Thursday, 27 August 2020

In conversation with Bill Johnson: Stirred Milling Pioneer

Although Dr. Bill Johnson has been for several years one of my most respected Minerals Engineering reviewers, I met him for the first time only three years ago, at the SME Annual Meeting in Denver, where he was inducted into the International Mining Hall of Fame.  Later in the year he was in Cape Town to present a keynote lecture at Flotation '17

Bill Johnson (right) with his long time colleague Joe Pease in Denver
for their induction into International Mining Hall of Fame
In over 45 years in minerals processing, Bill has made outstanding advances to the treatment of complex ores. He pioneered the use of the paradigm of size-by-size mineral liberation-class behaviour, and is a masterful user of this approach to drive major improvements to mineral processing plant design and performance. He was pivotal to the development of flowsheets and new processes for McArthur River, Mount Isa, Hilton and George Fisher, and has provided highly skilled technical support for a global array of operations.

Bill’s professional achievements have been recognised by the award of the President’s Medal from the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy for his work on advancing the processing of complex sulphide ores in 1993 and the CSIRO Medal for his contribution to the commercial development of the Jameson flotation cell in 1990. Recently, in 2008, he received the Mineral Industry Operating Technique Award, which was shared with Peter Woodall for the development of the IsaMill technology.

Dr. Johnson has had substantial careers in operations, research and education. He provided leadership of the Minerals Process Engineering program at the University of Queensland from 1998 to 2005 and in 2002 and 2003 leadership of the Division of Mining and Minerals Process Engineering was an additional responsibility. He continues to provide training and professional development on specialist topics for the minerals industry. He is presently an Adjunct Professor at the Julius Kruttschnitt Minerals Research Centre, a part of the Sustainable Minerals Institute, and a Principal Consultant with Mineralis. His educational and training experience includes teaching undergraduates and supervising postgraduate research together with running “in house” courses on advanced topics for technical staff. Bill is a respected mentor and widely known for his success in developing the professional skills of many minerals processing engineers during his time in the corporate sector and academia.

Bill Johnson was born in Stanthorpe, Queensland on 18 January, 1947.  When he was young, his grandparents told him many stories of the Cania Goldfield in Central Queensland.  Cania had an unusually long life as a goldfield and as a small town with some permanent residents. Gold was discovered just to the north of Cania Gorge in 1870 and the township known as 'Cania Goldfields' soon sprang up along Three Moon Creek. The township's population fluctuated over time until mining finally ended in the early 1920s. The waters of Lake Cania eventually covered the remains of the goldfields after Cania Dam was built on Three Moon Creek in the early 1980s.

Bill's grandparents had lived on or near the goldfield during the first 30 years of their lives, their involvement being mainly in the commerce in the town. Bill's mother was born in 1920 and started school in Cania. 

The background of Bill's family history in mining in Australia dates back to 1853, when his great-great grandparents left England with their two young sons, apparently attracted by the gold rush which commenced in Australia in 1851. They disembarked in Melbourne and travelled to southern New South Wales, where two further sons were born, the first of these, Noah Smith, being Bill's great-grandfather, born in 1855. 

The family followed the gold discoveries in a northerly direction, eventually reaching the major Gympie Goldfield in southern Queensland in 1867, the year of its discovery. This major field continued to be important until around the time of World War 1. The family largely remained in Gympie, but Noah did not. The Eidsvold Goldfield was proclaimed in November 1887 and Noah, now married with one daughter born in 1887, moved north from Gympie to Eidsvold in 1888. In 1893, he moved a little further north to the Monal Goldfield where he is shown in the photo below of a gold processing plant, holding two daughters, the one born in 1887 and another born in 1889. Bill’s grandmother, born in 1892 at Eidsvold, was too young to be in the picture. In 1896, Noah moved to the Cania Goldfield, a short distance away, for the rest of his life.

Monal stamp mill, 1890s

 

Top left: Bill with his sister Janette in the school playground in 1955,
where his father was the sole teacher. Bill was 8 and Janette 2.

