Sunday, 20 January 2019

Flotation '19: Call for Abstracts

Flotation '19 is MEI's 9th International Flotation Conference, a series regarded by IMPC Chairman Prof. Cyril O'Connor as 'must attend' events for both flotation researchers and practitioners. He felt that the great value is the provision of an excellent forum for 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.
The value in presenting a paper at Flotation '19 is evident from the many testimonials received from earlier events, and we are now inviting short abstracts for the November conference, which should be submitted by email no later than the end of May. The conference features two discrete symposia, Flotation Fundamentals and Flotation Applications and Practice, and abstracts accepted for oral presentation will require an accompanying draft paper, which will be included in the unrefereed Proceedings, which will be available to delegates at the conference. Draft papers are optional, but strongly preferred, for papers accepted for poster presentation.
After discussion at the conference, all authors will be invited to submit final papers to Elsevier for peer-review with a view to publication in Minerals Engineering journal. The papers will also be collated into a Virtual Special Issue (VSI) of the journal on ScienceDirect (see Flotation '17 VSI). As the conference itself is regarded as the first stage of peer-review, VSI papers are in effect 'fast tracked' and the acceptance rate is much higher than with regular journal submissions (see the posting of 13th January for full details on the advantages of submission to a VSI).
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the death of one of the 20th Century's foremost flotation and colloid scientists, Dr. Joseph Kitchener, of Imperial College, UK. We are honoured that Prof. John Ralston, the first Director of Australia's Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia, who worked under Dr. Kitchener at Imperial College, will present the keynote lecture in the Fundamentals Symposium, which will trace the scientific legacy of a hugely gifted man and show how it underpins a significant amount of modern research in mineral flotation and colloid science.
More than a century after its adoption and adaptation as a major mineral separation technology within the mining industry, significant new developments in flotation continue to appear. A number of important contributions have come from Canadians and a selection of these will be highlighted by Dr. Jan Nesset, of NesseTech Consulting Services Inc., Canada, in the keynote lecture in the Applications Symposium.
Apart from what I am sure will evolve into another fine technical programme, there is much more to look forward to at Flotation '19, including an associated exhibition, as always held in the main 'networking area' where the conference breaks for coffee and lunch.
And there will be more great networking opportunities at the evening sundowners and at the conference dinner at the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
Sundowner at Flotation '17
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
If you are travelling from overseas to Cape Town it would be a shame to miss out on some of the wonderful things to see in Southern Africa, in South Africa itself, and in neighbouring Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Make the most of your time in November!
Finally a big thanks to the support of our sponsors, who in no small way help us to put on what is now regarded as the world's major flotation event.

The latest updates can be found at #Flotation19.
Twitter @barrywills

Friday, 18 January 2019

Pleasant surprises at the first Cornish Mining Sundowner of the year

There was a great attendance last night for the first Cornish Mining Sundowner of the year, at Falmouth's Chain Locker pub.
A group of sundowner regulars
I was surprised and pleased to see Mike Battersby and Steve Flatman, of Flotation '19 sponsor Maelgwyn Mineral Services (MMS), who had travelled down from Wales to visit local companies Cornish Lithium, Petrolab and Comminution '20 sponsor Grinding Solutions Ltd (GSL). MMS is considering coming down here again in June for Physical Separation '19.
With GSL's Nick Wilshaw, Alan Matthews and MMS's Mike Battersby and Steve Flatman
It was good to see representatives from Cornish Lithium, celebrating the fact that yesterday the company raised a further £1 million from existing investors to explore for lithium brines in Cornwall and to drill exploratory boreholes to extract samples of lithium-bearing brines from key locations. Lithium-bearing brines continue to be the focus of the company but recent research has demonstrated potential for the company to extend its activities to include hard-rock sources of lithium and other metals.
Exploratory drilling was also on the mind of Tony Batchelor, of GeoScience Ltd, based in Falmouth. Tony, the "father of Cornish geothermal energy" is a consultant to the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power Project, which commenced drilling in November (posting of 1st November 2018), and has now reached a depth of 1645 metres.
Tony (right) with Cornish Lithium staff
As always the sundowner proved immensely enjoyable, as well as a great opportunity for networking. The next sundowner will be held in the Stannary Bar on the University of Exeter's Tremough Campus, on Thursday 21st February, following a progress report at 6pm on Cornwall's major mining projects, Cornish Lithium, South Crofty Mine, and Redmoor.
Twitter @barrywills

