Thursday, 25 May 2017

We welcome Cheminova as a sponsor of Flotation '17

Danish company Cheminova, who is sponsoring MEI's flotation series for the 4th time, was established in Copenhagen by Gunnar Andreasen, a chemical engineer, in 1938.
The company has grown to become an important manufacturer of plant protection chemicals, chemical intermediates, and flotation chemicals.

In 1953 Cheminova moved its manufacturing plant to its present western Jutland location on the Rønland peninsula between the North Sea and the Liim Fiord. Because elemental phosphorus and sulphur raw materials are delivered directly to the plant, Cheminova’s manufacturing is completely vertically integrated and provides Cheminova considerable infrastructural advantages, which have been an important factor in its growth. Additionally the location allows it to effectively manage costs, final product quality and responsiveness to customers.
Cheminova has become a well-established leader in the production of organophosphate reagents and chemicals, the flotation chemical product line being a very important product line extension to its agricultural chemicals because the dithiophosphate phosphorus-sulphur chemistries are quite complementary to the agriculture chemicals, which are also phosphorus and sulphur based.
A wide range of flotation dithiophosphate reagents are produced in acid and aqueous solution forms, the latter using sodium, potassium or ammonium hydroxide for neutralization. To ensure that the products provide the best possible mineral processing circuit performance, Cheminova has developed dithiophosphate mixtures and mixtures of dithiophosphates with mercaptobenzothiazole and thionocarbamates that have been tailored for the rigorous needs of the mining industry.  In order to provide a full complement of flotation reagent products, Cheminova also supplies some frothers.
Current Flotation '17 sponsors

Monday, 22 May 2017

Flotation '17- Final Call for Abstracts

A reminder that if you would like to present a paper at Flotation '17 in Cape Town in November, short abstracts should be submitted by the end of this month.
Networking at Flotation '15
This is a great opportunity to meet all the leading players in the flotation field, and also to have your paper considered for a special flotation issue of Minerals Engineering.
As always the conference will have an associated exhibition, and the dinner this year will be held at the Lagoon Beach Hotel, with its classic view of Table Mountain.
Process Mineralogy '17 conference dinner at Lagoon Beach Hotel
More information can be found on the posting of 10th April.

It is now widely accepted that this series of Conferences are 'must attend' events for both flotation researchers and practitioners. The great value of attending the Conference is that it provides an excellent forum for an exchange of views among those doing more fundamental research and those from industry who are able to share their successes and challenges with the audience. This is why the Conference makes such a valuable contribution to the practice of flotation...
Prof. Cyril O’Connor, Chairman, International Mineral Processing Council


Friday, 19 May 2017

May's Cornish Mining Sundowner on the north coast

Due to other commitments last night was my first Cornwall Mining Sundowner since January. Our normal summer haunt, Falmouth's Chain Locker is currently undergoing extensive renovation, so for the foreseeable future the sundowner venue will be shunted around west Cornwall.
Last night's meeting was in the north Cornwall village of Portreath, in the Portreath Arms Hotel, with a busy bar which just about managed to accommodate the 20+ regular sundowners, and a few new faces.
The mineral processing contingent was made up of myself, and my old CSM colleague Tony Clarke, as well as Nick and Flee Wilshaw, of Comminution '18 sponsor Grinding Solutions Ltd, and Dave Goldburn, formerly with SGS Minerals Services. SGS recently abandoned its UK operation in Cornwall, and Dave is now Operations Manager with Physical Separation '17 sponsor Holman-Wilfley. I look forward to seeing both Nick and Dave at Physical Separation '17 in 3 weeks time, when our usual first evening coastal path walk will this year end with drinks at the Quayside Inn, rather than our familiar Chain Locker.
Nick, Barbara, Tony, Dave, Flee and me
Twitter @barrywills

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Sustainable Minerals special issue published

Volume 107 (June 2017) of Minerals Engineering is now available on ScienceDirect, and contains 14 selected papers from Sustainable Minerals '16, which was held in Falmouth, Cornwall last June, including a very timely and thought-provoking keynote paper by Prof. Robin Batterham on the mine of the future. The conference proceedings, containing all the unrefereed papers, is available on USB from MEI Online.
Sustainable Minerals '18, MEI's 5th conference in the series, will be held in Windhoek, Namibia in June next year, back to back with Biohydromet '18.
Twitter @barrywills

Monday, 15 May 2017

Flotation- it's a lot older than you think!

