Dr. Courtney Young Collaborates to Rewrite SME Handbook

Dr. Courtney Young Collaborates to Rewrite SME Handbook


Dr. Courtney Young stands with the SME handbook he helped rewrite. In 1985, Norman L. Weiss and the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) published the Mineral Processing Handbook. It was an effort that took approximately 15 years of organizing, reviewing, and editing not to mention the constant hounding of authors to first draft and then finalize their chapters. The book found its way into many classrooms and libraries helping students learn and company as well as government employees do their jobs.

While much of the content in the Handbook is pertinent today, some of it dates back to early 1970's. Furthermore, it went out of print in 2003. Consequently, 25 years later, in 2011, concerted efforts began update the Handbook. Unfortunately, the 1986 version did not have an editable copy, Jane Olivier of SME began to rewrite the Handbook with input from Montana Tech Metallurgical & Materials Engineering Department Head Courtney Young. Dr. Young proposed modernizing the Handbook to fit today's times and adding more detailed chapters on Extractive Metallurgy.

SME accepted his proposal and paired him with Dr. Komar Kawatra of Michigan Tech and eventually with Dr. Robert Dunne of Curtin U and U of Queensland. Together, they followed Weiss's footsteps for six years until finally their efforts were unveiled at the 2019 SME Annual Meeting in Denver. The Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Handbook is now available in both hard and electronic copy (https://smemi.personifycloud.com/PersonifyEbusiness/Default.aspx?TabID=251&productId=2829543). This incredible feat contains 128 chapters and is over 2,300 pages long. It addresses mining sustainability topics: community and social issues, safety and health, environmental, project management and reporting.

Aside from Dr. Young co-authoring four chapters, many Montana Tech Metallurgical & Materials Engineering faculty, including a few students, participated: Dr. Larry Twidwell, Dr. Hsin-Hsuing Huang, Dr. Jerry Downey, Dr. Avimanyu Das, Dr. Rick LaDouceur, Mr. Gary Wilson, and Mrs. Jan Chorney. A number of Montana Tech alumni were also authors and/or reviewers: Dr. Corby Anderson, Mr. John Cole, Mr. Mike Garska, Mr. John Hollow, Mr. Harold Kelley, Mrs. Stacy Kramer, Mr. John Mansanti, Mr. Ed McGowan, Mr. Tom McIntyre, Mr. Terry McNulty, Mr. Jim Orlich, Mr. Jaye Pickarts, Mrs. Joanna “Jodi” Robertson, Mr. Greg Roset, Dr. Scott Shuey, and Mr. Frank Trask.

Dr. Young displayed the books during Montana Tech's Author Reception held on campus on April 11, 2019 in the campus library. “This was a looming job and I doubt I will ever take on a task like this again,” explained Young. A relieved Young added jokingly, “It was like being pregnant for 6 years; it just had to be dealt with until it was done.” The final product was a Handbook weighing 13 pounds.

Courtney Young, PhD and QP is the is the Department Head and Lewis S. Prater Distinguished Professor of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Montana Technological University (Montana Tech). As a faculty member there for the past 26 years, Young has taught various topics centered around mineral processing and extractive metallurgy to more than 2,000 students. He has also worked with numerous local and international companies doing research in these areas, including mining sustainability issues such as water remediation, slag recycling, tailings repurposing, and waste treatment.

Young is a graduate of three premiere mineral processing and extractive metallurgy institutions, having obtained his BS degree in mineral processing engineering from the former Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology in 1984, his MS degree in mining and minerals engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1987, and his PhD degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Utah’s College of Mines and Earth Sciences in 1994.

Young is extremely active in the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME), having served as a co-advisor to its local student chapter since 1995 and on at least 30 committees, including 18 as chair or co-chair. He has organized and edited seven symposia and their corresponding proceedings, chaired and organized 15 sessions at SME meetings, and presented more than 30 papers, with about half being published in SME proceedings or the Minerals & Metallurgical Processing journal. He has co-taught an extremely popular short course in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy with his good friend, Dr. Corby Anderson. The course will continue to be offered annually at the SME Annual Conference and Expo.

Young has authored and co-authored 213 publications and presentations. Because of his devoted efforts to this handbook, SME, and the mining industry in general, Young has been accordingly recognized with plenary lectures and has received many awards, including the Outstanding Young Engineer Award and Millman of Distinction Award from the Mineral & Metallurgical Processing Division of SME; the Frank F. Aplan Award and Mineral Industry Education Award from the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers; and two Presidential Citations and the Distinguished Member Award from SME. His and others’ research at Montana Tech have led to the establishment of a Materials Science PhD program, a first for Montana Tech, with materials being specifically defined to include minerals and metals.

Young acknowledges that none of this would have happened without the support of his wife, Miriam, of 30 years and their daughters, Jessica and Jamie.