|Barry with friends outside his grandparents back-street shop, with large display firework, November 1949|
|With sister Pat, parents and grandparents in Blackpool, 1952|
|Barry, middle front row, captain of Ashton Grammar Junior XI, 1958|
You were almost 18 when you started your University course, was it easy to commit to a three year course of study when post school education must have been expensive and was not a family tradition?
It seems that your choice of metallurgy was to some degree accidental but an aspect of it became your lifetime vocation. Were there other reasons to choose metallurgy?
|Graduation and wedding days, 1966 and 1967|
The mining boom during 1960-1975 was similar to the 2003-2014 boom. Did it influence your plans for the future?
Your move to Zambia set up your future career. Would you discuss what was involved in making what was a serious change in your life?
|Southampton to Cape Town on the RMS Windsor Castle, September 1969|
|First night on the Copperbelt, in the Kitwe transit flat with new mining engineer Dave Moore|
I remember my first day at Nchanga being taken around the concentrator, and seeing for the first time bubbles collecting minerals in large tanks, and huge (at that time) rotating drums grinding the ore. It was all completely alien to me at the time, and made me aware of something that I had always suspected- that the lecturer in extractive metallurgy at Leeds had obviously never seen a working concentrator, which highlighted in later years the benefit of industrial experience to a University lecturer.
|Shift work on the Nchanga leach-cementation plant, Stage 1 of the Tailings Leach Plant, 1972|
There must have been engineers at Nchanga who could discuss the link between innovation and application with you. I worked with similar people at Broken Hill. I think that they are now scarce. Does our industry value them?
|With Nchanga fire brigade, 1973|
|In the Zambian bush with new friends, 1969|
You had experience with hydrometallurgy in Zambia for two years from 1971 but the time had come to return to return to UK with your family. Mineral processing was fading in UK and you had to look for work in another area. Any comments on what you thought about the prospects which the change in your career would offer?
From 1974 to 1996 you were Senior Lecturer at Camborne School of Mines (CSM). This period at CSM must have been very satisfying. Can you discuss why you flourished there?
|Crowns Engine Houses, Botallack, North Cornwall|
|Falmouth 2015 with Tony Clarke and first CSM mineral processing|
graduates Dave Dew and Pete Walsh
|Dave Osborne and Barry at|
Minerals Engineering ’95, St. Ives, Cornwall
|With Dr. Peter Hackett during visit of H.M. Queen Elizabeth to CSM, 1980|
In 1978 you published Mineral Processing Technology: An Introduction to the Practical Aspects of Ore Treatment and Mineral Recovery. This book is now into its 8th edition and its sales show no sign of flagging. The new edition every 5 years puts it into the best seller category. To what do you attribute this great success?
In 1988 Pergamon discussed with you the feasibility of publishing a journal concerned with Minerals Engineering. The result was to establish it with you as editor. Would you like to comment on this assignment?
In 1996 you resigned from CSM and set up MEI. As a successful author you had experience with publishing but as an independent, self-funded operator you must have learnt quickly about many other aspects of the business. Any comments?
|The first photo of the MEI team, Falmouth 2003|
|With the IMPC Award in Chile with IJMP editor Prof. Mauricio Torem|
and IMPC Chairman Prof. Cyril O’Connor
20 years at CSM give you the authority to comment on our current mineral technology education system. Your comments in 1966 when you finished the course at Leeds were ‘The lecturers at Leeds were, with a few exceptions, not particularly inspiring. It was fairly obvious that to be a good, inspirational lecturer required a combination of enthusiasm, confidence and deep knowledge of the subject’. High quality mineral courses are being abandoned because student numbers are small and they do not fit the modern university which emphasise large numbers. Should courses for the mineral industry have different standards to other courses for evaluation?
You have unrivalled experience of mineral technology. What problems do you see ahead as we cope with declining grades and rising tonnages of metal ores?
USBM has gone, do we have the right research structure to solve these problems?
Unfortunately we must finish this fascinating interview. I have two final questions
In contrast to China, most of the minerals engineering programmes in western universities have died or are dying, while the technical challenges of designing and operating effective process plants are increasing, such that the ability to run efficient mineral processing operations has been severely compromised. I don't have an answer to how we might encourage more young people into our industry, the Institutes and the IMPC must take a lead here, and are doing so, but while quantity may be a problem, my perception is that the quality of young metallurgists and researchers graduating into the industry has improved markedly. Little over a decade ago many post-graduate students presenting their work at international conferences lacked confidence and looked to their supervisors to respond to difficult questions from the audience. Now, however, there is an authority to their presentations, and the manner of their handling of discussions shows a real depth of knowledge of their work and this is a cause for optimism for the future.
Barry, I also was an accidental participant in mineral processing, a few years before you. So I speak with authority when I say how much I admire your contribution to recording its social and technical development during 50 years. Thank you for the opportunity for such a memorable conversation.