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Two important MEI deadlines fast approaching

The end of this month is the deadline for abstracts for Computational Modelling '19 and Physical Separation '19, which will be held in Falmouth, Cornwall in June. More information is on the posting of 24th November 2018.
If you would like to nominate a young person for the MEI Young Person's Award, then please submit your nomination by the end of the month. Full details are on the posting of 13th December 2018.
Twitter @barrywills

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Five more companies confirm support of MEI Conferences

We are pleased to announce that during the past few weeks five more companies have committed to sponsorship of upcoming MEI Conferences.
Hudbay Minerals is a Canadian integrated mining company with operations, development properties and exploration activities across the Americas, principally focused on the discovery, production and marketing of base and precious metals. Hudbay's properties include the Flin Flon copper and zinc facilities and Lalor mine in Manitoba, Canada; the Constancia copper and molybdenum facilities in southern Peru; and the Rosemont copper/molybdenum project in Arizona, United States, which is currently in the permitting phase.
The company has had no previous involvement with MEI Conferences, but its new Vice-President of Technical Services certainly has. Dr. Peter Amelunxen was the first recipient of the MEI Young Person's Award. Prior to joining Hudbay he was a consultant to the company and also served as President of Aminpro Peru’s metallurgical laboratory and engineering team.
Aminpro sponsored the previous 3 MEI flotation conferences, and Hudbay has now committed to sponsoring not only Flotation '19, but also Physical Separation '19 and Comminution '20. Peter says "...over the past years I have participated and presented in various MEI Flotation and Process Mineralogy conferences, all in Cape Town.  I always look forward to these conferences for the excellent organization and the great socializing and networking opportunities that they present, but in particular the concentration of high quality papers and presentations is second to none in our field". 
ZEISS has become, in recent years, one of MEI's most dedicated followers. With its Mineralogic Systems solutions it is a world leader in automated mineralogy. The company has now confirmed its sponsorship of Flotation '19, and Comminution '20, the 3rd time it has sponsored these series. ZEISS has also committed to Process Mineralogy '20, the 5th time it has sponsored the series, and is also sponsoring Hi-Tech Metals '20, the first sponsor of this new series. The company will also be running a free workshop immediately following Process Mineralogy '20, addressing the mining value chain with 2D, 3D and 4D microscopy solutions.
Nouryon may be an unfamiliar name, but the well-known former AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, a sponsor of Flotation '15, was relaunched as Nouryon a few months ago. The move follows the acquisition of the business by The Carlyle Group and marks the company’s transition to becoming an independent, global specialty chemicals leader. We welcome Nouryon as a sponsor of Flotation '19.
The advanced materials and specialty chemicals company Solvay, is once more sponsoring a flotation conference, having supported Flotation '17. Prior to that US-based Cytec was a regular sponsor of the flotation series of conferences, but at the end of 2015 the company was acquired by Solvay.
Finally we welcome Senmin who will be sponsoring Flotation '19, the 7th time they have sponsored the series. Senmin is a South African manufacturer and supplier of mining chemicals used in the beneficiation of a wide range of ores such as platinum, copper, zinc, coal etc, as well as polyacrylamides used for tailings treatment. The company has recently invested in state-of-the-art technology to meet expanding mining requirements and deliver new specialty products, complementing its existing product range to meet the growing demands of mines throughout South and Southern Africa, Australasia and Chile.
The latest updates on all the conferences can be found at #PhysicalSeparation19, #Flotation19, #Comminution20, #HiTechMetals20 and #ProcessMineralogy20.
The latest 5 sponsors of MEI Conferences

Sunday, 13 January 2019

The advantages of publishing your paper in a Minerals Engineering Virtual Special Issue

