has increased to 314 representing 126 organisations in 49 countries. It is noteworthy to mention that Australia holds a prominent place within the Society, claiming the position of the second-largest national group of members, with 40 individuals contributing to the SOMP’s global discourse and initiatives.

SOMP has been a key player in fostering mining engineering and promoting the exchange of information, research, teaching, and collaborative efforts among its members. Recognised as the premier international organisation for minerals academics, SOMP has earned a reputation for exceptional networking; fostering collaborative and innovative academic endeavours; and generating an impact on the global mining industry and society at large.

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2024 Annual General Meeting

UNSW Sydney and AusIMM co-hosting SOMP’s 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference from 5-11 September 2024. The AGM directly follows the UNSW/AusIMM co-hosted International Future Mining Conference (2-4 September), giving SOMP delegates the chance to attend both events. 

SOMP has named UNSW Sydney Professor Serkan Saydam FAusIMM as the President for the 2023-2024 term. Professor Saydam is currently a Fellow Member of the AusIMM; Chair of the Mining Engineering at the School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, UNSW Sydney; President of the ISRM Commission on Planetary Rock Mechanics; Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) at UNSW; Deputy Secretary-General and Council Member of the SOMP, and founder and chair of the International Future Mining Conference.

The theme for this year’s SOMP AGM is Building tomorrow together through integrating technology and embracing diversity in mining. “The theme emphasises the importance of SOMP members’ participation as we collectively shape a future in mining that seamlessly links advanced technology with a diverse and inclusive cultural landscape within a sustainable framework,” said Professor Saydam. 

SOMP Committees

SOMP operates several active committees that organise a variety of initiatives for the annual gatherings. These committees of SOMP include the Education Committee, coordinated by Sandra Nowosad from Clausthal Technical University (Germany); Research, Development & Industry Committee, coordinated by Veiko Karu from Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia); Members Development Committee, coordinated by George Barakos MAusIMM from Curtin University and Natalija Pavlovic from University of Belgrade (Serbia); Capacity Building Committee, coordinated by Harmony Musiyarira from Technical University of Namibia and Jürgen Kretschmann from Hainan Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences (China); and the new committee named as the Mining & Minerals Awareness Committee, coordinated by from Emily Sarver from Virginia Tech (USA).

“Our members cultivate lifelong networking opportunities through our meetings. Our committees are dedicated to creating engaging and impactful activities for the annual events and organising webinars and projects throughout the year. Achievements to date include sharing innovative teaching and learning tools and technologies; staff exchanges and visits; capacity building in numerous developing regions; assisting curriculum development and teaching across multiple SOMP-affiliated universities; collaboration on international research projects; co-hosting conferences and events; and co-authoring journal and conference publications” said Professor Saydam.

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Regional Meetings 

SOMP also organises Regional Meetings to engage academics from various regions who are unable to travel to the annual meetings. These Regional Meetings are designed to ensure inclusivity and accessibility, allowing a broader participation base within the academic community. They serve as a platform for sharing knowledge, discussing regional issues, fostering collaboration, technology transfer opportunities and networking among peers with shared interests in mining engineering and related fields. The 13th Regional Meeting of the SOMP will be held at Chongqing University, China, from May 8 to 12, 2024. Associate Professor Li Liu will lead the meeting.


As the Society of Mining Professors (SOMP) Organising Committee prepares to convene its 34th Annual General Meeting at UNSW Sydney, it's evident that this gathering is not just an event but an inspiration for creating a discussion platform between global academia and industry. Professor Serkan Saydam captures the spirit of this event, noting, “I am very excited and honoured to be the President with SOMP leadership and representatives coming to Australia and UNSW second time. 

‘Professor Bruce Hebblewhite FAusIMM was the President in 2009 when I became a member of SOMP. Our annual meeting is crafted to include a dynamic collection of short presentations, panel discussions and engaging activities. These are designed not just for academic discourse but to forge a synthesis of ideas addressing the pressing challenges within the mining sector. Our goal is to 'Build Tomorrow Together.' With this vision, I extend a genuine invitation to industry professionals and AusIMM members to join and interact with global academia". 

Find out more about the SOMP Annual General Meeting and Conference. 

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