IEA Coal Industry Award Recognises Importance of Coal in Sustainable Development

The first IEA Coal Industry Advisory Board (CIAB) Coal Award was presented to Professor Michael Karmis by CIAB Chairman Dr Jürgen Stadelhofer (President of RAG Coal International, Germany) at a dinner hosted in Paris by Claude Mandil, IEA Executive Director, for the coal industry on 9 December 2003.

The CIAB, which supports the IEA in all coal-related matters, has created the Award for Sustainable Development to recognise and celebrate work which enhances the sustainability of coal as a contributor to world energy resources. Professor Karmis has earned the award for his contributions to mining education and improved mining technologies, mine health and safety, and improving the environmental performance of coal mining.

Michael Karmis is Stonie Barker Professor of Mining and Minerals Engineering and Director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Blacksburg, Va., USA. His research interests include rock mechanics and ground control, mine system design, mine health and safety, and the sustainable development of energy and natural resources. He is a member of the board of directors of the Powell River Project, which conducts research and education programmes to enhance restoration of mined lands and to benefit communities and businesses in the coalfield region of southwest Virginia. As President of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration in 2002, Professor Karmis established the SME Sustainable Development Committee to lead the Society into a visible role in the global discussion on sustainable development of mineral resources. He is a director of the Virginia Coal Council, which comprises all major Virginia coal companies as well as community groups and state agencies.

Dr Stadelhofer said the CIAB recognises Professor Karmis’ distinguished work on coal, energy and broader social issues. “He has demonstrated leadership in mining education related to engineering,” said Dr Stadelhofer. “The mining department at Virginia Tech, under his leadership, has grown to be one of the USA’s largest and most diverse programmes in mineral engineering.”

Dr Stadelhofer drew particular attention to Professor Karmis’ role in preparing the Milos Statement on Sustainable Development, in May 2003. This statement, endorsed by the major minerals-related professional and scientific societies, affirms the role of “scientific knowledge, technical skills, educational and research capabilities” in promoting sustainable development. It provides a vision of the actions that must be undertaken to stay on course in the transition to sustainable development.

Congratulating Professor Karmis, Mr Mandil said, “The award is one of several initiatives by the CIAB to promote the implementation of the sustainable development concept. The CIAB’s work helps the IEA by demonstrating what is feasible in a commercial environment. It helps maintain a sense of reality in discussions on the topic.”

The CIAB, formed in 1979 to advise the IEA, is composed of high level executives from coal-related industrial enterprises. The CIAB’s current work programme focuses on clean coal technologies, including work on zero-emission technologies for coal-fired power generation. A second theme is coal and sustainable development, in view of the growing recognition that the energy security value of coal should be taken into account alongside the environmental challenge faced by coal. Publications by the CIAB on these topics released this month are:

Coal and Sustainable Development – Attitudes and Activity published for COP 9, available on the CIAB web-site, and a collaborative report with the IEA Clean Coal Centre, London, Clean Coal Technologies Roadmaps, available from the IEA Clean Coal Centre, London (telephone: +44 20 8780 211, facsimile: +44 20 8780 1746).