Saturday, 29 April 2017

Swanpool Beach to Falmouth Town

Swanpool Beach, Falmouth
Falmouth is the home of MEI, and was recently voted the best place to live in south-west England. Personally there is no other place in the world that I would rather be, and this stretch of the Cornish coast path I have walked countless times, often with MEI Conference delegates, but never tire of it. It is not a typical coast path walk, in that it is all on paved pathways, but nevertheless is one of the easiest and most rewarding of Cornish walks.

Swanpool to Falmouth Town map
Falmouth lies between two beautiful rivers, the Helford to the south and the Fal to the north and after walking over the cliffs from the Helford River, crossing Falmouth's most southerly beach at Maenporth  (posting of 10th April 2015) we arrive at Swanpool Beach and the start of the 4.3 mile leisurely stroll to the River Fal and the border between west and east Cornwall.

Swanpool Beach, Falmouth
Swanpool Beach
Early print of the old Swanpool Mine
Although there is little evidence of it now, there was a lead-silver mine at Swanpool in the mid-19th century, and arsenic was also recovered by calcining, the remains of the arsenic works being visible on the cliffs to the west until being grassed over early this century. Pennance Point to the west, where the fumes were discharged, is still known locally as Stack Point.

Before leaving Swanpool Beach, cross the road and take a look at the lovely small lake, from which the beach takes its name. Swanpool, a reserve to an abundance of birds, is fed by the little Bickland stream, and overflows into the sea via a culvert under the road.

Swanpool, Falmouth
Swanpool
When leaving the beach take the upper path and walk across Boscawen field with its great view of Falmouth's main beach, Gyllyngvase, and the distance docks and castle.

Boscawen Field, Falmouth
Boscawen Field
Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth
Gyllyngvase Beach
Gyllyngvase Beach marks the start of Falmouth's beautiful mile long Victorian promenade, which passes the lovely Gyllyngdune Gardens and the Princess Pavillion, where on balmy summer evenings it is worth stopping for a beer and listening to the brass band playing in the Edwardian bandstand.

The promenade, Falmouth, Cornwall
Strolling along the 'prom'
The promenade in Edwardian days
Metamorphosed Devonian sediments at Castle Beach
Castle Beach at the end of the promenade is a favourite for locals, as children love to explore the many rock pools at low tide. And if you are interested in geology, take a look at the rocks on the beach. They are over 400 millions years old, some of the oldest rocks in England. They were originally laid down as sandstone and silt sediments in the Devonian era, and remained undisturbed as horizontal strata for over 100 million years, until they were uplifted and deformed by the tremendous pressures of tectonic plates coming together in the final phase of the formation of the supercontinent Pangea. This uplifting produced the Variscan mountain range, the eroded remnants of which are America's Appalachians, the Urals, the Pyrenees, and, in SW England, the high moors of Dartmoor and Bodmin. This unimaginable tectonic pressure also partly melted the underlying mantle, which eventually solidified into a giant granite batholith, which underlies most of Cornwall, outcropping in several areas. The hot granite baked the deformed sediments into a hard metamorphic rock known locally as killas, which cracked as it cooled, allowing mineral laden waters to rise from the mantle, and crystallise in the cracks. In many parts of Cornwall tin and copper minerals crystallised, while in Falmouth you will see white quartz crystallised into these cracks.
Pendennis Castle, Falmouth
Pendennis Castle
The promenade takes us to the scenic Castle Drive, leading to the Pendennis Headland and the estuary of the River Fal. The 16th century Pendennis Castle (posting of 4th April 2012) dominates the headland, and on the tip of the headland itself is the Little Dennis blockhouse, built as a look out post during the construction of the main castle. The blockhouse overlooks the estuary and the wide expanse of water known as Carrick Roads, which separates Falmouth from the Roseland peninsula, and the village of St. Mawes, which also boasts its own 16th century castle (posting of 20th September 2014). Both castles were built to guard the estuary and the access to the old town of Penryn.
Pendennis Headland, Falmouth and Carrick Roads
MEI Conference delegates by the Little Dennis Blockhouse, overlooking Carrick Roads and St. Mawes
The Carrick Roads waterway was created at the end of the last Ice Age when sea levels rose dramatically and created a huge natural harbour. The Carrick Roads take the form of a classic ria, or drowned river valley, and is dominated by a deep, meandering channel, navigable all the way from Falmouth to Truro. The channel, the ancient River Fal, is navigable by very large vessels, and is up to 35 metres deep, but the banks rise steeply to depths of only around 10 metres.
From the headland the best route is up via the Coast Guard Station to the castle's dry moat, passing some of the large guns which were positioned on the headland during WW2.
Pendennis Castle Moat, Falmouth
Pendennis Castle moat
From the moat we arrive back on Castle Drive and the great view of Falmouth's huge ship repair docks, perfectly situated in the world’s third largest natural deep water harbour.
Falmouth docks
Castle Drive and Falmouth Docks
From the docks it is a short walk into Falmouth town, passing the docks railway station, the terminus for the Maritime Line from Truro, which was opened in 1863. The area from Events Square, home of the Maritime Museum,  and on to Arwenack Street, has some of the world's finest eclectic restaurants, as well as some great pubs, including the Chain Locker on Customs House Quay, the venue for most of the Cornish Mining Sundowners and a final watering hole for MEI Conference delegates after their guided coastal walk.
MEI Conference delegates by the harbour, at Events Square

