Educational Short Courses

Short Courses are developed specifically for the minerals professional. These courses provide professional development that is part of the path to a successful career. Take advantage of the short courses offered in conjunction with the SME MN Conference and enhance your career trajectory.

All courses include:

  • Course material
  • Coffee breaks


Monday, April 17th

12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Price: $80


Environmental – Hardrock Mine Permitting in the Upper Midwest – A Comparative Study of Permitted Projects

This course will provide an overview of local, state, and federal permitting requirements in the U.S. and Canada specific to mining, and subsequent permitting efforts for several significant base and precious metals projects within, and adjacent to Minnesota. Projects to be covered include Lundin Mining’s Eagle Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which began production in 2014, and the Twin Metals Minnesota project in northeastern Minnesota. The speakers will attempt to draw comparisons and contrasts between jurisdictions and projects. Attendees can expect to gain a more in-depth understanding of hard rock mining permitting requirements, pitfalls to avoid, and ultimately pathways to successful permitting efforts.

Dennis Donohue, Warner Norcross & Judd and Kris Benusa, Manager of Environmental Studies, Twin Metals Minnesota

Bio: Dennis Donohue practices at the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd in the area of environmental law, including mining and resource development. Mr. Donohue has unique experience in applying his expertise in the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, wetlands and mine permitting to help companies obtain the regulatory and social licenses needed to successfully develop sustainable resource development projects. In addition, Mr. Donohue's environmental permitting and enforcement experience across a range of regulatory programs, including programs governing remediation of contaminated property and sediments, enables him to assist clients in managing a broad spectrum of environmental risk, transactional due diligence and compliance issues.


Bio: Kris Benusa is the Manager of Environmental Studies for Twin Metals Minnesota and has been working in the mining industry for more than a decade in operational, corporate management, and project development roles. He has worked on gold, iron, silica sand, and copper- nickel projects for both underground and open-pit operations. His primary focus has been in geology and environment topic areas. Most recently, Kris was charged with leading the implementation of environmental studies, as well as participating in agency engagement, necessary to support state and federal EIS’s for the Twin Metals Project.


Mine/Exploration – Blasting and Mining Near Infrastructure and Communities

Course Summary:

  • Community perception of blasting in mining applications (10 minutes)
  • Measurement techniques and recording and reporting processes (20 minutes)
  • Blast design for ground vibration reduction (1 hour)
    • Diameter, burden, spacing, explosive selection, timing, etc.
    • Movement
  • Blast design for air overpressure reduction (30 minutes)
    • Diameter, burden, spacing, explosive selection, timing, etc.
    • Movement
  • Break (10 minutes)
  • Example Design (35 minutes)
  • Benefits and challenges of signature hole analysis (30 minutes)
  • Designed blasting pattern vs actual – it only takes one hole to cause problems (15 minutes)
  • Field verification of blast implementation (30 minutes)
  • Questions/Summary (10 minutes)



Travis Davidsavor, Vice President, Principal, Senior Geotechnical Engineer, and Blasting Engineer, Barr Engineering Co.

Bio: Travis Davidsavor is a Vice President, Principal, Senior Geotechnical Engineer, and Blasting Engineer at Barr Engineering Co in Duluth, Minnesota. In addition to that full time job, Travis is also an adjunct faculty member in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Travis earned his BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University where his research focused on studying the effects of blasting on recently placed concrete. He is a licensed professional engineer in 14 states and two Canadian provinces and provides consulting engineering services in rock blasting design, highwall stability, vibration mitigation, high-consequence blasting, and vibration monitoring. He serves the mining, pipeline, power, and construction industries across the United States with his blasting and vibration experiences. Travis was elected to the ISEE Board in 2020 and chairs the Emerging Professionals Section and served on the Urban Blasting Committee of the ISEE. He is a member of the Seismograph Section and spearheaded the development of the Explosives Everyday! webinar series. Travis received the ISEE President’s award in 2017 and coauthored the ISEE Paper of the Year in 2020 which covered the measurement of in-operation transmission pipeline stress while blasting occurred immediately adjacent to it.


