Friday, 16 April 2010

Comminution '10- the final day

Fine grinding dominated the final day of the conference. Stirred mills were originally developed for ultrafine grinding, but their use is now extending into coarser grinding applications, as discussed yesterday by Graham Davey of Metso, and further today by Hans de Waal of Xstrata Technology, South Africa. He showed how the IsaMill has shifted from its birthplace in the realm of complex, fine-grained ore bodies into mainstream coarse applications.

As Malcolm Powell, of Australia's JKMRC, discussed in the final paper of the day, enlightened circuit design is essential to the take-up of such new equipment, otherwise we will not capture the full potential benefit, or even lose the benefit altogether.

This has been an excellent conference, very intensive, with 71 presentations, and has shown that comminution continues to evolve and develop at an increasingly rapid pace. I found it difficult to sum up the conference at the end, as there has been so many cutting-edge papers, with the introduction of new techniques, such as positron emission particle tracking, and the continuing development of DEM modelling and other advanced technology.

At the turn of the 20th century stamp mills were superceded by rod and ball mills and I wonder if, 100 years later, ball mills are now set to become replaced by circuits such as HPGR-stirred mills. Maybe we will find out at Comminution '12, which will be held at the Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town from April 17-20, 2012.

I would  like to thank our sponsors for their support and also to the presenters and chairmen.  This is perhaps the first conference that I have attended where everything has run on time, leaving plenty of scope for discussions in coffee and lunch breaks.

My only hope now is that our European delegates (and the MEI team!) are not seriously delayed on their return journeys, as many international airports, including those in the UK, remain closed, due to the Icelandic volcano eruption.  However, there are worse places in the world to be stranded than Cape Town! 

It would be interesting to hear of your adventures getting back home.

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