Top right: Bill at school in 1957
Bottom: Bill and his younger brother gold panning at Ballarat in 1976
During his schooldays Bill developed a love of chemistry, and believed that the minerals industry was a way of applying chemistry and obtaining employment, given the range of possibilities in Australia at that time. He was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to attend university by the Federal Government. As part of the scholarship scheme, before attending the University of Queensland, it was necessary to be interviewed by an adviser employed by the Federal Government on possible suitable courses. Options included geology and geophysics. It seems that the adviser had a creative streak because he also provided an option which he called a Metal Chemist, which combined all the chemistry subjects with all the extractive metallurgy subjects and Bill was the only person to take this grouping of subjects at the university while he was there, and in 1967 he graduated, majoring in chemistry, with a minor in metallurgy. 

Final year photo 1967: Bill is 7th left on back row. 9th left is Don McKee who would be the JKMRC’s 2nd director, and 5th right front row is the 1st Director Alban Lynch

Then in 1968 Bill had the chance of undertaking an Honours Year Thesis with Alban Lynch (MEI Blog 11th August 2014). This was to be an investigation of the effect of various chemical variables in laboratory flotation of Mount Isa copper ore and Prof. Lynch planned to arrange for vacation work in the mineral processing laboratory at Mount Isa at the end of 1967/start of 1968. The research in 1968 would have to be in metallurgy. A problem was that Bill was not eligible for this option because he only had a minor in metallurgy, however the Dean of Science was very supportive of inter-disciplinary study and supported the plan strongly. The study under Alban Lynch occurred as planned and in 1968 Bill graduated with a first class honours degree in Metallurgy, after which he received a PhD in metallurgy in 1972 from the same university. His PhD work included a 5 and a half month spell at the Philex Mining Corporation in the Philippines for plant data collection, the most important outcome from the data being the relevance of the entrainment mechanism for hydrophilic minerals.

Bill says of Alban Lynch “Alban provided very clear lectures. He was very earnest but also approachable. It was clear from comments during lectures that he had well developed links to industry which were needed for his research group and the style of research he was employing – the use of industrial plants as the “laboratory” for data collection. He was entering the stage of research work on flotation in addition to grinding and classification."

After working for ASARCO in Arizona until 1976, he lectured at the University of Melbourne. He joined the CSIRO Division of Mineral Engineering in 1978 where research on the Lead/Zinc concentrator at Mount Isa Mines Limited was his main project and in 1982, he moved to Mount Isa where he continued applied research on the difficult ore treated in the Lead/Zinc 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.

Several members of the Mount Isa Minerals Processing Research group with staff from
operations and engineering: Peter Williams, Lee Burton, Brett Gold, Bruce Mullan, Dave Fouhy,
Joe Pease, Kim Fisher, Bill Johnson, Ben Cronin, Brigitte Lacouture, Wally Onton and Mark Duffy
A major aspect of research at Mount Isa when Bill was Minerals Processing Research Manager was the development of the commercial viability of mining the McArthur River zinc-lead-silver deposit in the Northern Territory, 40 years after its discovery in 1955. It had long been recognised that the complexity of the McArthur River ore demanded a new approach to grinding and regrinding to produce commercial concentrates. Regrinding to a P80 of 7µm was required but there were no commercially available mills suitable for this task in the base metal industry.

Bill had been aware of the possibility of reopening work on the McArthur River ore for a couple of years before it happened. He had been reading and rereading papers from Prof. Klaus Schonert over a couple of years to try to ensure that he always had processing options if a project did commence on the difficult ore. A paradigm shift in mineral processing came about via Bill's attendance at the 7th European Symposium on Comminution in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia in 1990, where grinding methods in a wide range of industries were showcased. Bill saw the potential for large-scale adaptation and development of advanced stirred milling for the ultra-fine regrinding required by the McArthur River ores. This technology was unknown to the mining industry, being used only for small volumes of high value products, mainly in the food, chemicals and cosmetics industries. In the following months, Bill struck associations with a number of specialist firms, eventually settling with German manufacturer Netzsch for ongoing R&D.