Restaurants, Events Square, Falmouth
Al Fresco Restaurants, Events Square
Customs House Quay and the Inner Harbour, Falmouth
Customs House Quay and the Inner Harbour
Falmouth's bustling town centre stretching almost a mile from Arwenack Street, to Market Street and the High Street, has a whole range of shops and art galleries, and many coffee and pasty shops.
Market Street, leading to the High Street on the right
Just before the High Street is the Prince of Wales Pier, the border between West and East Cornwall, with its great views across the Penryn River to the tiny village of Flushing. From here ferries leave for St. Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula.

Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth, Cornwall
Prince of Wales Pier
The view from the Prince of Wales pier, across the Penryn River to Flushing
The view from the Prince of Wales pier, across the Penryn River to Flushing
More Cornish Walks
Twitter @barrywills

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Associate Professor Grace Ofori-Sarpong wins major Elsevier Award

I would like to congratulate Dr. Grace Ofori-Sampong, who is one of the Five Women Recipients of the 2017 Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD)-Elsevier Foundation Awards. These awards are for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World, for outstanding research in Engineering, Innovation and Technology and for serving as inspiring role models for future generations of women science leaders.
Although I have never met Grace, she has been a respected and diligent reviewer for Minerals Engineering for the past seven years. Grace is the winner for Sub-Saharan Africa for her work on mycohydrometallurgy (fungi-mediated gold extraction), recovery of precious metals, acid mine drainage mapping, safe practices in artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and her strong involvement in making a positive impact in the issues of women in science and engineering. The award recipients took part in the 2017 American Association for the Advancement in Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, where they received the awards on the 18th of February, 2017.
Grace receiving her award in Boston
Dr. Grace Ofori-Sarpong is an Associate Professor of Metallurgical (Minerals) Engineering at the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Ghana. She is the first female to rise through the academic ranks to the position of Associate Professor in the field of Mining/Metallurgical/Materials Engineering in Ghana.
Recounting her story on the journey that landed her to this height, Grace said, “the journey has not been without huge obstacles including traditional definitions of who a woman should be, societal demands on what a woman should do and family requirements of what a woman should have". Born into a large family with many people not having formal education or ending at pre-university level, it was difficult to convince anybody that a woman could live above the traditional limitations and reach out to unlimited heights.
Grace got her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana and her PhD from the Pennsylvania State University in the USA. Her research interests  include  mycohydrometallugy,  environmental  biotechnology,  recovery  of  precious  minerals,  microwave  processing  of  ores,  water  quality monitoring and small-scale gold mining/processing. She has over forty-five technical papers to her credit and several unpublished reports.
She has held several positions in her university and is currently the Head of the Petroleum Engineering Department and the Vice Dean of the Planning and Quality Assurance Unit. She has also served as a visiting professor in other universities in Ghana and Africa.
Grace is one of the few women who are making an impact in this predominantly male oriented minerals and mining engineering field in Ghana and also in the West-African sub-region. By dint of hard work and creativity, she has utilised fungi in the extraction of gold (mycohydrometallurgy) and, for the first time, the use of fungi in the degradation of non-organic sulphide minerals. She has been a role-model at several science and mathematics clinics for young females and has boosted girl-child education and interest in science and engineering. To get an appropriate platform for her passionate desires, Grace has recently founded an association known as Ladies in Mining and Allied Professions in Ghana, of which she is the president.
Well done Grace!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Del Codd, 1944-2017

Those of you who worked in the Cornish mining industry during the tin boom of the 1970s and early 80s may remember Derek (Del) Codd, an enthusiastic mineral processor, who died last week in Truro.
Dell worked for a time at the Tolgarrick tin streaming plant in Camborne, which reworked the tailings from South Crofty mine, which had been discharged into the Red River.
He was also a part-time technician at Camborne School of Mines (CSM) and a member of the CSM cricket team in its debut 1980 season. Cricket was one of his passions, and in later years he played for various Cornish village teams, and then became a cricket umpire and groundsman.
CSM Cricket team, 1980. Del is 3rd from left back row
Ist left is Nick Wilshaw of Grinding Solutions Ltd. and I am middle front row
Our thoughts are with Del's wife Pat and family.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Water, water, everywhere.....

