Mining Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award


Mining Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award

For outstanding achievement or contribution in the field of Mining Engineering

Origins & Conditions


This award was established to recognize outstanding achievement or contribution in the field of Mining Engineering. The Award, once known as the Underground Mining Society Award for Mining Engineering Achievement, now the Mining Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award, is sponsored by the Underground Mining Society.

The Mining Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award criteria and other information:

  1. Eligibility is open to mining engineers either as individuals or in a group, who are actively practicing in the discipline. Mining Engineering is to be broadly interpreted and will include both underground and surface mining environments. The Award will be granted to those engineers who have earned the recognition and respect of their peers for outstanding achievement in this area.
  2. The Award(s) will be made on an annual basis, without restriction to the number, but subject to the discretion of the Underground Mining Society Executive.
  3. The nominations will be forwarded to the Underground Mining Society Awards Committee for adjudication.
  4. The nominations must be accompanied by a brief statement indicating the reasons for the nomination.
  5. Adjudication of the award shall be made by the Awards Committee of the Underground Mining Society. This committee will consist of five (5) Members, including the Division Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and two (2) members of the Underground Mining Society selected by the executive. The incumbent Division Chairman will have the authority to designate alternates in the absence of any Members.
  6. The Awards Committee will refer the nominations to CIM Council not later than the last Council meeting held prior to the next Annual General Meeting of the Institute.
  7. No member of the Awards Committee shall be a party to the nomination of any candidate.
  8. The Award(s) will be presented at the local Branch level, by a Member of the Underground Mining Society Executive or in their absence, by the local Branch Chairman. In addition, the Award(s) will be verbally recognized by the CIM President at the CIM Awards Gala.


There is only one recipient of this award every year. This award is for both individual or team nominations.



Dr. Faramaz Hassani

Dr. Faramarz Hassani obtained his B. Eng. (1975) and PhD (1981) in mining engineering from Nottingham University, England. He has been at McGill University since 1983 and has spent many years in a leadership role. Dr. Hassani is presently the Webster Chair professor of mining engineering. His focus is in rock mechanics, mine and energy as well as mine backfill.

He was the co-founder and the chairman of the Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) and has been an advisor to a number of governments on their mining issues and consultant to many major mining companies around the globe. He is also the recipient of many patents and awards.

Dr. Hassani maintains strong interdisciplinary research and has supervised over 170 PhD and M. Eng. students and research scientists. He has contributed to over 350 scientific articles, books and reports.

He has been an active member of CIM for 34 years and is involved in many CIM national meetings as well as chairing many international conferences such as Mine Backfill in 1989 and 2007, the World Mining Congress 2013, as well as the International Society of Rock Mechanics Congress in 2015.


Dr. Rimas Pakalnis


Dr. Rimas Pakalnis, UBC Associate Professor Emeritus Mining Engineering, was born on October 28, 1956, in Val-d’Or, Quebec. He attended KLCVI in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, followed by McGill University for mining engineering and then the University of British Columbia (UBC) for his Masters and PhD. Over his life he taught hundreds of undergraduate students at UBC, and supervised dozens of Masters and PhD students. He was published extensively: in several journals including those for the CIM and SME, government publications for CANMET and the U.S. Bureau of Mines, and many conference proceedings globally.

Pakalnis had over 30 years of experience in underground mining. He was a designated expert in the field of rock mechanics by Canadian and U.S. federal agencies and consulted for a wide variety of mining operations throughout the world. His extensive research and practical experience guided his teaching at UBC for over 20 years and internationally, both at conferences and in the delivery of professional development training for mining operations.

Pakalnis was a great champion of empirical method for rock mechanics mine design, putting his conviction and skills into practice around the world. He worked for 169 mining companies across all continents, improving industry practice and keeping his fellow humans safe with his designs.

His legacy includes the many graduate students he supervised and mentored in the field of mining rock mechanics. He and his students developed many empirical design tools in rock mechanics that have become industry standards. He developed a reputation for promoting lifelong education and improving the safety and cost-effectiveness in the industry to be remembered for generations to come.  The Dr. Rimas Pakalnis Memorial Fund in Mining Engineering set up in his memory by family and friends (, will pay tribute to Rimas' life and career by supporting outstanding graduate engineering students at UBC.

Dr. Pakalnis passed away on Thursday October 18, 2018.