A small laboratory sized Netzsch batch mill was purchased and installed at Mount Isa and after promising results work moved from the laboratory to the pilot plant in 1991. A continuous standard Netzsch mill (100 litres) was purchased for the pilot plant. This was the second largest mill in the Netzsch range at that time, the largest being a 500 litre mill. From the pilot plant experience, it was found that the regrinding technology could achieve the regrinding target of P80 of 7 microns but significant internal modifications were required for continuous operation in a real plant in the base metal mineral industry. Various options for the modifications were conceived and tested by the project staff at the Mount lsa site and the implementation of the findings into the design was facilitated by a partnership with Netzsch.

The next step involved trials of the modifications in the largest Netzsch mill (500 litres) which was tested in a small Lead/Zinc Concentrator at the Hilton operation close to Mount lsa. After further testing with a larger prototype in 1994, the go-ahead for the full-scale regrinding mills (3000 litres) at Mount lsa and McArthur River was given later in the year - the world's first application of the technology to base metal mining.

Bill conceived the idea for producing a viable concentrate and developed a pool of competent people to carry it forward. An expanded research team of 20 people, led by John Andreatidis and assisted by Michael Young (pictured below), worked under Dr. Johnson. Project Metallurgist John Andreatidis worked on the laboratory phase, the pilot plant phase, and the design modification phase and then moved to McArthur River Mining, a subsidiary responsible for the new operation. Mechanical Engineer Peter Woodall played a very important role in the pilot plant phase, the design modification phase and in numerous later activities with the mill. Kam Leung worked on data collection for the design of the primary grinding circuit and became the Metallurgical Manager for McArthur River Mining, with John Andreatidis in his team, when the new operation was approved and under development. The new operation commenced in May 1995 with four lsaMills in the regrinding duty.

John Andreatidis, Bill Johnson and Michael Young with McArthur River ore

The research also delivered increased metal recoveries at Mount Isa, the work being strongly supported by management and the Isamine R&D manager Jim Fewings. The Lead/Zinc Concentrator manager at that time was Joe Pease, who said that the team delivered the first significant breakthrough in fine grinding in 50 years, and the most significant development since SAG milling. The IsaMill technology which is marketed by Glencore Technology has spread into other duties in mineral processing and larger models have been developed, resulting in a large number operating in industry. 

IsaMill at Ernest Henry Mine, Australia

Bill left Mount Isa in December 1997 for the University of Queensland, but was available to the company for a specified number of days each year for the initial years at the university. From 1990-1997, he had visited the university each year to deliver a significant portion of one of the final year subjects in mineral processing. He gave undergraduate courses at the university until the middle of 2005 and was involved with the redesign and unitisation of the degree (1998-1999), AusIMM accreditation in 1999 and Institution of Engineers, Australia accreditation in 2002. He also organised “hands-on” field trips in the second and third years of the degree and the creation of two “hands-on” practicals at a coal washery near Brisbane. 

In conjunction with Mineralurgy (now Mineralis), Bill has delivered a large number of courses, usually at mine sites, on mineral recovery – size analysis, mineral recovery–size–liberation analysis and analysis of non-sized separation data. This 3 day course has been delivered 38 times with the vast majority being since 2005. Some of these were delivered overseas, in South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Mexico and Laos. He has also delivered a 2-day sulphide flotation chemistry course on 8 occasions, the largest number of courses being presented in 2015.

Consulting through Mineralurgy (now Mineralis) has provided Bill with projects on a wide range of topics and ores. During the consulting period, other highlights were the preparation of a flotation chapter in the SME Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Handbook (2019), three chapters in Process Mineralogy (2016) produced by SMI-JKMRC, a major portion of a chapter in History of Flotation (2010), and an updated version of a chapter (written and published in 2010) for the second edition of Flotation Plant Optimisation (2019), produced by the AusIMM.

A major highlight was being awarded the 2015 G.D. Delprat Distinguished Lecture for the Metallurgical Society of the AusIMM. This involved its preparation and delivery at eight locations in Australia. In 2017 MEI was honoured to have Bill as a keynote lecturer at Flotation '17 in Cape Town. 

Bill with MEI’s Jon Wills at Flotation ‘17

With such a busy professional life, it is good to see that Bill sets time for relaxation. He plays tennis weekly, exercises regularly and takes an interest in the results of various sports. He also has a keen interest in current affairs and history. He and his wife have travelled overseas as tourists six times from 2006 to 2017, with each trip lasting 4 to 5 weeks and taking particular interest in the many historical sites that were visited. In addition he regularly attends a small French conversation group, as his son has a French wife. Bill and his wife look after their 3 year old granddaughter each week.  

