Thursday, 20 February 2020

February Mining Sundowner in Falmouth

Tonight's sundowner was the first of the year at Falmouth's Chain Locker, and was attended by around 30 regulars and a few welcome visitors.
At the recent Mining Indaba in Cape Town over 30% of the speakers were women. In what was once an almost exclusively male-dominated industry, it is good to see women taking a very active role in all aspects of the industry, and some of those attending tonight's sundowner were young women making their mark on what is the world's primary industry.
One of them, Lucy Crane, a geologist at Cornish Lithium, was recently the recipient of the award of Young Rising Star in Mining at the Outstanding Achievement Awards and Gala Dinner, hosted by Mines & Money in London. She is a great ambassador for Women in Mining and recently presented an inspirational talk on mining for a low carbon future. She began by saying "I care deeply about the environment, which is why I work in the mining industry! Does that make me a hypocrite?" Unfortunately a lot of people feel that it does, she said, and she went on to explain why mining is crucial to providing the raw materials needed to combat climate change. The talk is on YouTube and I would urge people to share as widely as possible, particularly to people outside our industry who in the main are unaware of mining's importance.
Lucy Crane (3rd left)
Mining is indeed crucial, and as ores become more complex and grades decrease, then mineral processing becomes ever more important, and the need to produce young engineering graduates to satisfy the needs of the industry increases.
In the posting of 8th April 2019 I wondered whether today's mineral processing students are getting the broad-based education which they deserve and which is necessary in the modern mining industry?
It was pointed out by John Starkey in his comment on the posting of 17th December 2018 that there isn't a mineral processing industry. There is a mining industry, and mineral processing is part of it. Also, most mine sites have a mill on the site and very few mills exist that are not on a mine site. The expert mineral processor therefore cannot do his or her job well if he or she does not understand mining, because the concentrator’s feed always comes from a mine. Very few mine General Managers are mineral processors, they are mining engineers, who have a broad knowledge of not only mining, but geology, surveying, mineral economics, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as mineral processing.
I was recruited to Camborne School of Mines in 1974 to teach mineral processing on the mining degree, but three years later we also started a mineral processing degree. Although it turned out some excellent graduates, it was always difficult to recruit sufficient students to make it viable, and in retrospect I have always felt that the best route for producing good mineral processors is probably a broad-based degree in mining, followed by an MSc in mineral processing.
Tonight I heard from good authority that CSM is to offer an exciting new path into a career in mining or mineral processing, a 4-year M.Eng course, three years of which will be spent at CSM on mining engineering, and one year in Canada at the University of British Columbia, concentrating on mineral processing. This has the potential of being an extremely attractive course, and I hope to have more information soon.
One of those excellent graduates from the old CSM course was Andrew Wilkinson, who graduated in 1991 and is now with Metso. He is pictured below with Lee Wright, of Outotec, who will soon be merged with Metso.
Lee and Andrew
Another CSM graduate is Nick Wilshaw, who graduated in 1980. He is now managing director of Cornwall based Grinding Solutions Ltd (GSL), which specialises in exploring novel approaches to help clients maximise their value and opportunities. The company is a sponsor of April's Comminution '20, as is Welsh company Maelgwyn Mineral Services Ltd (MMS) and it was great to see managing director Mike Battersby and general manager Steve Flatman in Falmouth.
Nick, Steve, Mike and BW
MMS, also a sponsor of next year's Flotation '21, manufacture and market the Imhoflot G-Cell pneumatic flotation technology, where centrifugal forces are used in the cell to quickly separate the phases after mineral collection and therefore considerably reducing the size of vessels required.
MMS recently announced that it had been awarded a contract to supply the flotation process plant for the Beyondie Sulphate of Potash project in Western Australia. Whilst MMS has supplied many potash flotation plants in Europe, particularly in Belarus, this will be its first supply outside the continent and its largest flotation plant in Australia.
Mike and Steve will be calling in at GSL tomorrow to see the only Imhoflot cell in Cornwall up and running.
This has been another excellent sundowner. The next one is Thursday March 19th at the Admiral Benbow Inn, in Penzance.

1 comment:

  1. I like the gentle(subtle)way you remind us on how to look at exploration to metal as a "holistic"challenge to get the best from what Nature gave us.
    The way you portray the bright future and encourage young generation of mineral engineers(particularly the entry of young women) shows how to make profession attractive.
    Let us thank the sponsors without whom these activities would be impossible to hold and visibility of our profession would have been lost.


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