Monday, 1 March 2010

SME Annual Meeting, Phoenix, Monday

The exhibition did not open until 11am today, so I spent an hour or so in the registration area looking out for people that I knew. My first impression was that mineral processors were very thin on the ground this year. Last year in Denver Jon and I were meeting them in groups but this time I saw only individuals, and not many of them.

Had a chat with Raj Rajamani of University of Utah, who will be in Cape Town next month to give a paper at Comminution ’10. Then Guy Deschenes of CANMET, an excellent reviewer for Minerals Engineering, who I would like to have seen at Precious Metals ’10 in June, but unfortunately the confidentiality of his present work precludes that.

I had a long talk with Fathi Habashi of Laval University, who, at 81 years of age, is still as enthusiastic as ever, travelling the world presenting short courses and papers, as well as writing and publishing technical and mining history books. Fathi is presenting two papers at this meeting.

And then the SME threw one of its surprises when I bumped into someone I had not seen for 40 years, Roger Sawyer, a fellow metallurgist at Nchanga in 1969. We reminisced a little about the Copperbelt and the people that we still keep in touch with. Roger is now with Rio Tinto in the USA, a principal advisor on mineral processing technology and innovation.

I had a light lunch in the exhibition area with Alan Butcher, formerly with Intellection, but now with FEI, and Hanna Horsch of Hazen Research, USA, after which I strolled around the exhibition.

Our media sponsor for Comminution '10, Industrial Minerals, represented by Mike O’Driscoll and Ismene Clarke, was attracting interest, but it was noticeable that many of the mineral processing booths were not particularly busy, and when I met up with ‘Nag’ Nagaraj of Cytec, and editor of International Journal of Mineral Processing, he enlightened me. This year there isn’t the attraction of a mineral processing symposium, the theme of the conference being 100 years of mining research. Next year in Denver should see the mineral processors out in force again, attracted by the Yoon mineral processing symposium.

Australia’s JKTech have a high profile presence at all major meetings, and are sponsors of MEI’s Comminution ’10 and Flotation ’11. Representing JKTech for the first time was the new Mining and Geometallurgy Manager, John Jackson, seen (left) with Mark Richardson of Contract Support Services, JKTech’s North American agents, and Sarah Schwarz, the Technology Transfer Manager.

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