Monday, 15 August 2016
We are delighted to welcome Dr. Bill Johnson, Senior Principal Consulting Engineer, Mineralis Consultants Pty Ltd and Adjunct Professor, JKMRC, SMI, University of Queensland, into the MEI fold.
Bill is well known for providing technical courses for professional development of metallurgists from industry and in 1981 was co-author, with Alban Lynch and others, of Mineral and Coal Flotation Circuits: Their Simulation and Control.
Bill has had extensive industrial and academic experience, and on joining the CSIRO Division of Mineral Engineering in 1978 his main project was research on the Zinc-Lead Concentrator at Mount Isa Mines Limited. In 1982 he moved to Mount Isa where he continued applied research on the difficult ore treated in the Zinc-Lead Concentrator and other plants and ores of MIM Holdings, becoming the Minerals Processing Research Manager (1989-1997) of the laboratory and pilot plant facilities at the operating site in Mount Isa (see also posting of 13 November 2013).
Development of a circuit for McArthur River zinc-lead ore recommenced in August 1989 under his direction; this ore had even more difficult properties than the Mount Isa zinc-lead ore, well known for its difficult properties; one important outcome of the McArthur River project was the IsaMill technology, for which he and his colleague Joe Pease, a keynote lecturer at this year's Comminution '16, have been nominated in the comminution section for the 2016 International Mining Hall of Fame, the results of which will be announced in October. The photo below shows the Mount Isa Mines mineral processing research team in 1995, with Joe 6th left and Bill 8th left.
Bill will present his keynote in the Applications section of Flotation '17 in Cape Town, the Fundamentals keynote lecturer being Prof. Roe-Hoan Yoon. Dr. Johnson will discuss the wide range of opportunities which exist for greatly increasing the efficiency of concentrators, in their design and by retro-fitting existing concentrators, but exploitation of the opportunities will depend on the perceived urgency for this change within the mineral industry by companies. The industry has left behind a recent decade of unusually high product prices which resulted in an emphasis on “production at almost any cost” and which resulted in an emphasis on rapidly designing, constructing and operating new concentrators, reducing the scope for innovation in the concentrator and increasing reliance on some standardization of the designs.
He will show how, for each deposit, the design and operation of a concentrator should be considered within the framework of optimisation of the total mining/processing sequence. It would be necessary to evaluate the potential for identification and rejection of low grade uneconomic portions of the mined material for each deposit. The evaluation would recognize those deposits for which the approach is applicable, resulting in an improvement of feed quality early in the mining/processing sequence. This aspect, which at present often only receives cursory attention for most design studies, can also be assessed for an existing mining/processing sequence for which retro-fitting is a possibility. Within a new concentrator important options giving improvements in metallurgical and energy efficiencies will be described. Some of these options may also be implementable for an existing concentrator.
He will also consider some important concentrator designs from the past, because of the instructive design approaches and because of their relevance for future designs.
There is a lot to look forward to at Flotation '17!