Ground control is one of the basic engineering sciences in mining operations, and it is particularly important to underground operations. Syd S. Peng, the conference’s founder, recognized the importance of ground control early in his career, dating back to his initial employment with the U.S. Bureau of Mines and continuing as he rose in prominence to Professor and Department Chair of Mining Engineering at West Virginia University (WVU).

As a special tribute to Professor Peng at this year’s anniversary event, George Williams, a locally renowned artist from the Pittsburgh area, was brought in to paint his portrait. Williams did three mining-themed paintings during the conference’s picnic, and the highlight was Professor Peng’s portrait. The other two paintings will be donated: one to the Royce J. and Caroline B. Watts Mining Museum at WVU and the other to a mining conference, where it will be auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting education and training for the mining community.

During the 30-year history of the conference, attendance has grown from less than 100 in the earliest years to more than 300 during the 30th anniversary event this year. Attendees of this year’s event included consultants and researchers, as well as representatives from universities, government regulators, manufacturers, mine operators, and support service providers for the mining industry. As in past years, the international and domestic community was well-represented with attendees from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The conference included attendees from 22 U.S. states.

When looking back at the past 30 years of research presented at the conference, one can find every topic of interest for ground control in mining, every technology developed, every advance in the science, and virtually every researcher in the field. The conference proceedings from the past 30 years contain an encyclopedia of ground control technology for the mining community. Information on the conference proceedings is available on the conference website. The Organizing Committee has already initiated plans for next year’s event, and information will be available on the website as plans are finalized. Next year’s conference will be held at Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa in Morgantown, W.Va., from July 31-August 2, 2012. Mark your calendars now, and begin thinking about topics for your abstract submissions. The conference website can be accessed at