So the choice of Zambia as a venue for the 8th Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) Base Metals Conference was highly appropriate. MEI has been proud to be a media sponsor for this and the previous two Base Metals conferences in Phalaborwa and White River. Jointly hosted by the mining and metallurgy technical committees of SAIMM the conference, held from July 6-8, was attended by 184 delegates from 16 countries. It was held in the Avani Victoria Falls Resort in the magnificent Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, on the banks of the Zambezi River and a short walk to the Eastern Cataract of the wonderful Victoria Falls, the world's largest sheet of falling water (see also posting of 16th July).
|Victoria Falls Eastern Cataract|
And what a wonderful way to start, with a welcoming cocktail party, sponsored by Sibelco Australia, on the evening of Sunday July 5th, on the the Sundeck of the adjacent Royal Livingstone Hotel, where a spectacular African sunset over the Zambezi provided the perfect backdrop (see also posting of 5th July).
|Rodney, Kathy and Jackson|
The small exhibition provided a perfect focus for delegates to chat over coffee, and it was good to see so many familiar faces, regulars at SAIMM and MEI conferences.
After the coffee break the conference then split into several parallel sessions over the two and a half days, with sessions on mining, leaching, general mineral processing, solvent extraction, electrowinning, operations and projects. The papers from the conference are available in hard copy or on CD (ISBN 978-1-920410-71-1) from the SAIMM.
|Delegates from Germany and Austria relax by the Eastern Cataract|
The excellent lunches served by the hotel pool also gave us the chance to meet new people.
The highlight of the week was a Tuesday evening sundowner on the Zambezi. It was hard to believe that as we enjoyed drinks and cruised serenely on the tranquil waters, a few hundred yards downstream the river took its precipitous plunge 340 ft down the huge crack in the plateau and into the first of its series of gorges.
Arriving back to the jetty just after sunset we were then treated to a braai (BBQ) with local entertainment, sponsored by Trefimet, at the Avani's Boma restaurant.
|Local entertainers at the Boma braai|
|A close up view of the Falls with Ian and Corby on Livingstone Island|
|Sam, Raymond and Yolanda|
MEI verdict: as good as it gets. If you attended, what did you think?