Thursday, 4 June 2015

In memory of Richard Mozley and his wonderful machines


Physical Separation '15 starts one week today in Falmouth. This is the 4th of MEI's Physical Separation conferences, but not the first on this theme to be held in Falmouth. Eighteen years ago this month the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy hosted Innovation in Physical Separation Technologies, a memorial symposium in remembrance of Falmouth minerals engineer Richard Mozley.

Richard Mozley and Roger Parker, 1986
Richard had died two years previously, and on the second morning of Minerals Engineering '95 (posting of 28th May) I had the sad duty of announcing his death to the international audience, and a few days later acting as a pall-bearer at his funeral in the little church at Carbis Bay, close to the beautiful cliff-top golf course where Richard would play regular golf with his friend Roger Parker, Vice-Principal at CSM.

In his keynote lecture at the symposium, the Director of Australia's JKMRC, Tim Napier-Munn, spoke of invention and innovation in mineral processing, appropriately as Richard Mozley was a great inventor and innovator, in the mould of other illustrious engineers in Cornwall, notably Sir Humphry Davy and Richard Trevithick (posting of 25th April).

Richard Henry Mozley MBE was not, however, a Cornishman. He was born in Sussex in 1933, and studied mining engineering at the Camborne School of Mines in the 1950s. During his time there he undertook a final year project with the then head of engineering, Dr. G.H. Jones, who was working on a prototype wet high intensity separator, which evolved into the well-known Jones Separator. This must have ignited Richard's passion for R&D work as he then spent 2 years at the University of Bristol, working on spiral related gravity concentration, leading to the development of the Shaken Helicoid, an orbital concentrator for the recovery of fine tin particles, which was subsequently licensed to the Cornish company Bartles (Carn Brea) Ltd, who went on to sell over 200 units.

A brief spell as a mining engineer with the Indian Copper Corporation, and in 1961 at the Amalgamated Tin Mines in Nigeria, convinced Richard that his future career lay in mineral processing, and he took a position at the Warren Spring Laboratory in Hertfordshire, where he was involved in the development of gravity devices, before returing to Bristol University as a Research Fellow. It was here that his interest in developing gravity concentrators to treat ultrafine cassiterite in the Cornish tin mines took over and he developed a modern separator to replace the round frames and vanners traditionally used in Cornwall. The result was the first machine to bear his name, the Mozley Table, developed further by Bartles and marketed as the Bartles-Mozley Concentrator, initially installed in the Geevor tin mine, and then in many concentrators around the world. As this was essentially a roughing or scavenging device, Richard went on to develop the Bartles Cross-Belt Separator to upgrade concentrates from the B-M Concentrator. Again this was commissioned at Geevor but was soon taken up on several chromite installations in the Philippines and Europe.

After meeting and marrying a local girl, Abigail, Richard settled in Cornwall and took up residence in Falmouth. He joined nearby Hydraulic Tin as a mineral processing engineer in 1971 and became General Manager and Director, but in 1975 he decided to go it alone as an independent consultant, concentrating on inventing and developing processes for recovery of fine heavy minerals. He initially worked from home, and it was always a treat to visit his large house in Wood Lane, Falmouth, and to see Abigail in the kitchen surrounded by centrifugal pumps, pipes and prototype hydrocyclones and other machines. He soon set up Richard Mozley Ltd and in 1986 he and his technical staff moved from Falmouth to new premises in Redruth.

The company initially concentrated on the development of small hydrocyclones for desliming feeds to gravity concentrators, and the sand separator, a development of the conventional shaking table, which was tested at the South Crofty tin mine. This was eventually licensed to GEC Mechanical Handling as the Duplex Concentrator, although Richard Mozley Ltd developed a small laboratory version, the laboratory mineral separator, which I used extensively for testwork at CSM, as did several hundreds of institutions and mine laboratories around the world. The Mozley cyclones also became world famous, particularly the 1 inch and 2 inch diameter plastic hydrocyclones assembled in a high-capacity housing.

I particularly remember Richard talking enthusiastically, over a few beers, about his latest invention, a shaking table wrapped through 360 degrees into a circular drum which was not only shaken, but rotated to produce a high-G force - one of the first of the enhanced gravity concentrators, which competed with the Knelson and Falcon concentrators. To develop this he recruited a bright experienced minerals engineer, Billy Chan, and the Mozley Multi Gravity Separator (MGS) was tested at the Wheal Jane mine, under the supervision of concentrator superintendent Mike Hallewell, and then showcased at the 1988 IMPC in Stockholm. The device has been used successfully around the world for the recovery of ultrafine heavy minerals, and soon made the B-M and Duplex Concentrators redundant.

Stockholm, 1988. Billy Chan demonstrates the MGS, with Sales Manager Don Hepburn and Richard Mozley
At the IMPC in Dresden, 1991, with Richard and his PA Joan Brookes
After Richard's untimely death in June 1995, the company struggled on until it was taken over by Axsia in 2000 and became Axsia-Mozley. When Axsia was taken over a few years later by oil and gas company NATCO it looked like the death-knell for Richard's inventions, but his loyal Executive Director Paul Salter stepped in and Salter Cyclones, based in Cheltenham now proudly carries on the Mozley tradition, concentrating on manufacture and sales of the original Mozley cyclones and of course the MGS, the most recent installation of the 5 tph unit being in Finland at Outokumpu's Kemi chromite mine.

