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MineFit Monday Move: Introducing MineFit Q2 Focus -- "The Big Three": Injury Avoidance For All Ages

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, April 10, 2017

We are pleased to announce the beginning of a new season and a fresh method to help combat both acute and chronic injury for the Big Three: Shoulder, Lower Back, and Foot/Ankle.  

During this quarter, we will focus on: (1) presenting tips and tricks to help identify risk of potential injury, (2) providing treatments for joint stress and strain, and (3) explaining methods to prevent any acute injury.  

...The “oopsy” improper lift, the step down that you didn’t anticipate, and that reach that might have tweaked it just a little too far are all easily preventable when implementing the advice from the Monday Moves and Friday TidBits. NEW this quarter: our first VIDEO series of exercises for interactive ways to treat and prevent the Big Three.  

Stay tuned and be well!

Your MineFit Head Coach,

The photos below illustrate (1) a chest opener to prevent shoulder impingement, (2) a drawing knee to chest to help with referred lower back pain, and (3) a single leg balance with ankle roll to prevent foot/ankle injury.


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Friday MineFit TidBit: I can't remember

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, April 7, 2017

Today’s Friday TidBit is…shoot, I forgot! Why?  Because I just walked into another room! Focus and attention are of paramount importance in this industry, and a marker of mental fortitude for everyone. A fascinating phenomenon - The Doorway Effect -  is illustrated in the study link below, having to do with our sudden memory lapses upon walking into another room and forgetting why we arrived there. You are not alone (nor are you losing your marbles) when you can’t recall the thing you forgot after you just thought of it. So, what’s the point?  There are natural human errors in everyday life, and these equate to errors while on the job - BUT, to minimize preventable memory loss and sharpen your skills that can certainly be honed, take the 30-second test in the picture below.  Get your timer out, set it for 30 seconds, and stare at the objects.  Then, close your eyes for 10 seconds and make sure the test is not in sight.  Say, or write, how many objects you recall.  

Click here to review the study.

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First Friday Ask IMA - Tomorrow Afternoon

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, April 6, 2017

Please join us for April's First Friday's Ask IMA tomorrow, at 1:00pm EST. IMA-NA staff will update members on ongoing lobbying efforts to maintain the percentage depletion allowance in the tax code, as well as reviewing other legislative, regulatory, and executive actions that are of interest to the industry. We'll also discuss the impact of the March Fly-in and give a preview of the rapidly approaching Technology Workshop.


Click Here to Register.

Tags:  first friday  member outreach  outreach 

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Friday MineFit TidBit: Take a Doodle Day! (...After your shift ends, of course)

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, March 31, 2017

Happy Friday!

On this last Friday of the Q1 Weight Loss and Weight Management quarter, we present the correlation between weight management and stress, and highlight the Doodle 4 Google Winner as an appropriate theme for this topic. The winner for this Doodle received a $30k college scholarship - not bad, right? 

There are many wonderful doodles to take a brief look at on the Google homepage today on your smartphone or computer. But, why doodle or draw?  Kids practice it in order to express themselves when complex language cannot suffice or as honing a preferred skill set. As it turns out, adults should doodle and draw to clinically release stress. Why?  High stress is highly correlated with struggles losing weight because of: (1) sleep disturbances, (2) elevated cortisol, and (3) “comfort” food seeking behaviors. So, why not find a different outlet and distraction from the pantry or refrigerator this weekend?  Draw, build, organize, create, and use your mind and hands to release stress and refresh you.  

The Research:
A recent study showed clinical decreases in stress hormones for participants who crafted something for 45 minutes, using a tool of their choice. Before the crafting commenced, researchers recorded the cortisol levels of the study participants. Cortisol is a biological indicator correlated to stress — the higher your cortisol level is, the more stressed out you probably are. The participants also described their artistic experience prior to the study.  Almost half described their art background as “limited.” 

After the very scientific craft party, researchers again tested the participants’ cortisol levels. Approximately 75 percent of the participants displayed lower levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress levels. Although the exact amount of cortisol varied slightly amongst the participators, these levels did not correspond to their prior experience in the arts nor the tool they chose for their craft.  

Read the study here.

Happy Friday from Your MineFit Coach,


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Study Addresses Air Quality/Frac Sand Mining

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Heartland Institute ( recently published a policy study of air quality and industrial sand (frac sand) mining.  Authored by Isaac Orr and Mark Krumenacher, the study is the sixth and final entry in a series of six studies published by The Heartland Institute addressing industrial sand mining.

Part 1 of the study offers an introduction to particulate matter and its health implications.  Part 2 presents the findings of several air monitoring studies conducting in recent years.  These studies used equipment and sampling methodologies approved by EPA and NIOSH.  Part 3 explains the limitations of less scientifically legitimate reports that attempt to quantify concentrations of particulate matter in areas near industrial sand operations.  While Part 2 presents studies that have concluded industrial sand mining does not generate significant quantities of respirable crystalline silica dust, Part 4 examines why that may be the case.  Part 5 offers concluding remarks.

