Richard E. Stickler, assistant secretary of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, will deliver the keynote address at the 26th International Conference on Ground Control in Mining Tuesday, July 31 in Morgantown.

Sticklers address will take place at 8:30 a.m. at the Lakeview Scanticon Resort and Conference Center.

Hosted by the West Virginia University Department of Mining Engineering, the three-day conference attracts mining researchers, industry leaders and scholars from across the globe. Participants will attend from as far away as Europe, South America, Africa, Australia and China.

Ground control in mining involves the study of how rocks of the earth react to the disturbances of mining and how to make mining areas safe for workers. Conference participants will present retrospective papers on a wide range of technical topics.

“Our aim is to bring mining industry leaders from all over the world together to share information and knowledge,”said Syd Peng, conference chairman and WVU professor of mining engineering.”This conference provides an excellent opportunity to learn what is happening with coal mining at home and abroad.”

Stickler is a third-generation coal miner and native West Virginian with more than 37 years experience in the coal mining industry. He was director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Deep Mine Safety from 1997 to 2003, and served as a planner and decision-maker at the command center during the Quecreek Mine rescue operation in Pennsylvania in 2002. He was appointed assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health by President George W. Bush in October 2006.

Stickler received a bachelors degree in general engineering from Fairmont State University in 1968 and is certified as a mine safety professional by the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals.

In addition to WVU , conference sponsors include NIOSH , MSHA and the West Virginia Coal Association.

For more information on the conference,