Minerals Engineering came into being in 1988 (posting of 8th January 2013) and for the first 27 years I was the sole editor. In November 2014 Elsevier appointed Dr. Pablo Brito-Parada, of Imperial College, as my very able and professional associate editor, and the two of us worked together until the merger of International Journal of Mineral Processing (IJMP) into Minerals Engineering at the beginning of this year.
The merger also involved the merger of the Editorial Boards of the two journals, with Dr. Kristian Waters, of McGill University, one of the previous IJMP editors, being appointed as a co-editor with Pablo, and I remaining as Editor-in-Chief. In a move to bring young researchers into the journal structure, Elsevier appointed 6 assistant editors, to work directly with Pablo and Kristian.
The route from receipt of a paper to final decision on publication is therefore markedly different from that of a few years ago.
If you wish to have a paper considered for Minerals Engineering, you submit your manuscript online via the journal website. Elsevier technical staff then make checks, mainly on format, and if approved the paper is then passed on to me. My main role is to assess the potential of the paper for the journal, mainly to ensure that it falls within the scope, it is sufficiently innovative and the science and English are sound.
If your paper passes my 'first filter' I then pass it on to one of the Editors, who then takes full responsibility for the paper. If the handling editor feels, after further reviews of the content, that the paper is worthy he will send the work off for review to two specialists from our +275 strong data base. Or he may appoint an Assistant Editor to look after the peer-review process, requesting revisions where necessary until the time comes for a final decision.
This new system is certainly more time consuming than the previous, and may appear cumbersome, but I fully approve of it as it is bringing 'new blood' into the journal and fresh ideas.
However, papers submitted to a Virtual Special Issue (VSI) move through a very different route, and are essentially 'fast-tracked'. The Editors and Assistant Editors play no part in the review process, authors dealing solely with me.
Let's take a look at the route to publication of a VSI paper to see why your paper is handled so differently:
VSIs are ScienceDirect compilations of papers presented at MEI Conferences. In order to present your work at such a conference, you will have submitted a short abstract to me for assessment. If approved you will have the opportunity of presenting your work either orally or by poster, and you will be required to submit a draft paper prior to the conference. This draft paper will not be refereed, but will be made available to all conference delegates as part of the Proceedings, and will essentially be a discussion document at the meeting. MEI Conferences provide ample time for discussions with other delegates, and we regard the conference as the first peer-review of your paper. 
 After the conference, as a result of discussions, you are asked to amend your draft if necessary, and then to submit online to Minerals Engineering. The paper, identified as a VSI submission, will then be handled directly by me and two reviewers. I always stress, however, that even by this 'fast-track' route there is no guarantee of publication. Many good conference papers are not ideal journal papers (posting of 21 January 2010), but even so, there is a higher chance of publication after your conference experience, and in 2017 the rejection rate of VSI submissions was 53% compared with 82% for non-VSI papers.  
Another great advantage of the VSI system is that there is no hard copy of the special issue. This means that once your paper has been accepted for publication it will be immediately allocated to the next available regular issue of the journal (which does appear in hard copy), and the paper also compiled into its appropriate VSI (click here for an example).
If you are considering submitting your work to an MEI Conference, and then to a VSI, and need any clarification on the above, please do contact me directly.
Twitter @barrywills

Friday, 11 January 2019

The launching of the latest SME Mineral Processing Handbook

The SME Mineral Processing Handbook was first published in 1985 and rapidly became a standard reference, providing comprehensive coverage of all the unit operations in mineral processing, descriptions of process plants for more than 26 minerals and materials, and small sections on hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy. The authors of its many chapters contributed their collective expertise unselfishly to provide a handbook that was truly useful to all the practitioners of mineral processing—students, engineers, mill managers, and operators.
The search for an editor to take on the task of producing an updated handbook began in 2012, as the previous handbook went out of print in 2003 and there was a steady and undeniable demand for a new version. Professors S. Komar Kawatra and Courtney A. Young from Michigan Technological University and Montana Tech, respectively, submitted a joint handbook proposal that incorporated both mineral processing and extractive metallurgy. The proposal was unanimously approved by the SME Information Publishing Committee in 2013.
After six years of intense work by the authors, reviewers, editors, and SME book publishing team, the new SME Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Handbook is now here, comprising two volumes of 2,312 pages, with 128 chapters.
Once again, each chapter is authored by an acknowledged expert. These selfless experts, recruited by the editors, have each made an invaluable contribution. The chapters were skilfully organized and refined by the managing editor, Dr. Rob Dunne, of Rob Dunne Consulting, Australia, with the incomparable assistance of SME’s book publishing team, led by Jane Olivier, manager of book publishing, who initiated the project.
The new SME Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Handbook, which will be launched at the SME Annual Conference in Denver in February, provides up-to-date coverage of all mineral processing unit operations, but it also has much larger sections on hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy as well as a section on management and reporting, which discusses such topics as health and safety, community and social issues, and project management.  The new SME handbook is truly a timely document, addressing the new technologies and important cultural and social issues that are important to today’s minerals community.
Twitter @barrywills

