Check out the latest drilling industry events and happenings, straight from the desk ofND's editor.

Useful By-products of Mining

A joint project between Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Western Australian Department of Water investigated a range of mining industry by-product materials, which currently are unused, to determine whether they could instead be used to filter nutrients from natural waters or to treat wastewater that would otherwise be discarded.

CSIRO project leader, Grant Douglas, says the use of abundant, low-cost by-product materials generated from mineral processing offers a potentially cost-effective and environmentally-friendly strategy for the removal of nutrients. “The largely unexploited by-product materials we generate could be developed as ‘designer’ contaminant adsorbents,” Douglas maintains.

After assessing a range of potentially suitable by-products to determine their efficacy in removing nutrients or reducing acidity, a four-year field trial was conducted with a potentially suitable by-product. The by-product was added to soil at a turf farm, and was shown to remove 97 percent of phosphorus, and 82 percent of nitrogen, from the shallow ground waters. Adding the by-product also reduced water use, and improved turf health.

“This is good news,” says Douglas. “It could lead to a substantial reduction in the key nutrients that eventually contribute to algal blooms. The productive use of the by-products also has the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of mining and mineral processing industries by lowering by-product stockpiles.”

The potential benefits of this project could be realized anywhere in the world where similar by-product materials are produced and similar water management issues exist. The research is being delivered through CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship for the Water Foundation of Western Australia, which promotes water-related research and development activities within Western Australia.

Schramm Steps Up - Again

The Schramm Inc. Endowed Scholarship will provide a permanent source of financial support for students enrolled full time in Penn College’s associate-degree major in heavy construction equipment technology: technician emphasis.

Schramm, based in West Chester, Pa., manufacturers and supplies specialized mobile hydraulic drilling rigs for a wide range of applications in the drilling industry worldwide, and has identified heavy equipment field service technicians as one of its greatest hiring needs.

Schramm is a regular visitor to the college’s career fairs, and currently employs eight Penn College graduates. In addition to the new endowed scholarship, since 2006, Schramm has provided annual funding for another scholarship at Penn College that makes awards to students in several other majors that are in high demand at the firm.

“The Penn College graduates that we have hired demonstrate initiative and solid technical skills,” notes Ed Breiner, Schramm’s CEO and president. “And most importantly, they arrive on the first day with a great work ethic.”

“We’re grateful for the very positive relationship we have with Schramm,” says Debra Miller, director of corporate relations at Penn College. “The company’s broad support and interest in our students includes providing scholarships, internships, technical expertise, equipment demonstrations and other educational opportunities, as well as recruiting our students to become employees after graduation.”

DFI Happenings

Being held in conjunction with GeoFrontiers 2011, will be a Deep Foundations Institute-sponsored “Helical Foundations and Tiebacks Seminar.” The event is Mar. 17 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

The 4th International Conference on Grouting and Deep Mixing takes place Feb. 15-18, 2012 at the Marriott New Orleans. This conference, organized by the International Conference Organization for Grouting Inc. and the Deep Foundations Institute, addresses the state-of-practice and state-of-the-art in grouting technology.

Get all the details for these significant educational opportunities by visiting, or by calling 973-423-4030.

Explosives and Blasting Conference

Taking in the 37th Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique: Cort and Christy Potter (Adams Contracting, Payson, Ariz.) are flanked by Rockmore International’s Ronnie Edwards and Scott Bevens. A full recap of the event, which is sponsored by the International Society of Explosive Engineers (ISEE), will appear in next month’s issue.

And while we’re on the topic of the ICEE and next month, the group is holding its “Best in the West Drill and Blast Conference,” Apr. 27-29, in Spearfish, S.D. Learn all you need to know by calling the always-glad-to-be-able-to-help-you folks reachable at 605-332-7211.