May 2011

Strength in numbers

CIM moves ahead with society reorganization

By Hartley Butler George

The secret to CIM’s longevity lies in its ability to adapt to members’ needs within the context of an ever-evolving industry. Today, at 113-years young, the organization is transforming the structure of its societies to revitalize the exchange of knowledge and best practices that has been the foundation of the Institute. At the CIM Council meeting held this past March, the Council approved the reorganization of three of its 12 existing societies.

The Metal Mining Society, Coal and Industrial Minerals Society and Oil Sands Society will be amalgamated to create two new groups: the Underground Mining Society and the Surface Mining Society. The Metal Mining Society is set to become the Underground Mining Society and the new Surface Mining Society will be formed from members of the Oil Sands, the Coal and Industrial Minerals and the Metal Mining societies that have an interest in surface mining. This reorganization will take effect after the CIM Council meeting in May.

Small changes, big impact

“The amalgamation is not about fewer societies, it is about a more logical structure to better support our members and their professional aspirations,” says CIM president Chris Twigge-Molecey. He went on to explain that within the three existing societies, several groups share technical, operational, equipment, and management issues, yet they are essentially competing against one another for the same demographic and addressing similar topics in conference sessions.

Both new societies will be comprised of several groups with communities and technical issues that are specific to their commodities and geographies. The new structure will incorporate a technical director for each of these commodity groups, such as coal, oil sands, diamonds and base/precious metals, who may collaborate to deliver relevant technical content at events and to CIM publications.

Incoming CIM president Chuck Edwards believes that this change will greatly benefit individual members. “By refocusing those who work in the same technical fields, members will have a chance to talk to others in their line of work,” he says. “They will learn new information and make more relevant contacts.”

CIM’s Society for Innovative Mining Technologies chair Zoltan Lukacs also believes that in turn, larger, more focused groups will deliver a more relevant program across the board, strengthening CIM’s conferences, meetings and technical content. In addition, the reorganization will relieve the competition for financial and volunteer resources, says Bruce Bernard, chair of the Coal and Industrial Minerals Society.

Gone but not forgotten

Metal Mining Society chair Tony George believes that in order to remain relevant and ensure longevity, organizations like CIM have to constantly evaluate how they represent and serve their members. “This changes with time and technology,” he says, “and the societies within the organization have to adapt accordingly.”

CIM remains sensitive to its societies’ individual legacies and is encouraging them to find ways to preserve their respective heritages. Going forward, the organization is working towards making such adjustments as easy as possible on its members.

The societies affected by this change can choose to dedicate their existing finances to a legacy fund, which would be in the form of a scholarship or an endowment administered by the Canadian Mining and Metallurgical Foundation. A proposal was also made by the Surface Mining Society for the creation of a “heritage” committee, which, if adopted, would work through CIM to preserve the history of the societies.

New beginnings

The next step will be to firm up the scope of activities for each society. During the May Council meeting, each society will present its new or updated executive structure, bylaws, funding plans and charter. Once approved, the new societies will become operational and represent the members and industry sectors they serve in a more relevant and efficient way.

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