Wednesday, 21 August 2013

In brief

Change in schedule for MEI commodity conferences
Few people will have failed to notice that metal prices have suffered this year, and in particular the gold and platinum sectors have been having a hard time.  Although the prices have recovered a little over the past week or so, the South African industry has been hit very hard due to its ever increasing production costs. The gold mines are old, deep and low grade and the platinum industry has been hit by strikes, leading to demonstrations and many deaths.

Because of this we made a decision to cancel next year's Precious Metals '14 and Nickel Processing '14 conferences in Cape Town. These have now been rescheduled, and Precious Metals '15 and Nickel Processing'15 will be held in Falmouth in May 2015.

SAIMM Western Cape Conference
Prof. J-P Franzidis of University of Cape Town tells me that the "MinProc" conference held at the beginning of the month was very successful, with around 140 delegates, mostly students, as always, but a satisfying attendance given the state of the industry.  Professor Stephen Simukanga, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zambia and a former head of the Zambian School of Mines, gave a keynote presentation on the skills gap in the minerals industry in Zambia, and Marek Dworzanowski, President-elect of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, spoke on the role of metallurgy in enhancing beneficiation in the South African mining industry.  Altogether, 37 long and 27 poster snapshot presentations were delivered in sessions on Comminution, Flotation, Bio/Hydrometallurgy and Sustainability.   Another 18 posters were contributed to the poster session. Outotec awarded prizes for best presentations, but more of this in a later blog.

Students at IMPCs

One of the things that impressed me, Amanda and Jon at last year’s IMPC in New Delhi was the effort that the organising committee had made to bring as many students as possible to the Congress. Interviewed by AT Mineral Processing (issue 3, 2013) the President of the 26th IMPC, Dr. Pradip remarked “We have a large population of young minerals engineers in India... getting exposed to international level professionals from all over the world in such large numbers, perhaps for the first time. I think that listening to all these professional leaders should inspire at least a fraction of them to take up minerals engineering as a career. Even if 10% of them think about minerals engineering as a career of their choice it would be a great contribution to minerals engineers in India."

I hope that future IMPCs heed this sound advice.

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