Sunday, 23 October 2016

Watergate Bay to Mawgan Porth

This is a pleasant, fairly easy, two and a half mile walk, with a total elevation gain of only 510 ft. Unlike many of the north coast walks there are no precipitous plunges to sea level and back, and the good footpath gently undulates between two large and glorious golden sand beaches, with picturesque sheltered coves in between.
Watergate Beach
Looking down from the cliff top to Watergate Beach
The relatively gentle cliff top walk
One of the sheltered coves
Mawgan Porth beach
Returning to Watergate Beach in the late afternoon

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Comminution in the mid 21st century - will SAG mills still be relevant?

This is the question which will be posed by Prof. Holger Lieberwirth of TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany, in his keynote lecture at Comminution '18 in Cape Town.

What are your views? Will SAG mills still be relevant in 50 years time?


Friday, 21 October 2016

Official launch of the Cornwall Mining Alliance at the October Sundowner

There was a very big turn out last night for the October Cornish Mining Sundowner, held at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus. Regulars were joined by members of the Cornwall Mining Alliance (CMA) for the official launch of its website. Having developed from some initial ideas and discussions had between the Sundowner and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) personnel in 2012/2013, the CMA was formed in 2016 and intends to connect mining expertise and provide the right people for the job. The CMA is partnered by Cornwall Chamber of Mines & Minerals, UKTI and University of Exeter, and already has 69 members, reflecting the high profile that mining still has in this historic area, once the world's largest producer of copper and tin, and now home to a unique concentration of innovative businesses, organisations and experienced professionals, providing services to all aspects of mining and related industries in the UK and around the world.
The CMA Steering Committee: Bernard Ballard, Kim-Marie Clothier,
Kathy Hicks, Frances Wall, Jean Taylor and Tony Bennett
It was an interesting evening, where I met a recent Camborne School of Mines graduate who has acquired a hard rock rare earth deposit in Namibia (expect to hear more of this at MEI's proposed Rare Earths '19 in Windhoek) and talked to various people of the two hot topics in west of England mining at the moment. It is sad to hear of the problems that Wolf Minerals is having with its Drakelands tungsten mine, just across the border in Devon, due to low metal prices and problems with a very sticky ore. Also interesting to hear a very reliable source talk with optimism of the possible resurgence of South Crofty tin mine in a few years time, despite the scepticism which was shown at the sundowner only 2 months ago. I would love to see it happen, but would not personally put my money on it!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Provisional programme for Process Mineralogy '17 now available

We have a fine programme of international papers for Process Mineralogy '17, which will be held at the Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town, in March. The provisional programme, which is still evolving, is now available for viewing on the conference website.
Of the 60 papers currently accepted for presentation in oral and poster sessions, there are three keynote lectures by leading players in this field. "Process Mineralogy: An essential booster of the circular economy" will be given by Prof. Eric Pirard of the University of Liege, Belgium (posting of 7th March). Prof. Jan Miller, of the University of Utah, will review X-ray tomography for mineral processing (posting of 6th October) and Steve Williams, of Pasinex Resources Ltd, Canada (posting of 24 February), will review the benefits and tasks ahead for geometallurgy, a subject which will feature strongly in the conference.
As with all MEI Conferences, networking is considered of great importance, so the technical programme will be supplemented by informal social events, including a welcoming wine reception, 'happy hours' in the Vineyard gardens and a very informal conference dinner at the Lagoon Beach Hotel with its stunning view of Table Mountain.
Vineyard Hotel Gardens
It is not too late to contribute to the technical programme. If you would like to present a paper, short abstracts should be submitted as soon as possible, and, if accepted, draft papers will be required for the unrefereed Proceedings, which will be available to delegates on USB at the conference. Final papers should be submitted no later than one month after the end of the conference. These will be refereed, and, if accepted, published in a special Process Mineralogy issue of Minerals Engineering journal.
Registration details can be found on the conference website. If you have not attended an MEI Conference in Cape Town, this 7 minute video, taken at Process Mineralogy '14, will give you some idea of what to expect.
At the exhibition at Process Mineralogy '14
As ores become leaner and more and more difficult to treat, process mineralogy is becoming increasingly important to meet the current technical challenges, so we hope to see as many mineral processors, both from academia and operating plants, in Cape Town next March.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Mill Operators Conference '16 - how was it for you?

Jon's brief notes and photos from Perth (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3) suggest that last week's AusIMM Mill Operators Conference was a great success, so we now invite feedback from those who attended.
I gather from reports that the papers were of high quality and there were fewer than 50 presentations, such that there were no parallel sessions - which can be a real problem at other conferences (see IMPC 2016 report), and no posters, unusual in a conference with over 450 delegates. As Jon says, although this was a multi-disciplinary mineral processing event, the lack of parallel sessions meant that everyone broke out for coffee at the same time, and there was a real buzz during these breaks in the exhibition area, where everyone was talking about the same thing.
As at all conferences these days it is increasingly difficult to attract operators, and although Mill Ops is essentially an operators' conference series, out of the 460 delegates, only 99 were operators. This is a worry for all conference organisers, and we are still searching for an answer to this problem.
So, I invite you to submit your views- how was Mill Ops '16 for you?