In my posting of 10th April I commented on the fact that, although the 'invention' of flotation is often attributed to Francis Elmore in his patent of 1904, there was much interest prior to this, particularly in Australia, as there was a desperate need to develop a process which could be used to concentrate base metal ores, as gravity concentration was becoming impractical as the ores became leaner and more complex.
Amongst the comments on the posting was a very interesting one from Dr. Martin Rudolph, of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, Germany, who  advised that the flotation process will in fact celebrate its 140th birthday on July 2nd this year!
It was on that day in 1877 when August and Adolph Bessel patented the first flotation process related to the beneficiation of graphite from a mine in south east Germany, which is still in operation today, currently operated by Graphit Kropfmühl GmbH, part of AMG Mining AG.
Martin has procured a copy of the 1877 patent and has kindly translated it into English:

Patent 1877 - No 42 – Class 22 Bessel Brothers (August Bessel and Adolph Bessel) in Dresden, Germany

Process for refining Graphite

Patented in the Deutsches Reich (German Reich) beginning July 2nd 1877

The crude impure graphite is mixed with a small quantity (1 - 10 pCt) of an organic substance which, when liquid, is not water-soluble or only slightly miscible, when solid, is neither dissolved in or wetted by water. These substances, as far as they can be practically used, are as follows:

1. All the fatty oils and rigid fats of the animal and plant kingdoms, and the fatty acids which can be obtained from them,
2. All etheric oils,
3. All the resins of the vegetable and mineral kingdom, their dissolutions, and the oils which can be obtained from them by dry distillation,
4. The rubber bodies, their dissolutions, and oils which can be obtained by dry distillation,
5. The so-called balsams of commerce,
6. Crude and refined petroleum, the by-products of refining, both the more volatile ones, such as ligroine, petroleum alcohol, and petroleum ether, as well as the less volatile, the so-called volcanic and engine oils,
7. Tar of brown coal, hard coal, wood, and peat, as well as the oily products of the distillation of these tars, as well as the residues remaining during their distillation,
8. Pitch of the trade,
9. Paraffin,
10. Gasoline,
11. Potato fusel alcohols,
12. Beeswax and vegetable waxes, as well as all oils obtained from those by dry distillation,
13. Shale oils and tar from sands,
14. Ozokerite,
15. Whale fat and whale oil,
16. Oils of bones obtained by dry distillation, as well as boiling out bones,
17. Cheese types of the trade,
18. Any mixtures and dissolutions of the bodies listed above.

The mixture of the graphite with the chosen body is made as intimate as possible so that all parts of the former come into contact with it. The mixture is then poured into water and the latter is heated until vigorous boiling. During this cooking the flakes of the graphite are observed to rise within the liquid while the earthy substances (clays) remain on the ground. The graphite floating on top is drained off and dried. If the graphite is simply boiled with water without prior mixing with any of the substances mentioned, such separation does not take place, nor is this done by desliming. The operation proceeds preferably with the flaky varieties of graphite.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Martin. We look forward to seeing you and your team in Cape Town in November for Flotation '17, and hopefully your translation might lead to some interesting ideas on 'new' reagents!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Brief encounter in a cold and wet Trebah