Bill and his wife Francyn and sons David and Alexander in 2005

Bill and Francyn with granddaughter Freya and son Alexander
Bill Johnson has played a huge part in the evolution of comminution, so my final question to him was how does he view the future of comminution, particularly with the increasing use of stirred mills?

He said "The impetus for the use of medium and high speed stirred mills was to obtain an economic means for reaching, in regrinding, product P80 values in the 5 to 10 µm range. However, at present, only a small minority of ores require regrinding into this region. To obtain substantial sale numbers, the technology has relied on its energy efficiency and its suitability for provision of a “clean” size reduction environment for the minerals, the latter being important for the flotation process. The application of the technology has spread into the normal regrinding range and into grinding stages along rougher banks and its use has been demonstrated in the final stage of primary grinding.

In general, the technology has the capability to regrind to product P80 values in the 1 to 5 µm range. This capability may be required for some future ores. The economic case for such regrinding will be made more readily if only a small portion of the ore requires such very fine regrinding. To achieve this outcome, it becomes necessary for the progressive liberation properties of the valuable mineral in the ore to be understood and for the design of the separation circuit to provide the necessary matching progressive recovery stages for the valuable mineral. There is also scope for the mills to become larger in volume and installed power, subject to the mechanical engineering constraints for each design.  

The chemical environment which can be created inside a stirred mill can be altered to suit the type of separation which is being sought in the following flotation process. However, the desirable chemical environment inside the mill, demonstrated at small scale, must be retained in any larger scale version of the process. In the future, the avoidance of process surprises because of unintended differences in the chemical environment in the stirred mill at various scales for the process (e.g. laboratory, pilot plant and industrial) will be important.

The connection between the ore texture and the most relevant size reduction mechanism requires better understanding. The attrition mechanism in stirred mills may be beneficial in achieving liberation with some ore textures but this may not be the case for other textures in achieving liberation of the key minerals".  

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to interview Bill Johnson for MEI. He is an inspiration to all mineral processors.

More Conversations

@barrywills

Monday, 24 August 2020

Digital Transformation in Mining Plant Operations

We are pleased to announce that the first keynote lecturer at MEI's new conference Integration, Optimisation & Design of Mineral Processing Circuits '21 (IntegratedMinPro '21) will be Dr. Osvaldo A. Bascur, Principal, OSB Digital, LLC., USA. Osvaldo is a well known figure at international conferences, and was a recipient of the SME's prestigious Antoine Gaudin Award in 2014. In 2017 Osvaldo was the subject of one of the MEI interviews.

At IntegratedMinPro '21 in Falmouth next June, Osvaldo will show in his keynote Digital Transformation in Mining Plant Operations that current grinding and flotation sensors provide large amounts of data for process optimization. As ores are becoming extremely variable, with mineralogy and hardness disturbing the grinding and flotation circuits, adding the right context and operational events enables augmentation of operational knowledge to allow proactive actions for improving the performance of the crushing, grinding, flotation and thickening/filtration circuits.

IntegratedMinPro '21, a 2-day conference, will immediately follow Physical Separation '21, the 7th conference in the series, and now over 3-days. There are calls for abstracts for both conferences, which should be submitted by the end of December.

Updates can be found at #IntegratedMinPro21 and #PhysicalSeparation21.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Lithium, tin, copper and geothermal energy: the new boom in Cornish mining

Last month's Cornish Mining Sundowner on Falmouth's Gyllyngvase Beach drew a record attendance of around 40, but the Cornish weather is capricious and very strong winds last night kept many indoors. Around a dozen regulars did make it to the wind-swept beach, however, in front of very heavy seas, in marked contrast to the "doldrums" of a few days ago:

Falmouth Bay earlier in the week
Regulars Pauline & Nick Clarke, Dean Eastbury, Steve Barber, Mary & Pete Shepherd and Carol Richards
First sundowner for my grandson Jack Collins, with me and Dean Eastbury