The Heartland Institute is attached and reproduced with the permission of The Heartland Institute.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  air quality  air quality monitoring  air quality standard  industrial sand  silica 

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Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearing on US Dependence on Foreign Minerals

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing “To Examine the United States’ Increasing Dependence on Foreign Sources of Minerals and Opportunities to Rebuild and Improve the Supply Chain in the United States”. The Hearing featured testimony from a variety of experts who were able to provide insight into both the importance of cultivating a domestic supply chain for minerals and the current impediments to investment in mining in the United States. The list of witnesses was as follows:

·       Dr. Murray Hitzman, Associate Director, Energy and Minerals, The U.S. Geological Survey (testimony)

·       Mr. Alf Barrios, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto Aluminum (testimony)

·       Dr. Chris Hinde, Director of Reports, Metals and Mining, S&P Global Market Intelligence (testimony)

·       Mr. Randy MacGillivray, Vice President, Project Development, Ucore Rare Metals, Inc. (testimony)

·       Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff, USN (Retired), President and Chief Executive Officer, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) (testimony)

·       Dr. Roderick G. Eggert, Viola Vestal Coulter Foundation Chair in Mineral Economics Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines (testimony)


Chairwoman Murkowski (R-AK) continues to be a champion for mineral development and investment in the United States. Her opening statement as well as her questions demonstrated her knowledge of the role minerals play in the global and domestic economy and the reliance every sector has on accessible and affordable minerals. In addition to the predictably supportive Republican Senators, the Democrat Senators in attendance all also appeared to understand the importance of the mining industry and the responsible development of domestic resources. During the Q&A portion of the hearing the Senators asked questions on a variety of issues that impact IMA-NA members. Please see the synopses below on questions of particular interest.


·       Permitting: Multiple Senators asked for insight on how the permitting process impacts US development of mineral resources. The consistent message from the panel was that the permitting process in the United States needs takes substantially longer than Canada and Australia, two countries with comparable standards, and that the process can be improved by eliminating duplicative components, syncing up different agencies’ requirements to work on things simultaneously, setting actualized deadlines, and providing certainty in the long term requirements.

·       CERCLA: Senator Lee (R-UT) asked whether CERCLA 108(b) would have a negative impact on the mining industry. Mr. Barrios answered that the rule would disincentivize investment in new mining projects in the United States. Additionally, Barrios noted that the bonding requirements are duplicative as companies already carry bonding under other programs to cover the clean up of contaminated sites.

·       Education: The Committee had questions related to both the education of the general public, Congress, and the Administration about the industry and the state of the mining engineering pipeline at mining schools. These questions reflect conversations IMA-NA members and staff continue on the best way to increase awareness of our industry in a positive light. In addition, the focus on encouraging the next generation of mining professionals also mirrors current IMA-NA outreach and program development.

·       Minerals Science: Senator Murkowski took some time to comment on her belief in funding the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to provide the US with the most complete information possible on the resources available. She specifically focused on the need to create a complete map of the minerals of United States, as only 1/3 of the country is currently mapped.

·       Transportation: Senator Stabenow (D-MI) asked a question about the role access to reasonable transportation for mined products has in promoting domestic production of minerals. The panel all related that transportation costs made up a large part of operating budgets and certainly could negatively impact domestic production.

·       Soda Ash: Senator Barrasso (R-WY) asked a question about how minerals, such as Soda Ash, can remain competitive in a global market when US producers face both higher transportation costs and regulatory burdens, and are not subsidized in the way China subsidizes mining. Dr. Hitzman highlighted the importance of reliable transportation infrastructure, favorable tax codes, and consistent interpretation of laws and regulations.


The hearing gave a good indication of how the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee views the role of the mining industry in our economy and our national defense. Chairwoman Murkowski acknowledged plans to reintroduce her legislation S. 883, American Mineral Security Act of 2015, from last session as a way to further raise the importance of minerals to our national and economic well-being. Overall, the hearing provided the industry the opportunity to highlight the challenges of operating in the United States as well as the positive contributions the industry makes to society. 

To read Chairwoman Murkowski's opening statement click here.

To watch the recording of the hearing click here. 

Tags:  Barrasso  CERCLA  Congress  Energy and Natural Resources  ENR  hearing  industrial minerals industry  legislation  Legislators  minerals science  Murkowski  Senate  soda ash  usgs 

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MineFit Monday Move: It's Never Too Late To Start Moving

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, March 27, 2017
Happy Monday!  

There is good news for our aging workforce, and a strong correlation to reduced healthcare and workers compensation claims costs. A recent study indicates that the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging can be corrected with exercise — especially short, intense duration bouts of activity. Older people’s cells might respond in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells in younger populations.   

Take away message: It is never too late to benefit from exercise.  

