researchers but the lack of direct focus on the problems of most interest to the mining industry. It would be helpful if progress in these programs were systematically communicated to all interested parties, including the mining sector.
Recommendation. Because it may be difficult for a single federal agency to coordinate the transfer of research results and technology to the mining sector, a coordinating body or bodies should be established to facilitate transfer of appropriate federally funded technology to the mining sector. The Office of Industrial Technologies has made some progress in this regard by organizing a meeting of the agencies involved in research that could benefit the mining industry.
The OIT is utilizing a consortia approach in its Industries of the Future Program. This model has proved extremely successful (NRC, 1997a). In programs focused on technologies for the mining industries such consortia should include universities, suppliers, national laboratories, and any ad hoc groups deemed to be helpful, as well as government entities and the mining industry.
The Mining Industries of the Future Program is subject to management and oversight by the Department of Energy and receives guidance from the National Mining Association and its Technology Committee. The committee recognizes that the research and technology needs of the mining industries draw upon many disciplines, ranging from basic sciences to applied health, safety, and environmental concerns.
Recommendation: Consortia are a preferred way of leveraging expertise and technical inputs to the mining sector, and the consortia approach should be continued wherever appropriate. Advice from experts in diverse fields would be helpful for directing federal investments in research and development for the mining sector. The Office of Industrial Technologes should institute periodic, independent program reviews of the Mining Industries of the Future Program to assure that industry needs are beinrg addressed appropriately.