Environmental Stewardship Distinguished Service Award Presented to R. David Williams

American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME),

The Society has awarded R. David Williams the Environmental Stewardship Distinguished Service Award for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). The award, which was founded in 1970 and is sponsored by the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), honours significant contributions to environmental protection through research, the design or invention of useful equipment or procedures, or outstanding service to governmental or private organisations devoted to environmental conservation in any region. This award was renamed SME by AIME in 2011.

David R. Williams. Image from LinkedIn.


David Williams is known for his contributions to creating the Acid Rock Drainage Technical Initiative (ADTI) guidebooks on Metal Mining-Induced Water Mitigation. During the Society’s annual meeting, March 1-5, 2021, he was recognised on SME’s virtual award videos.

“I was surprised….during my career as a geologist with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, I’d always taken ‘Environmental Stewardship’ as simply a part of my job, so it was rewarding to be recognised for maybe even going above and beyond,” David said when asked what his first thought was when he learned he was the recipient of the Environmental Stewardship Distinguished Service Award. Thank you very much to all of my colleagues at the DOI and beyond for their support; without it, this award would not have been possible!”

David R. Williams


David graduated from Bates College in Maine with a B.S. in Geology and Montana’s University with an M.S. in Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. He worked for the Bureau of Land Management for over 40 years, and was stationed in Denver, Coeur d’Alene, and Butte, Montana, for most of his career. In the Butte Field Office, Williams and his colleague Joan Gabelman were enforcing federal mineral laws. He was also in charge of overseeing several AML ventures in Western Montana.
The Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) brings together the best and brightest minds in the mining and mineral industries. SME’s world-class technological infrastructure, training services, networking opportunities, and professional development tools help over 13,000 global members advance their careers. Our members are committed to sharing best practices in mining protection, environmental stewardship, and progress.
Federal mineral rules, general reclamation concerns, and mineral and metal discovery are among David’s areas of expertise. Via the Acid Drainage Technology Initiative and the Global Alliance, he has been actively interested in acid rock drainage issues. Williams has written, discussed, and co-chaired conference sessions on climate change issues for many years as a mountaineer and skier.

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