Trebah Gardens, on the Helford River, just outside Falmouth, is one of Cornwall's great gardens, and is rated in the top 80 gardens in the world.
Trebah in late summer (source unknown)
Unfortunately it was not at its very best yesterday, however, as it was unseasonably cold and wet, but Barbara and I took the 15 minute drive to catch up with Roger and Janet Thomas, and Rod and Kathy Whyte, who we had met up with just over a year ago in Cape Town to reminisce about our Zambian Copperbelt experiences (posting of 19th April 2016). The four of them are on a cruise around the British Isles, and this morning visited St. Michael's Mount in Marazion (posting of 18 October 2010), before being coached to Falmouth for their Trebah experience.
Roger, Janet, Kathy, Rod, Barbara and me in a very wet Trebah
No matter what the weather, the walk through the Garden, with its rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias, onto Trebah beach is spectacular, and the beach at the bottom of the garden is an idyllic spot on the Helford River. In 1944, the beach was used as an embarkation point for a regiment of 7,500 of the 29th US Infantry Division for the assault landing on Omaha beach, part of the D -Day Landings.
An artist's impression of Trebah Beach, 1944
As I pointed out to Roger and Janet, the weather in Cornwall is as capricious as that of Cape Town, and for their benefit, this is what they might have seen on the beach if the weather had been a little better!

Friday, 12 May 2017

CIM Fellowship Award to John Starkey

The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum awards the CIM Fellowship for outstanding continuous contributions to CIM and/or the mining, metallurgical and petroleum industries.
Amongst this year's distinguished recipients is John Starkey, awarded for his "outstanding contribution to the mineral processing field". He also becomes a CSM Distinguished Lecturer, in recognition of his "remarkable contribution to comminution design and practice", and as such will speak at CIM Branch and Student Chapter meetings across Canada.
John Starkey CIM Fellowship
John Starkey (left) receiving the award from CIM President Michael Winship
John has presented incisive papers on SAG Mill Design at all MEI comminution conferences since 2012, and his company Starkey & Associates is a regular sponsor of these events. In conferences around the world he has presented thirty papers describing his work and progress in ore testing, and is a frequent lecturer globally at universities, teaching the fundamentals of AG/SAG grinding mill operation and design. 
Comminution '16
Comminution '16: John Starkey and Spencer Reeves, of Starkey & Associates, with
Peter Radziszewki, of Metso, Canada and Brian Loveday of University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
John Starkey is a Mining Engineer from the University of Toronto, with 15 years experience in mines and process plants, 15 years in process design, and 27 years as a Licensed Consulting Engineer. His career includes work at Kam Kotia, Kidd Creek, and INCO mines and mills.  He also worked at Kilborn for 12 years designing the Gays River, East Kemptville and Quintette process plants. He invented and co-developed the SPI and SAGDesign tests which are both widely used in industry today for the measurement of ore hardness for AG and SAG mill designs. His mission is to capture for clients the rich benefits of SAG milling technology, to help them find the most economical way to grind their ore.
On behalf of all of us at MEI, many congratulations John, and also to your wife Donna, who I am sure has contributed greatly to your success. We look forward to seeing you both in Cape Town for Comminution '18.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Announcing Process Mineralogy '18

We are pleased to announce that Process Mineralogy '18, the 5th in the series, will be held from November 19-21 next year. Originally intended to be held in Cancun, Mexico, and announced as such at Process Mineralogy '17, for various reasons this was not to be. The conference will now be held in our familiar and truly excellent facilities at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town.
Delegates at Process Mineralogy '17 relaxing in the Vineyard Hotel gardens
We would like to welcome our first early sponsor, ZEISS, now a very regular sponsor of MEI Conferences, who is sponsoring the Process Mineralogy series for the 4th time.
Activity at the ZEISS booth at Process Mineralogy '14
An added bonus next year will be a brand new 2-day conference which will immediately follow Process Mineralogy '18- more news of that in a week or so!