Water is necessary for life to exist at all. Every single life form on earth, from the single celled organism through the most complex organisms, relies on water for sustenance. Water makes up most of the world and the planet is seventy five percent water. Some 97.5% is saline water largely in the oceans, so that only 2.5% is fresh water and useful for human needs. Fresh water is a renewable and variable, but a finite natural resource. The demand for water is driven primarily by population and concomitant economic growth. Overall, some 70% of the water withdrawn from the environment is used in agriculture, 20% by industry,7% by households and 3% by mining. Future water requirements are predicted to grow considerably, while supplies will remain relatively constant or decline due to over pumping of aquifers, changing weather patterns and increased water pollution and contamination. While all regions will experience water scarcity to some degree, there are some countries where it will become more critical leading to conflict between consumers.
Mining activities are often located in remote, arid environments, with limited access to high-quality water. Water rights in these regions are extremely contentious issues, in some instances leading to violent confrontation. This situation has the potential to only get worse because competition for ‘scarce’ water resources will increase with local population growth and agricultural land usage. Water used at mining operations comes from a variety of sources and the quantity and quality of the water varies from mine-site to mine-site. Mining impacts on water quantity and quality are among the most contentious aspects of mining and mining development. The main problem for the mining industry is to generate confidence in developing a responsible, sustainable and transparent water management strategy that is recognized as such by all stakeholders. 
This will be the subject of a keynote lecture at Sustainable Minerals '18 in Namibia next year, by Prof. Rob Dunne. Rob will provide an overview of water in the wider global arena and compare this to how the mining industry has dealt with water stewardship over the last couple of decades, and what the future may hold.
Robert Dunne was the Fellow Metallurgy at Newmont Mining Corporation before he retired at the end of 2013. Prior to this he held the position of Group Executive-Metallurgy Development and Technology. Over the last 35 years Rob has worked for a number of mining companies including Newcrest Mining, Anglo American, Anglovaal and Mintek. He has authored and co-authored over 80 papers and has been an invited conference plenary speaker. Water in the mining industry has been a focus over the last 10 years and Rob has given three plenary talks on this subject. He was nominated as a SME Henry Krumb lecturer and delivered a plenary talk on water to local USA branches of the SME. He is an Adjunct Professor at both Curtin University (Gold Technology Group) and Queensland University (JKMRC), Australia.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Hayle Estuary to St. Ives

One of my 10 recommendations for spending some time in Falmouth (posting of 11th March 2015) was a train ride from Falmouth to Penzance (via Truro) and maybe then on to St. Ives (via the branch line at St. Erth).
If you enjoy a beautiful coastal walk, then another option is to take the train from St. Erth to St. Ives, but alight at the first stop, Lelant Saltings, which is on the estuary of the River Hayle.
Estuary of the River Hayle at Lelant
From here it is a relatively easy 4 mile walk to St. Ives, the coast path being accessed by crossing the West Cornwall golf course, and passing the 15th century St. Uny's church, where Richard Mozley is interred.
Crossing the golf course to the coastal path
Once on the coast path there are great views across the estuary to Godrevy lighthouse and then the huge and lovely Porthkidney Sands.
The Hayle estuary and distant Godrevy lighthouse
Porthkidney Sands

Once past Carbis Bay it is a gentle stroll to St. Ives, which can be extremely crowded in the summer months (a good reason for taking the train, as driving in the narrow streets can be a nightmare!). If you wish to linger, there are many fine restaurants, but you might wish to sample a Cornish pasty from one of the many "award winning" pasty shops, but be careful if you eat outdoors- the very large herring gulls here can be vicious and opportunistic- no wonder the original short story "The Birds" was set in Cornwall, not California as in the famous film. 
Carbis Bay
Approaching St. Ives
From St. Ives station take the short trip back to St. Erth, wait for the mainline train to Truro, and then change for Falmouth- a great day out!

Friday, 21 April 2017

An update on the forthcoming merger of Minerals Engineering and IJMP

The merger of Minerals Engineering and International Journal of Mineral Processing (IJMP) will take place in January 2018 (see posting of 21 December 2016).
I will remain as Editor-in-Chief of the merged journal, and the co-editors will be Dr. Pablo Brito-Parada, of Imperial College, UK, the current Editor of Minerals Engineering, and Prof. Kristian Waters, of McGill University, Canada, who is currently an editor of IJMP.
From 1 May 2017, submissions to IJMP will close and prospective authors should instead submit their papers to Minerals Engineering online.

Twitter @barrywills