The 5 tph MGS
Richard was a larger than life character who is still sorely missed. I am sure many of you have memories of him, and I invite you to share them. I would also be interested to know if any of his early machines, the B-M Concentrator, the Cross-Belt Separator and the Duplex Concentrator are still in use anywhere in the world. And does anyone know the whereabouts of Billy Chan?

15 comments:

  1. Went to school with his son Charlie, knew he was the son of an inventor, only when using the Lab separator with Mozley written on the side did I realise what he was the inventor of!

    Dave G

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  2. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute I spent with Richard, he was a true gentleman and a great enthusiast, what a great photo of him with Roger Parker, another hero of mine. I remember both Stockholm and Dresden well two good conferences, good luck with Physical Separation this week,

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  3. Barry,I felt really happy after reading on the legendary Richard Mozley (fondly addressed as Richard). From my point of view,Mineral Engn Fraternity owes a lot to Richard..He was indeed a change, who realised even in those years, that "hardware is as important as software" for the growth of our profession. He gave tools to test and identify process , particularly gravity and centrifugal, most appropriate for beneficiation of ores.
    He took time off and visited us at Indian School of Mines at Dhanbad during his visit to Hindustan Copper. We in the Dept of Mineral Engn, including all the students, felt excited (inspired) seeing and meeting him. He was such a warm hearted person. My first reaction seeing him was " is this the person who conceived, designed and manufactured such beautiful and very elegant equipment; so badly needed in those days. Seeing the machines itself used to make the students happy to work with them.It is indeed inconceivable to imagine that a Mining Engn of those days would have developed such a passion for mineral processing . He must have thought that such well conceived laboratory equipment was a must for mineral Engn to identify processes to treat ores .I do not think there is any laboratory in India (surely in the world) which does not have more than one ( that one is invariably a cyclone) of his " brain child."
    In fact I used to tell my students that we need more "Richards" to take mineral Engn forward.
    Barry, I really felt emotional, reading the Blog, though I know most of it.
    For me , Richard was a legend and we appreciate you for taking us through those days of real developments by a "single" individual; I am sure this Blog would be an inspiration to young generation of Mineral Engns.
    Rao,T.C., India

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  4. Nick and TC sum up Richard perfectly - a true gentleman

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  5. I came across your article on my father, Richard Mozley, this morning and was so very touched to see him so fondly remembered twenty years after his death.
    He was, indeed, a larger than life character and also an absolutely fantastic father.
    Thank you so much for the happy memories you brought back. I remember him demonstrating how the MGS would work; with the help of playing cards...whilst rolling about on the floor.
    So, many thanks.
    Best wishes,
    Magdalen
    Mrs M Wind-Mozley

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  6. So touched and proud to come across this blog on the 20th anniversary of Richard's death and so glad that his memory and his machines live on. Having been lucky enough to be married to him for 28 years I can confirm that he was indeed larger than life and quite legendary. Raising 4 children amongst the noise, mud and possible danger of his marvellous machines was at times a little stressful but never ever dull. Thank you Barry and all above for bringing back so many happy memories.

    Abigail

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    1. Many thanks for your comments Magdalen and Abigail. Richard was a one-off. A great inventor and great man who I will always remember

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    2. Hello again. I have a film of Richard from 22 years ago that you might be interested in. If you send your email address, I'll send you a link. Jemima

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    3. Yes, please do. My email is bwills@min-eng.com.
      Best regards Barry

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  7. Wonderful to read this article and all the comments. Thank you for these memories of my amazing father.

    Jack

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  8. I was just defrosting the freezer in honour of dad (who hated to see machines suffering! Remember the tumble dryer, Abigail?) when my computer pinged with the link to this blog. How lovely to read these comments. He was a brilliant man and it is great to know that he is still inspiring people twenty years after his death. Jemima.

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  9. Richard was both a brilliant engineer and inventor, and a kind, gentle, forgiving human being. I have many happy memories. Clive Cooper -brother-in-law.

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  10. I had the privilege of working with Richard at Hydraulic Tin in 1971, and almost joined Richard Mozley Ltd. In 1994. What a truly wonderful man, and an exceptional minerals engineer. He was taken from us much too soon.
    Ian Townsend

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  11. Steve the Welshman14 July 2015 at 21:46

    Spent many years associated with Mozley during the years when I worked at Carpco in Florida. First time I visited was when they worked out of the Mozley's home. During our association, we exhibited at Stockholm and Dresden together - I think I may have even taken those photos! I also don't know where abouts of Billy Chan but he gave us 40 fits when he drilled into the exhibit hall in Stockholm to hold the MGS down!
    Richard was truly a gent of noble proportions and a generous host always. My wife still remembers the dover sole at the Falmouth restaraunt he took us to once!

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  12. A 1980s video of Richard Mozley and others discussing development of the Mozley MGS at the Wheal Jane tin mine in Cornwall

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If you have difficulty posting a comment, please email the comment, and any photos that you might like to add, to bwills@min-eng.com and I will submit on your behalf