Thursday, 29 January 2015

Two more good reasons to travel to Falmouth by train

There are three options for travelling to Falmouth from London for an MEI Conference- air, road and rail - of which the latter has always been my preferred option, particularly during the summer when the roads are very busy (see also posting of 17th February 2009).
The Great Western Cornish Riviera Express from London's Paddington Station to Penzance is one of the world's great train journeys. If you are arriving in UK at Heathrow Airport, the journey to Paddington on the Heathrow Express is only 15 minutes, and from Gatwick take the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station, from where it is a short taxi or tube journey to Paddington. An alternative is to take the train from Gatwick to Reading, where you can connect with the Paddington-Truro train, but be aware that seat availability may be limited at this stage of the journey, so we advise that you book and reserve your seat in advance.
Always a great experience, there are now two more good reasons to go by train. All carriages now have complimentary high-speed WiFi, and the Pullman Restaurant car has now been re-instated, where you can enjoy a superb freshly cooked meal between London and Plymouth, while dining in first class comfort.
So our advice is to take the train, relax and enjoy the wonderful English countryside, have a great meal, and keep up to date with your emails. Alight at Truro, then take the train on the adjoining platform for the 20 minute journey to Falmouth, where you will be met by one of the MEI team, and transported to your hotel.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

All set for a summer of fine conferences in Falmouth

We are looking forward to another great summer in Falmouth, with programmes for four high quality conferences now in place.

In May Precious Metals '15 will run back to back with Nickel Processing '15. The programme for Precious Metals '15 can be found here, and here for Nickel Processing '15.

In June Computational Modelling '15 will be followed by Physical Separation '15. Click here for the programme for Computational Modelling '15 and here for Physical Separation '15.

As with all MEI Conferences in Falmouth, you will also get the opportunity of spending some time in Cornwall, one of the world's most beautiful areas, once the world's biggest producer of copper and tin. Physical Separation '15 delegates will have the added bonus of a visit to the Camborne-Redruth mining area, the "birthplace of modern mining".

Physical Separation '13 delegates in the old mining area
If you intend to be at any of these conferences, registration is now open, and we recommend that you book your accommodation as early as possible, as Falmouth, a popular holiday resort, is busy during the summer months.

Finally, if you are interested in presenting papers, it is not too late to send me short abstracts.

Let us have your views on the CMP Meeting in Ottawa

MEI's Flotation '15 consultant Jim Finch was at the Canadian Mineral Processors Annual Meeting in Ottawa earlier in the month, and tells me that there was a very good turnout despite low commodity prices.

I have also received today, by email, this photo from Nan Amaratunga, wife of Lucky Amaratunga of Laurentian University. Pictured with Lucky are (left to right) John Starkey, Louise Madaire, Nan Amaratunga, Donna Starkey, Susan McTavish and Stewart McTavish.

If any of you were at CMP and would like to share your photos, or views on the conference, I would be very pleased to hear from you.


Monday, 26 January 2015

Process Mineralogy '17- first announcement

One of the messages that came out of Process Mineralogy '14 is that we can now characterise mineral assemblies in what can be a bewildering number of ways, such that the challenge now is to apply this data on mine sites in a language that operators can understand.  Automated mineralogy is a sophisticated tool which can reap great benefits to mineral processors, so the principles must be incorporated into undergraduate courses, to train mineral processors in its use and its great benefits.

It is a rapidly evolving field and we expect more innovations to be announced and discussed at the next meeting, Process Mineralogy '17, which will be held in Cape Town in March 2017.  Already we have major corporate support from ZEISS and Bruker so the early signs are that this will be a major event, as were the previous conferences in Cape Town.

Delegates at Process Mineralogy '14

Friday, 23 January 2015

January mining sundowners in Cornwall and Devon

A change of venue last night for the Cornwall Mining Sundowner. Falmouth's Chain Locker was forsaken for the first time, with the aim of moving the sundowner around the major Cornish towns. Last night's event, attended by 16 people, was held at the County Arms in Truro. Among the few mineral processors were Nick Wilshaw and Kathryn Hadler, of nearby Grinding Solutions Ltd.

Earlier in the month, on January 9th, a record turnout of 30 mining and related personnel attended the latest Devon Mining Sundowner at the Miners’ Arms, Hemerdon Village. Those attending included Wolf Minerals personnel from the Drakelands operation, from the Plymouth Science Park office and from Perth head office; special guests included Roger Craddock, the former AMAX Hemerdon project manager and Robin Boon former Geevor and South Crofty chief surveyor.

Wolf Minerals employees: Amy Hatswell,
Samantha Bartlett, Caroline Adams, Laura Fushley,
Jenny Edwards and Bonita Scaysbrook

Sam Oakley, Wolf Grade Control Technician; Laurie Hassall, Wolf Geologist; Robin Boon, ex Geevor and South Crofty chief surveyor; Charlie Northfield, Wolf Process Plant Manager

Klaus van der Wielen, who will be joining Wolf in April; Henry Chalcraft , Environmental Officer and Barnaby Hudson, Environmental Manager

Gemma and James McFarlane. James joined Wolf Minerals on 05 January as Chief Geologist

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Iceland, land of volcanism and waterfalls

Iceland has long been on top of my list of places to visit, as its geology is unique and of great interest. The island lies on the divergent boundary between the Eurasian plate and the North American plate. It also lies above a hotspot, the Iceland plume, which is believed to have caused the formation of Iceland itself, the island first appearing over the ocean surface about 16 to 18 million years ago. The result is an island characterised by repeated volcanism and geothermal phenomena such as geysers.

Many of the delegates who attended Comminution '10 will not forget that in 2010, a volcano in Eyjafjallajökull in the south of Iceland erupted for the first time since 1821.  The eruptions on 14 April forced hundreds of people to abandon their homes and the resultant cloud of volcanic ash brought major disruption to air travel across Europe, leaving Amanda, Jon and European delegates stranded for a week in Cape Town.

Barbara and I have just returned from our first visit to Iceland, spending 2 nights in the capital, Reykjavík, and two nights close to the Hekla volcano in the south of the island. We explored the south of the island and the 'Golden Circle' in the south-west, returning to the airport via the very touristy Blue Lagoon, a man-made lagoon fed by the waste-water from a nearby geothermal energy power station, one of many such plants that provide Iceland with around 65% of its energy, contributing to the 99% of the island's primary energy from renewables.

As to the aurora borealis - well we did catch a tantalising glimpse in Reykjavik at one o'clock in the morning, a faint green smudge on the distant horizon, but nothing after that. The northern lights would, however, have been the icing on the cake of a fascinating visit to this unique island. Below are a few photos which might wet your appetite for a similar short visit such as ours, which was hosted by the excellent Voyages Jules Verne and our tireless and knowledgeable guide Holmfridur.


The infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano
Skogarfoss waterfall, fed from the melt-water of Eyjafjallajokull

Reynisfjara beach with its stacks of basalt columns

Dyrholaey promontory
Vik, one of the most southern beaches
Seljalandsfoss waterfall, also fed by Eyjafjallajokull 
Faxi waterfall
Hot spring area at Geysir
Gullfoss waterfall
The rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates
The Blue Lagoon, with the geothermal power plant in the background