Application: 5 minutes of non-impact exercise, which is very intense, but will not cause an increase in injury (chronic) risk, can be performed in three ways:

(1) 20 pushups on your knees, keep your elbows wide. Then, hold a pushup position on your hands and toes, with your feet zipped together, for 60 seconds. Finish with bringing your knee to your chest, while in pushup position, 10 times for each leg, alternating legs.  

(2) 20 squats with your feet wider your hips, and be sure to keep your knees behind your toes when you squat down, as if there was a chair behind you to sit in. Then, try a single leg balance, keeping the standing leg locked and the “up" leg knee towards your chest, holding 30 seconds each leg. Finish with a huge step out in front of you, 30 times total, alternating feet and bending both legs a little bit on each step you take.

(3) 20 arms reaching overhead beginning with locking your elbows by your sides, then raising both arms over your head as if you were calling a touchdown. Count to three on each overhead reach. Then, put your arms down by your sides, and reach your right hand fingertips down towards the floor, lifting your left arm over your head as you do so. Try to reach down below your kneecap. Do this 10 times, counting to three each time your reach down.  Then, switch sides and do the same thing. Finish with putting both of your hands on the floor (bend your knees as much as you need to) for a 30 second hold.    

That’s right - this is all you need! Have a wonderful week. (And take 5 minutes.) 

Your MineFit Coach, 

See Study Link Here.

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Friday MineFit TidBit: The Trouble with Breathing

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, March 24, 2017

Breathe easily this weekend!  

Some troubling recent data has suggested that pharmaceutical remedies are a cure for those who feel they are having a bit of trouble taking a deep breath. But, the reality is, upwards of 85% of physical maladies stem from musculoskeletal issues. (Much more simple to treat, and don’t require drugs!). A tight chest, shoulders, neck, and ribcage can present as a lack of a good breath of air. So, avoid the doctor and just take a few deep breaths — we will help you understand the muscles that make this happen.  

Breathing in Muscles: 

Diaphragm - a domed sheet of muscle below your lung and just above you stomach.
Rib Cage - expands via the intercostal muscles, or those which connect each rib.

Breathing out Muscles: 

Rectus Abdominis - the muscles that cover your belly and help you speak and cough. 
Transverse Abdominis - the muscles which lie below your belly button and help prevent your legs from injury.  

Steps to Taking a Good, Deep, Breath of Air 

(1) Just think about your "normal breath.” How does it feel? 

(2) Now try taking a slow, deep breath. This should take about 5 seconds for the inhale, and another 5 seconds for the exhale.

(3) The air coming in through your nose should move downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully, like a buddah belly.  

(4) Now breathe out through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural).  

(5) Pay attention to how you feel when you inhale and exhale normally and when you breathe deeply, and try to balance the two.  

Have a wonderful weekend.  

Your MineFit Head Coach,

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IMA-NA Expresses Concerns to MSHA on UG Escapeways

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, March 23, 2017

In a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary Patricia Silvey, IMA-NA expressed concerns to MSHA about a purported change in agency enforcement policy related to underground escapeways and refuges.  IMA-NA underground producer members have reported a possible change in agency policy reinterpreting the plain language of 30 CFR §57.11050.  The new interpretation would require two escapeways from every working place, rather than the mine’s lowest levels, and impose new requirements regarding the location of refuge areas.  IMA-NA expressed the concern that such deviation from the plain language of the regulation could constitute rulemaking through policy interpretation rather than through the required notice and comment rulemaking.  IMA-NA requested that the agency convene a meeting of impacted stakeholders to discuss the matter before final agency action is taken.

The IMA-NA letter to MSHA is attached.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  escapeways  MSHA  policy  refuges  regulations 

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MineFit Monday Move: The Time of Day to Move..and to Eat

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, March 20, 2017

Research has often touted the benefits of eating breakfast as a way to manage or lose weight. There are several theories behind this prescription, and it is challenged by some dietitians who say it is more about the final number of calories consumed over the course of the day, rather than when they are consumed. A recent body of research indicates that people who eat breakfast are more likely to move in the hours following (a.k.a the food provides a boost in energy, increasing movement by the hour and improving metabolic rate).  

How do we apply this to the workplace? If you have a morning shift, it is best to consume food within two hours of waking and perform tasks which require more movement in the immediate hours of starting a shift. Then, to catalyze constant physical and mental sharpness, as well as improved metabolic rate, consume a snack an hour before lunch. Just after lunch, it is best to ease slowly back into activity, as the body is in a parasympathetic mode (digestion, blood going to the organs instead of the muscles and joints) and approach more physically demanding tasks two hours following lunch. To maintain a solid end of shift, consume another snack to boost blood sugar and last through the end of the day. The result? More calories burned, a steady state of energy, and weight maintenance day after day.   

See this link for an article on breakfast and metabolism.

Download the attached PDF guide for easy smoothies, which you can make days in advance with several servings, for a one cup breakfast solution.


Download File (PDF)

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