Monday, 21 April 2014

Back to Windhoek

After 9 days and 2000 km we are now back in Windhoek, and fly back to the UK this evening.

Namibia has been an enjoyable experience, and for the benefit of future conference delegates who would like to do a similar trip, I will publish a full account of our journey next week.

Comminution '14 now seems so far away, but a full report with photos is scheduled for Wednesday.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Farewell to Cape Town

Many of the Comminution '14 delegates are staying on for a few days to enjoy the sunshine, which has blessed us over the past week, and to explore this beautiful part of the world.

Amanda and Jon fly back to the UK tomorrow, while Barbara and I have an early morning flight to Namibia, where we will be touring for 8 days.

This afternoon Jon and I were joined by thirteen conference delegates for our hike to the top of Table Mountain, via Platteklip Gorge.

Congratulations to the 10 who made it to the top, particularly to John Starkey, who at 77 is our oldest ever Table Mountaineer.

Welcome Visitors at Comminution '14

Comminution '14 ended yesterday with a final wine function on a hot late afternoon in the Vineyard Gardens. Calling in to see us were Prof. Cyril O'Connor and his wife Nanette, who live just around the corner in Newlands. Cyril is a former Dean of the University of Cape Town (UCT) and is well known as the Chairman of the International Mineral Processing Council.

With Cyril O'Connor and Tim and Georgie Napier-Munn.
Apologies to Nanette who is missing from this photo
Four days earlier, UCT's Gaynor Yorath called at the opening wine reception for a small reunion of past Camborne School of Mines staff and students. Gaynor, who graduated in 1985 with a BEng degree in Mineral Processing is pictured 2nd right with conference attendees Dr. Klaas van Wielen (PhD 2000, now with Selfrag, Switzerland) me (lecturer to 1996), Felicity Wilshaw (secretarial staff to 1979, now with Grinding Solutions, UK), Andrew Wilkinson (BEng 1990, now with Metso, UK), Nick Wilshaw (BEng 1980, now with Grinding Solutions) and Simon Bailey (MSc 2008, now with Grinding Solutions).

The following evening Dr. Katie Cole joined us for the conference 'happy hour'. Katie, formerly with Imperial College, UK, is a regular contributor to MEI's flotation conferences. She is now a post-doctoral researcher at the department of Physics at UCT, working on positron emission particle tracking.

A very welcome visitor on Wednesday morning was Roger Thomas, who I had not seen for 44 years, since we worked together for a short time during my early years in Zambia. Now retired and living in nearby Constantia, Roger had an interesting career after leaving Zambia (see posting of 6th May 2013).

Back at the conference Dr. Megan Becker called in to discuss progress on November's Process Mineralogy '14 (see posting of 10th April).

Megan with Tim Napier-Munn
It was also great to see UCT's Prof. J-P Franzidis and his wife Rose at the Wednesday happy hour. J-P retires at the end of the year, and was for many years one of MEI's flotation consultants, before handing over to Prof. Jim Finch last year (posting of 9th December 2013).

With JP and Rose (centre)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Process Mineralogy '14- final call for abstracts

A welcome visitor to Comminution '14 yesterday was Dr. Megan Becker of the University of Cape Town. Megan is consultant to Process Mineralogy '14, which will also be held at the Vineyard Hotel in November.

Developing from MEI’s previous conferences on Process Mineralogy, Applied Mineralogy and Automated Mineralogy, Process Mineralogy ’14 will deal with the following topics:

•Quantitative mineralogy, including both X-ray and Electron Beam Techniques
•Ore characterisation
•Mineral Liberation and Textural Analysis
•Application of process mineralogy on site
•Sampling and Statistics
•Advanced Process Control

As highlighted in a recent paper by Process Mineralogy '12 keynote speaker Dr. Wolfgang Baum, of FLSmidth, one of the conference sponsors, mineralogical laboratory technology has undergone seismic shifts since the introduction of automated mineral analysers and other quantitative tools such as XRD Rietveld analysis. During the last 25 years, these changes have positioned mineralogical data into the front line of ore characterization, process control and plant optimization. The continuous deterioration of ore quality in regard to grade, hardness, finer particle sizes and the increase of metallurgical complexities have made modern process mineralogy an integral part of new project development. In addition, it has supported improvement of existing plants and the better utilization of tailings or other residues.

We already have six sponsors lending their support to this event, which we hope will be even bigger and better than Process Mineralogy '12, which was attended by 123 delegates from 21 countries.

If you would like to present a paper at the meeting, the deadline for abstract submission is the end of next month.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Comminution '14 Conference Dinner

Last night's dinner at the Gold Restaurant was a wonderful occasion with great food and wine, great company and great entertainment (some of the latter being provided by the delegates!).

If a picture paints a thousand words, those below speak volumes (click on any photo for high resolution original):

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Women in Comminution

This is a snapshot of this morning's Comminution '14 technical session.

One thing for me stands out - the audience is virtually all male.  A completely different gender distribution from other MEI Conferences such as Flotation or Process Mineralogy.

Why is this? What puts women off comminution as a career interest?

Monday, 7 April 2014

MEI Young Person's Award 2013 to Brazilian academic

I had the great honour this morning, after opening Comminution '14, of presenting the 2013 MEI Young Person's Award to Dr. Rodrigo Magalhães de Carvalho, of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil.

Rodrigo Carvalho (centre) with his mentor Prof. Marcelo Tavares
Rodrigo, who is presenting two papers at Comminution '14, is a technician by training, having worked for a year or so in a commercial chemical analysis laboratory before joining the UFRJ for his chemical engineering degree. His undergraduate diploma work was on model-based control of closed-circuit ball milling, receiving a perfect 10 by the examining committee. During this time he was already an undergraduate researcher at the Laboratório de Tecnologia Mineral (LTM) of UFRJ.
After graduation in 2007 and with several job offers, he decided to join the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering for his Masters degree in minerals engineering. His work culminated in the development of the UFRJ mechanistic model of the ball mill.
Following his masters degree (2009) he continued, now pursuing a PhD degree, dealing with the challenging application of the mechanistic model to semi-autogenous grinding. He defended his PhD successfully in 2013, and is now a post-doctoral fellow at UFRJ, and has applied for a tenure-track professorial position at the university.
He has published 11 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and 18 papers in conference proceedings. Rodrigo carried out his graduate work part-time, splitting the time between his degree work and his research assistant position at LTM/UFRJ. During that time he was involved in a number of R&D as well as engineering projects. Formally he is operations manager for the Global Comminution Collaborative (GCC) at UFRJ. He is also internal manager under an agreement with DEM Solutions (UK) in the development of  new products and offers of technical support in South America. In this respect he is actively involved with customer training and technical support.
He has developed a number of software packages, two of which have been adopted by industry, and he has already received a number of awards for his work, notably the 2013 Samarco Award, given by the Brazilian Society of Metallurgy, Materials and Mining (ABM) for his work on the design of ball mills grinding itabirite ores. In 2006 he received an honorable mention by the committee for his undergraduate research work at UFRJ, receiving the same award again in 2013, for supervising an undergraduate student. Also in 2013 he received the best paper award at the annual student conference of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering of UFRJ.
His mentor, Prof. Marcelo Tavares of UFRJ, puts him number 1 of the 30 students or so that he has supervised in graduate work, having proven to be a very bright researcher and a brilliant engineer, driven to results and committed to excellence in everything he does. In Prof. Tavares's opinion, he is one of the brightest representatives of the new generation of researchers in mineral processing and, in particular, comminution.
A worthy winner indeed, and maybe another potential future winner in the photo below, taken this morning of those who are presenting a paper for the first time at an international conference.