Monday, 8 May 2017

A Rising Star: Kate Tungpalan

Dr. Kate Tungpalan has impressed us at two recent MEI Conferences. At Process Mineralogy '14 she represented the University of Queensland’s JKMRC as a post-graduate student, presenting a paper relating mineralogical and textural characteristics to flotation behaviour.
At this year's Process Mineralogy '17 she presented a paper on behalf of the University of the Philippines and was also awarded a prize for one of the best presentations.
With the JKMRC team at Process Mineralogy '14:  Elaine Wightman,
Tamsyn Parker, Kate Tungpalan, Riza Mariano and Vannie Resabal
Process Mineralogy '17: Kate and fellow prize-winner, Pierre-Henri Koch,
with Process Mineralogy book authors Megan Becker, Elaine Wightman and Cathy Evans

Kate relaxing with delegates at Process Mineralogy '17
Kate Tungpalan, who is currently an assistant professor in the department of mining, metallurgical and materials engineering at the University of the Philippines, was born on 8 June in 1984, the eldest of three children, in Cagayan, a province in the northern Philippines. Both her parents are agriculturists, but her mother became a teacher.
She was inspired to take up mineral processing as a career as she saw it as a challenge when she undertook plant practice at Philex Mines, Philippines. She says that the mining industry in the Philippines is dominated by men, and there were not many women pursuing mineral processing as a career, whether in operations, research or in academia.  She was initially inspired by the environmental and social implications of mineral processing (or mining in general). So on leaving school she studied Environmental Engineering at the University of the Philippines and in 2011 was awarded a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering for her research topic on dissolved air flotation for the removal of nickel particles in wastewater.
Kate then took up "a great postgraduate offer" from the JKMRC in Australia. Prof Emmy Manlapig and his colleagues from The University of Queensland were looking for students to study the ore from Tampakan (an undeveloped copper porphyry deposit in the Philippines, at that time owned by Xstrata Copper). They came to the University of the Philippines during the time when Kate was finishing her Masters. Dr. Herman Mendoza introduced her to them, which led to Xstrata Copper funded her PhD research, and the Australia Awards Scholarships funding her living allowance in Australia.
Kate, Ian Morley Prize winner, with Elaine Wightman and Cathy Evans
She carried out research under the supervision of Prof Emmy Manlapig, Dr Elaine Wightman and Dr Luke Keeney, investigating textural drivers for separation performance in a variable and complex ore, the subject of her presentation at Process Mineralogy ’14. She was awarded a PhD in 2016 and during her time at JKMRC was also awarded the Ian Morley Prize, which is awarded annually for the best all-round postgraduate student at the JKMRC.
Apart from her PhD research, Prof Manlapig also involved her in different projects, one of which was a project at the Sustainable Minerals Institute of The University of Queensland called Designer Tailings. Kate says that she felt very fortunate to be involved as “it gave me the opportunity to work with researchers in different fields and I learned a lot about time management. And of course, it’s not just about work, I was involved in extra-curricular activities in the university such as organising and participating in student conferences and social events. There is an organisation of Filipino students in UQ and we made it a point to get together once in a while.
Bush walking with Filipino friends
Kate at Ayers Rock
Kate travelled extensively within and outside Australia during her time at JKMRC and did not have a hard time adopting to the Australian life “because it’s so multicultural. My friends are of different nationalities and with different personalities. And that’s one of the things that I will always be grateful for, as doing my PhD at the JKMRC was not just about my degree but more importantly the friendships that I built with the people there.  I felt at home when I was in Brisbane!”

With fellow JKMRC students
Kate returned to the University of the Philippines last year and is now enjoying teaching and being with young people. She is also part of a research team that is helping the artisanal miners in the country, via a government-funded project that aims to establish an environment-friendly technology for them. Her aim for the near future is to develop the project such that most, if not all, artisanal miners in the Philippines will shift to this environmentally-friendly technology. She says “it’s not easy to convince them but I believe in my team!”
Kate and her team at the University of the Philippines
In the long term she hopes to inspire more students to appreciate mineral processing and to take up the challenge of pursuing a career in mineral processing. She also hopes to continue to travel and enjoy nature. She loves nature, climbing/hiking mountains and enjoying the beach, and she is also a keen photographer and badminton player. She dreams of visiting the “must-see” places in the world and climbing the most beautiful mountains in the world. She says that she feels ashamed that she has travelled more in Australia, during her PhD, than in her own country, where “I hear foreigners have been to more places in Philippines than me!” So now her goal is to travel around the Philippines and to discover its beauty. “Although it is tiring, it is my goal to visit a place at least once a month”.
Hiking Table Mountain, Cape Town, with Process Mineralogy '14 delegates
We expect to hear much more of Kate, her travels and her career in future.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Mousehole to Lamorna