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Mountains and Battlefields in KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal (courtesy Natal Tourism)
If you are travelling to Cape Town for an MEI Conference, it is a great opportunity to stay on and explore the diverse and beautiful regions of South Africa. We at MEI have travelled extensively in South Africa, and have shared our experiences on the blog. Cape Town is in one of the most beautiful provinces, the Western Cape, but there are equally beautiful areas, and one of the most interesting is KwaZulu-Natal, not only for its wonderful coastline, but for the impressive Drakensberg Mountains and its fascinating Battlefields area.
Barbara and I spent a week there in 2006, pre-blog days, so rather belatedly I am sharing our experiences now, as I would highly recommend this visit after a Cape Town conference.
We flew from Cape Town to Durban, rented a car and drove to the Southern Drakensberg mountains, where we based ourselves near the town of Underberg. In retrospect we maybe should have based ourselves at the stunning Cathedral Peak Hotel in the heart of the Drakensberg, a hiker's paradise, and close to the Battlefields.
Cathedral Peak Hotel
From Cathedral Peak it is an easy drive down into the heart of Zululand, which saw some bloody battles in the Anglo-Boer War, and of course during the Anglo-Zulu war, but prior to these wars, the Boers, trekking from British oppression in the Cape, encountered Zulu armies when trying to head towards the coast.
En route to Zululand
At Blood River a replica laager of 64 life-size bronze wagons stands on the site where on December 16th, 1838, a 464 man-strong Boer commando defeated a Zulu army of between 15,000 and 20,000. The Boers made a solemn vow to God that should they survive the battle, Afrikaners would hold the day sacred in perpetuity. 3000 Zulu, armed only with spears, were killed, and no Boers died, leading to the myth that the Afrikaners were God’s chosen people.
Blood River
The most humiliating defeat in British military history took place on January 22nd 1879, when virtually an entire force of 1700 men was obliterated at Isandlwana by Zulu warriors armed with spears.
Approaching Isandlwana
The battlefield remains unspoiled and unchanged, apart from the graves of those who died.
Inspired by their victory, 4000 Zulus, part of a reserve force, launched an attack on the mission station at Rorke’s Drift, across the Buffalo River in Natal. Of the contingent of 139 men at Rorke’s Drift, 35 were seriously ill. The battle raged through the night, until the Zulus retreated at dawn. Only 17 British soldiers died, and 11 VCs were awarded, more than any other battle in history.
The Mission Station at Rorke's Drift
Perhaps the highlight of our visit to KwaZulu-Natal was the journey into Lesotho from Underberg, via the Sani Pass, the only road from KwaZulu-Natal into Lesotho, which twists to the top of the escarpment up to the highest point on Southern Africa reachable on wheels. We were in a convoy, with an experienced driver and guide, the road being negotiable only by 4-wheel drive vehicles.
The stark scenery at the South Africa-Lesotho border
The final hairpins
Returning to Underberg
So, another trip for you to think about, just one of many unique experiences to enjoy in this amazing country.
Twitter @barrywills

Friday, 4 January 2019

We welcome Master Magnets as a sponsor of Physical Separation '19

A brand New Year welcomes in a brand new sponsor to MEI Conferences, UK company Master Magnets, who is providing support for Physical Separation '19 in June. Master Magnets was founded in 1978, and in 2003 acquired Integrated Recycling Systems, and in 2005 Metal Detection. The acquisitions resulted in Master Magnets enhancing its services, product range and capabilities to include a full range of separation, size reduction, feeding and metal detection equipment.
Recently (MEI Online) the company manufactured a Magnetic Disc Separator for use in the processing of coltan (a combination of columbite and tantalite) in Nigeria. The magnetic separator is used in a process to primarily extract tantalum, a key metal in the manufacture of batteries for electric cars, mobile phones and other electronic products. Deposits of coltan have been mined in Central Africa for several decades. The Magnetic Disc Separator enables the separation of different minerals with varying levels of magnetic susceptibility. Concentrated fractions of minerals are collected and then further processed.
We will no doubt hear much more of this, and other magnetic separators, at the conference in Falmouth, as early registrations have already been received from well known magnetic separator company Eriez Europe.
Master Magnets joins other current sponsors Outotec, Holman-Wilfley, Steinert, TOMRA Sorting Solutions, Hudbay Minerals (more on this company in a later posting) and industry advocate CEEC and media partner International Mining.

