CIM Distinguished Lecturers


CIM Distinguished Lecturers

For accomplishments in scientific, technical, management or educational activities related to the minerals industry

Origins & Conditions (*NEW* nomination requirements for 2023-2024)


Beginning in 2021, the Awards Committee undertook a comprehensive review of the Distinguished Lecturer Award including a focus on the Quality of the Award. Please note the *NEW* nomination requirements for 2023-2024 below:

CIM Distinguished Lecturers are chosen from the CIM membership on the basis of their accomplishments in scientific, technical, management or educational activities related to the minerals industry, and invited to speak at CIM Branch and Student Chapter meetings across the country.

The CIM Distinguished Lecturers Award criteria and other information:

  1. Persons shall be selected as CIM Distinguished Lecturers on the basis of their distinguished service and accomplishments in scientific, technical or administrative activities related to the minerals industries.
  2. The candidate must have experience speaking to diverse audiences & the theme, content and message must reach a wide target audience within the diversity of CIM.
  3. The nomination must be made by a CIM Member and must be supported by three letters of recommendation (these do not have to be from CIM Members). The nomination form captures information regarding the title, abstract (100-400 words), theme, key messages, target audience and relevance of the lecture to the Mining & Minerals Industry in Canada.
  4. The nominations shall be submitted to a special CIM Distinguished Lecturers Selection Committee under the chairmanship of the CIM President-Elect with Awards Standing Committee Members.
  5. The Committee shall select the recipients, confirm their willingness to accept the honour and dedicate their time to give the Lectures, and inform the CIM Chief Executive Officer prior to the last meeting of Council preceding the Annual General Meeting.
  6. Not more than four (4) Distinguished Lecturers shall be selected in any Council year. Efforts will be made to have one of the Distinguished Lecturers able to present in French.
  7. The CIM Distinguished Lecturers are expected to give their lectures across the country as requested by CIM Branches, Technical Societies and Student Chapters. Universities may also request a lecture.
  8. In the case where the Distinguished Lecturer’s employer or the nominating body is unable to cover the expenses for a lecture, CIM National will cover the cost of air travel while the requesting body will cover local expenses (accommodation, transportation, etc.)


This award is solely for individual nominations (no teams). There will be one lecture per Distinguished Lecturer.



James Finch

James Finch was a professor in the department of mining and materials engineering at McGill University from 1973-2014. Holding a succession of industrial research chairs, he supervised 50 PhDs, authored 400 + articles, and co-authored two books: Column Flotation (1990) and the 8th Edition of Wills’ Mineral Processing Technology (2016). He is a recipient of the Gaudin Award (SME), the Alcan Award, the Falconbridge Innovation Award, the Leo Derikx Synergy Award for Innovation (NSERC), and the IMPC Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a two-time recipient of the CIM Distinguished Lecturer and the CMP Best Presentation Award. A conference in his honour was held in Sudbury in 2009, and he was general chair of the XXVIII IMPC held in Québec City in 2016. He is a CIM Fellow and in 2002 was elected to the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada. He retired in 2014 as the Gerald G. Hatch Emeritus Professor in mining and metallurgical engineering. 


Caius Priscu

Dr. Caius Priscu is co-founder and principal geotechnical engineer with Priscu and Associates Consulting Engineers Inc., based in West Vancouver, BC, Canada. He has over 30 years of experience as a contractor, consultant, and dam owner in the field of geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering related to the mining and water resources industries on five continents. His specialty is dam engineering, dam safety, risk management, and governance of both tailings storage facilities and water retaining dams. He has been a tireless volunteer and true supporter of many technical not-for-profit organizations, including the Canadian Dam Association (CDA), The Mining Association of Canada (MAC), the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (CIM), the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), the International Council for Mining and Metals (ICMM) Tailings Working Group, in London, UK, and the Chilean National Committee on Large Dams (ICOLD Chile) in Santiago, Chile among other.  He is the recipient of the CDA 2023 Peter Halliday Award for Service, and an Honorary Member of both the Romanian National Committee on Large Dams (ROCOLD), as well at the Technical Sciences Academy of Romania. He holds a PhD in Mining Engineering from McGill University and is a registered Professional Engineer in B.C. 

Abstract: Tailings Management is about Water Management 

Effective and safe management of tailings storage facilities (TSFs) is a key topic of discussion in the mining industry today, gaining increased recognition across the world. While the dam owners are currently focussing on standards implementation, guidance development, and novel tools to use in this practice area, the industry sometimes forgets to go back to basics and the key practical aspects that truly keep our TSFs safe. 

One common denominator for most TSF failures in the last four decades has been inadequate water management. Whether it was pond location control, excessive seepage, high phreatic surfaces in the dams, poor seasonal planning or monitoring, or uncontrolled groundwater issues that were not considered in design, water has been at the core of many of such unfortunate events. This lecture will discuss in detail some of these failures and how water was the “real culprit” in most cases. It will also take a hard look at (and bust) some myths, that somehow found a place in tailings practice, that have no impact in ensuring resilience and robustness of TSFs when managing upset water conditions. 

Member Spotlight

Aasin Mehmud, Director, International Mining at Caterpillar Financial

CIM has kept me connected with my mining family. People is the most important part of Caterpillar’s business, so getting our customers solutions is our goal. CIM is that bridge to our relationships with our customers and our friends and family in the industry.