Mousehole (pronounced Mouzel) is the quintessential Cornish fishing village, its picturesque harbour and narrow streets attracting hordes of summertime visitors. Situated on Cornwall's south coast, between Penzance and Land's End, it was sacked by the Spaniards in July 1595 when the entire village, apart from one house, was burnt to the ground.
Mousehole, Cornwall
Mousehole harbour
The short walk from the harbour, south to Lamorna Cove, is only 2.5 miles, but has a total elevation ascent of 450 ft, the first one and a half miles being very much up and down, involving a bit of scrambling up large granite boulders on a footpath which can be quite boggy due to the numerous small streams flowing down the cliff. However once through the Kemyel Crease woodland, it becomes much easier, and after two miles a climb to the Carn Du headland reveals a glorious view of Lamorna Cove.
Mousehole, Cornwall
Leaving Mousehole
The footpath to Kemyel Crease
In the Kemyel Crease woodland
Approaching Lamorna Cove
Approaching Lamorna Cove

Monday, 1 May 2017

BASF, a new sponsor for Flotation '17

We welcome BASF, one of the world's leading chemical to Flotation '17. This is the first time that this international company has sponsored an MEI conference.

Current Flotation '17 sponsors

This is also an opportune time to remind everyone that the deadline for submission of abstracts is the end of this month. More information on the conference can be found on the posting of 10th April.

Delegates at Flotation '15


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Swanpool Beach to Falmouth Town

Swanpool Beach, Falmouth
Falmouth is the home of MEI, and was recently voted the best place to live in south-west England. Personally there is no other place in the world that I would rather be, and this stretch of the Cornish coast path I have walked countless times, often with MEI Conference delegates, but never tire of it. It is not a typical coast path walk, in that it is all on paved pathways, but nevertheless is one of the easiest and most rewarding of Cornish walks.

Swanpool to Falmouth Town map
Falmouth lies between two beautiful rivers, the Helford to the south and the Fal to the north and after walking over the cliffs from the Helford River, crossing Falmouth's most southerly beach at Maenporth  (posting of 10th April 2015) we arrive at Swanpool Beach and the start of the 4.3 mile leisurely stroll to the River Fal and the border between west and east Cornwall.

Swanpool Beach, Falmouth
Swanpool Beach
Early print of the old Swanpool Mine
Although there is little evidence of it now, there was a lead-silver mine at Swanpool in the mid-19th century, and arsenic was also recovered by calcining, the remains of the arsenic works being visible on the cliffs to the west until being grassed over early this century. Pennance Point to the west, where the fumes were discharged, is still known locally as Stack Point.

Before leaving Swanpool Beach, cross the road and take a look at the lovely small lake, from which the beach takes its name. Swanpool, a reserve to an abundance of birds, is fed by the little Bickland stream, and overflows into the sea via a culvert under the road.

Swanpool, Falmouth
When leaving the beach take the upper path and walk across Boscawen field with its great view of Falmouth's main beach, Gyllyngvase, and the distance docks and castle.

Boscawen Field, Falmouth
Boscawen Field
Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth
Gyllyngvase Beach
Gyllyngvase Beach marks the start of Falmouth's beautiful mile long Victorian promenade, which passes the lovely Gyllyngdune Gardens and the Princess Pavillion, where on balmy summer evenings it is worth stopping for a beer and listening to the brass band playing in the Edwardian bandstand.