There is a final call for abstracts for the conference, and to Computational Modelling '19 which precedes it. Abstracts should be submitted by the end of this month. The latest updates on both conferences can be found at #PhysicalSeparation19 and #ComputationalModelling 19.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

IMPC 2020, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, 18 - 22 October 2020


IMPC2020 invitation to attend

We would like to invite you to attend the XXX International Mineral Processing Congress in Cape Town, South Africa from 18 to 22 October 2020.

IMPC 2020 will be hosted by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). The SAIMM has been in existence for over 120 years, currently having more than 5000 members. Mining is of great importance to Africa in general, and particularly to Southern Africa. Southern Africa produces over two-thirds of Africa’s mineral exports by value.

Cape Town, Mother City of Africa, and the Western Cape, is an area which is regarded as one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Cape Town is one of the world’s premier travel destinations.

View of Table Mountain

Authors are invited to submit abstracts in the general area of mineral and metallurgical processing. The overall Congress theme is “Resilient futures for mineral processing”. Abstracts which are aligned with this overall theme will be considered for one of the twelve special technical workshops on resilience in mineral processing, but all abstracts of suitable technical merit are welcome. Please visit for more information. Important dates are:

Abstract Submission Deadline       30 September 2019

Abstract Review Process              1 October 2019 to 30 November 2019

Paper Submission Deadline          28 February 2020

Online Submission will open on 1 August 2019. Guidelines for Abstracts, Manuscripts, Posters, Presentations and related Author Tools will be available on the Online Submission System.

We look forward to seeing you at the XXX International Mineral Processing Congress in Cape Town in 2020.

Yours Faithfully

Professor David Deglon
Chair: Organizing Committee IMPC 2020

Logos and web address

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Looking forward to 2019

Happy New Year everyone. Last year was an interesting one, and there is also much to look forward to this year. Maybe the long awaited resurgence in the mining industry? Maybe Brexit was just a bad dream?
We have two important anniversaries this year. Amanda and I formed Minerals Engineering International (MEI) in January 1999, Jon joining us in 2003.
The first photo of the MEI team, June 2003 in Falmouth
And in October of this year I will 'celebrate' 50 years in the minerals industry. Time certainly flies!
There are 3 MEI Conferences this year, and MEI will also be represented at other events as a media partner.
In February I will be in Denver for the SME Annual Meeting. I am hoping there will be more mineral processors in attendance this year, as the meeting will host the International Symposium Reflections, Challenges and Opportunities in Minerals Processing, in honour of the 90th birthday of Prof. Douglas Fuerstenau. Prof. Fuerstenau will also be presented with the IMPC's Distinguished Service Award, and Prof. Jan Miller will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, as neither could attend last year's IMPC in Moscow to receive their awards.
In April I will be in Antalya, Turkey for the 26th Annual Mining Congress and Exhibition of Turkey.
Two of this year's MEI Conferences will be held back to back in Falmouth, Cornwall in June. Computational Modelling '19 will be followed by Physical Separation '19, and the deadline for abstracts for these events is the end of this month.
Computational Modelling '17 delegates exploring the Cornish coastal path
I am looking forward to returning to my alma mater, Leeds University, in September for  the European Symposium on Comminution and Classification (ESCC) 2019 and in October Amanda hopes to be in Fukuoka, Japan for the 23rd International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium.
And then in November we will be back in Cape Town for our 'big one', Flotation '19, a must for anyone involved in froth flotation. If you would like to present a paper at this major event, please submit your abstract no later than the end of May. A great opportunity to mix with the world's leading flotation experts, and also explore this diverse and complex country.
Enjoying one of the sundowners at Flotation '17
I am sure that as the year progresses there will be much more for me to report on, including the presentation to the 2018 recipient of the MEI Young Persons Award, for which nominations should be submitted by 1st February (posting of 13th December), and all of us at MEI look forward to catching up with as many of you as possible during our travels around the world.
Twitter @barrywills