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What is the Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals?

The Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals began with a meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in February 1965 of the “Midwest Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals.” Dr. Robert L. Bates, Department of Geology and Mineralogy, Ohio State University organized the meeting. The proceedings were published the following year by the Ohio Journal of Science in Volume 66, p. 97–191. That year, the second forum was held in Bloomington, Indiana, and the proceedings were published the following year by the Indiana Geological Survey, and so the relationship between state (and later, provincial) geological surveys developed. Federal participation has been encouraged, but not to the detriment of the connection with the state or provincial surveys. In 1969, the 4th Forum was held in Austin, Texas, and the event became the first meeting of the “Forum on the Geology of Industry Minerals.” The rest is history, and we are now in to our 53rd Forum meeting!

Certain things are a part of any Forum. The emphasis on the geology of industrial minerals has always been a cornerstone of the meetings, as has been the associated field trips. We encourage participants to include their spouses and children to attend and participate. We have two main events during the Forum, the annual banquet and the Business Meeting. These are two very important parts of any meeting. The banquet is held on the second or third night, depending on field trips and other events, and the Business Meetings is held after the introduction to next year’s Forum by next year’s chair at the end of the oral presentations. Presentations are key in being able to share industry information.

In an effort to encourage more students to attend the Forum, organizers of the 31st Forum instituted a grant to fund a student to attend the Forum free of any expense. This effort has grown into the Robert L. Bates Scholarship Fund and is supported by donations from Forums as part of expenses and from individuals. Robert L. Bates Scholarship Fund trustees administer the 403 c scholarship, but the Forum Steering Committee makes the final choice of individuals. It is hoped that the Scholarship will grow to a point where at least two individuals will receive grants to attend: one from any location and the other one from the local area of that Forum.

Actions of the Forum are preserved in several different ways. Of course, the most obvious are the program with abstracts and the proceedings. Not only are the proceedings of each Forum available from each host organization, but a traveling display of previous Forum proceedings is sent from one host institution to the next to be shown near the registration desk during the meeting. Two indexes of Forum presentations are currently available. An index of the first 25 years of proceedings papers is available from the Oregon Geological Survey as Special Paper 24. An index of the 26th through the 31st Forums is available from the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources as Circular 204. Minutes of Steering Committee meetings are to be distributed to committee members and any Forum participant that requests them. Minutes of the Business Meetings are preserved in the Anaconda Archive of Mineral Information at the University of Wyoming. The current contact/curator is Ray Harris of the Wyoming Geological Survey.

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