The promenade, Falmouth, Cornwall
Strolling along the 'prom'
The promenade in Edwardian days
Metamorphosed Devonian sediments at Castle Beach
Castle Beach at the end of the promenade is a favourite for locals, as children love to explore the many rock pools at low tide. And if you are interested in geology, take a look at the rocks on the beach. They are over 400 millions years old, some of the oldest rocks in England. They were originally laid down as sandstone and silt sediments in the Devonian era, and remained undisturbed as horizontal strata for over 100 million years, until they were uplifted and deformed by the tremendous pressures of tectonic plates coming together in the final phase of the formation of the supercontinent Pangea. This uplifting produced the Variscan mountain range, the eroded remnants of which are America's Appalachians, the Urals, the Pyrenees, and, in SW England, the high moors of Dartmoor and Bodmin. This unimaginable tectonic pressure also partly melted the underlying mantle, which eventually solidified into a giant granite batholith, which underlies most of Cornwall, outcropping in several areas. The hot granite baked the deformed sediments into a hard metamorphic rock known locally as killas, which cracked as it cooled, allowing mineral laden waters to rise from the mantle, and crystallise in the cracks. In many parts of Cornwall tin and copper minerals crystallised, while in Falmouth you will see white quartz crystallised into these cracks.
Pendennis Castle, Falmouth
Pendennis Castle
The promenade takes us to the scenic Castle Drive, leading to the Pendennis Headland and the estuary of the River Fal. The 16th century Pendennis Castle (posting of 4th April 2012) dominates the headland, and on the tip of the headland itself is the Little Dennis blockhouse, built as a look out post during the construction of the main castle. The blockhouse overlooks the estuary and the wide expanse of water known as Carrick Roads, which separates Falmouth from the Roseland peninsula, and the village of St. Mawes, which also boasts its own 16th century castle (posting of 20th September 2014). Both castles were built to guard the estuary and the access to the old town of Penryn.
Pendennis Headland, Falmouth and Carrick Roads
MEI Conference delegates by the Little Dennis Blockhouse, overlooking Carrick Roads and St. Mawes
The Carrick Roads waterway was created at the end of the last Ice Age when sea levels rose dramatically and created a huge natural harbour. The Carrick Roads take the form of a classic ria, or drowned river valley, and is dominated by a deep, meandering channel, navigable all the way from Falmouth to Truro. The channel, the ancient River Fal, is navigable by very large vessels, and is up to 35 metres deep, but the banks rise steeply to depths of only around 10 metres.
From the headland the best route is up via the Coast Guard Station to the castle's dry moat, passing some of the large guns which were positioned on the headland during WW2.
Pendennis Castle Moat, Falmouth
Pendennis Castle moat
From the moat we arrive back on Castle Drive and the great view of Falmouth's huge ship repair docks, perfectly situated in the world’s third largest natural deep water harbour.
Falmouth docks
Castle Drive and Falmouth Docks
From the docks it is a short walk into Falmouth town, passing the docks railway station, the terminus for the Maritime Line from Truro, which was opened in 1863. The area from Events Square, home of the Maritime Museum,  and on to Arwenack Street, has some of the world's finest eclectic restaurants, as well as some great pubs, including the Chain Locker on Customs House Quay, the venue for most of the Cornish Mining Sundowners and a final watering hole for MEI Conference delegates after their guided coastal walk.
MEI Conference delegates by the harbour, at Events Square

Restaurants, Events Square, Falmouth
Al Fresco Restaurants, Events Square
Customs House Quay and the Inner Harbour, Falmouth
Customs House Quay and the Inner Harbour
Falmouth's bustling town centre stretching almost a mile from Arwenack Street, to Market Street and the High Street, has a whole range of shops and art galleries, and many coffee and pasty shops.
Market Street, leading to the High Street on the right
Just before the High Street is the Prince of Wales Pier, the border between West and East Cornwall, with its great views across the Penryn River to the tiny village of Flushing. From here ferries leave for St. Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula.

Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth, Cornwall
Prince of Wales Pier
The view from the Prince of Wales pier, across the Penryn River to Flushing
The view from the Prince of Wales pier, across the Penryn River to Flushing
More Cornish Walks
Twitter @barrywills