Conference chairman associate professor Naj Aziz said the number of papers, speakers and delegates from 15 foreign countries had made the conference a recognised event since its beginning in 1998.
Aziz also presented the conference’s inaugural award to Bob Kininmonth for his “outstanding contribution to the mine safety science and technology of Australian mining”
“The online papers are increasingly accessed from different corners of the world, thanks to the University of Wollongong research online initiative http://ro.uow.edu.au/coal,” Aziz said.
“This pioneering online access initiative has now being followed by several other mining conferences.
“The steady increase in the delegate participation at the conference is a welcome recognition of its importance by the industry. This is being acknowledged by the increasing number of paper contributions, sponsorships and exhibitors.”
The conference organising committee recognised Kininmonth’s years of achievements in the mining industry in the Illawarra and in the industry generally.
Kininmonth graduated from the University of Otago (New Zealand) with a bachelor of mining engineering degree.
He was employed in England, New Zealand and Australia before joining the then ICI (now Orica), as an explosives field engineer.
He eventually left ICI to join the Inspectorate of the New South Wales Department of Mines.
Kininmonth has been an active member of the Melbourne, Sydney and Illawarra Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) branches, and spent many years on the Illawarra branch committee and a period as branch chair.
He is the chair of the Illawarra branch heritage sub-committee, ensuring the retention and documentation of coal mining history in the region, as well as being the technical adviser for the recently released Beneath Black Skies DVD documentary.
Kininmonth is also the chair of the Illawarra gas and coal outburst committee.
With the Australian Coal Operators’ Conference, Kininmonth has been a member of the organising committee, a member of the editorial board and reviewer of papers since 2001.
He was also the principal reviewer of papers for the international application of computers in the minerals industry symposium held in Wollongong, 2011.
Kininmonth has received both the AusIMM branch service award and the institute service award for his contributions to safety and coal mining practice in the Illawarra region and throughout Australia.
The Pike River disaster is now recognised as having a significant impact on issues related to safe mining under hazardous conditions, Aziz said.
“This disaster, as tragic as it was, has brought out a number of important issues, with consequences for future mining practices with increased emphasis to miner safety and management responsibility. Thus the allocation of a special technical session deserves its place at this conference.”