Jack Eloranta, Principal, Eloranta & Associates Inc.

Bio: Jack Eloranta is the principal in the consulting firm, Eloranta & Associates Inc. His introduction to explosives started at an early age observing his father removing stumps from farm fields. He received formal training with explosives as a combat engineer in the U.S. army at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri. He holds undergraduate degrees in Geology and Mining plus a Master’s in mining, all from the University of Wisconsin. His Master’s thesis describes the implementation of the first ever downhole probe for magnetite. He worked 22 years for U.S. Steel Corporation in iron ore at the Minntac Mine. In 1981, he was a part of a haulage study and helped designed a movable crusher and conveying system which required an in-depth review of rail, truck and conveying options, touring mines across North America. Jack’s other work for U.S. Steel includes serving as front-line foreman for the Track Department and Truck Production, supervising railroad construction, maintenance crews, and heavy equipment operators. As a mine engineer for operations and long-range planning, he supervised survey crews and was involved with ore blending, geological studies, engineering roads, dumps, and drainage. He is proficient in the use of Caterpillar software, Fleet Productivity and Cost (FPC) and has used it for feasibility studies for mine startup equipment selection. In 1984 he became the blasting engineer where he designed layouts for over a half billion tons of taconite blasting. In 1999 he formed his own company where has optimized blasting for operations using: conventional, semi-autogenous and fully autogenous mills. Clients include: quarries, gold, copper, iron ore, coal and construction plus expert witness and university research. His work has taken him to international clients in: Canada, Panama, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Senegal, South Africa and Sweden. In 2008 he served as CEO of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. He has authored some 30 papers on mining and blasting and revised the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE) Handbook for open pit and quarry operations. He was a founding officer and a five-term president of the Lake Superior Chapter of the ISEE. In 2004, he was awarded the President’s Award by ISEE for meritorious service to the explosives industry. He is a member of the Society of Mining Engineers.. In 2005, he was elected to the board of directors of the ISEE and progressed to the presidency. He is a pilot and a twenty-gallon blood donor.


1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Price: $80

Plant/Processing – Sampling for Plant Metallurgical Balance and Performance.

Course includes 2-hour field trip to local lab

This short course is intended for operating personnel, engineers, management, lab supervisors and students. The course is a general review of proper techniques for sampling to measure plant performance or to use in mineral processing plant design. Starting with a general overview of sampling, the course will briefly discuss: sampling theory, sample points, sample techniques, sample processing and quality control. There will also be discussion for those sample points were a representative sample is difficult to collect as well as indications of sample processing issues. The course will include a field trip to a local mining, material and energy process laboratory.


R. D. Learmont, President, Midland Research Center LLC

Bio: R. D. Learmont is President of Midland Research Center LLC in Marble, Minnesota, a laboratory active in most aspects of minerals testing and research, and of Solutions and Strategies Group LLC, a mining and minerals industry consulting firm. He holds a Mineral Resources Engineering degree and has been employed in the USA and globally in many major project examinations, developments, and operations with involvement in ferrous, nonferrous and precious metals. He is a registered professional engineer in multiple states, is a member or fellow of numerous technical and professional organizations including SME, and is an NI 43-101 qualified professional.




Jon Maki, Cleveland Cliffs – United Taconite

Bio: Jon Maki has worked in various roles in his career such as: quality and research for the Navy, technical lobbyist and consultant, technical government reviewer for various military programs, project management, vendor, operations and sales. In the mineral processing industry, he has worked in iron ore, kaolin and gold facilities and also worked as a consultant and vendor to the mineral processing industries. Jon is passionate about continual process improvement and making sound process decisions based on analytical analysis and justification for process improvements.




Tom Jensen, Lab Supervisor, Cleveland Cliffs - United Taconite

Bio: Tom Jensen has worked in mine lab testing for 11 years. He is the Lab Supervisor of United Taconite, producer of taconite pellets as part of the steel company Cleveland Cliffs. Tom is an accomplished lab management professional known for driving cross-functional, collaborative teams to produce safe and successful operations.




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