There was much to talk about last night as there has been encouraging mining news over the past few weeks. Cornish Metals Inc. has announced that its name change from Strongbow Exploration has come into effect. Richard Williams, CEO, stated “The renaming to Cornish Metals is a reflection of our dedication to revitalizing an industry which means so much to the people of Cornwall. The objective is to bring tin and copper mining back to Cornwall, to create well-paid, highly skilled jobs hand in hand with the community, with an emphasis on hiring locally wherever possible. Our guiding principle is to ensure we attain the highest standards for health, safety, and the environment, and to continue collaborating with all stakeholders. We are currently drilling at the South Crofty tin project, and thereafter will be expanding the drill programme to United Downs to follow up on the recent high grade copper – tin discovery.”

And also good news from the United Downs Deep Geothermal Project, where results of drilling show that the temperature on the geothermal production well is 188 deg C, hot enough for continuous power generation. This is also great news for the development of Europe’s first geothermal lithium recovery pilot plant to extract lithium for use in batteries. This project is a £4m collaboration between Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) and Cornish Lithium at GEL’s deep geothermal project to demonstrate that lithium can be produced from geothermal brines with a zero carbon footprint.

Water from the deep geothermal well will be fed to the pilot plant, which aims to extract lithium using Direct Lithium Extraction technology, which essentially sieves the lithium out of the water, which is then re-injected into the ground via boreholes. To selectively remove lithium compounds from the water, the plan is to use technologies such as nanofiltration rather than relying on evaporation and other less environmentally friendly methods. In contrast to traditional mining methods, direct lithium extraction is a closed-loop, environmentally friendly process that returns brine, post-extraction, to its original source utilizing 100 percent renewable power and steam for processing.

The UK has great ambitions in the electric vehicle arena and hence a captive supply of the necessary raw materials, such as lithium, is necessary. The Cornish economy has been especially hard hit by Covid-19 and desperately needs new industries that supply year-round, well-paid jobs. The project will be greatly aided by the support, announced this month, of a £14.3m investment from the Government’s Getting Building Fund to stimulate post-Covid-19 recovery over the next 18 months by supporting £59m worth of projects and 1,100 jobs in Cornwall, including development of the lithium plant.

And geothermal brines are not the only source of lithium in Cornwall. British Lithium Ltd is the first company in the UK to explore for hard rock lithium and the only one so far to have established a resource, in the St Austell area, well known for its china clay deposits. It now aims to build a quarry and refinery in Cornwall that will produce 20,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate, and has been awarded £500,000 of government funding to progress research and development of lithium extraction from granitic lithium micas.

Hopefully there will be more news of these developments over the coming weeks, and lots to talk about again at the next Sundowner which, weather permitting, will be on Gylly Beach again on Thursday 17th September from 5.30pm.

@barrywills

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Memories of southern Italy, 2006

In August 2006 Barbara and I spent a week in south-west Italy, where I was representing MEI as a media sponsor at the 5th International Conference for Conveying and Handling of Particulate Solids. The venue was Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples on the Amalfi Coast, so travelling to the conference provided an ideal opportunity to experience this wonderful area.
Sorrento
I knew very few people at the event, but we did manage to catch up with Richard Williams and family. At that time Richard was head of the Department of Mining and Mineral Engineering, and a Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Leeds (MEI Blog: 17th August 2015).
Richard Williams and family
The Bay of Naples is dominated by Mount Vesuvius and while walking to the summit we met our old friend Antonio Peres, of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, probably our most prolific MEI Conference participant.
With Antonio Peres at the summit of Mount Vesuvius
Vesuvius is, of course, famous for the catastrophic eruption of 75 AD which buried the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum under layers of ash and pumice. Pompeii is one of the world's most remarkable archaeological sites, as the excavated city is remarkably well preserved, and we spent a day exploring the ancient streets and building with delegates from the conference.
Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
After the conference we had a very long day on the spectacular Amalfi coast. Due to a landslide we walked about 5 km from Positano to Praiano, and the rest of the 9 hour day involved 6 buses, but all worth it due to some wonderful scenery.
Amalfi
Amalfi
Ravello
Late afternoon on the Amalfi coast
Another memorable experience, courtesy of conference travel!

Friday, 14 August 2020

The XXX International Mineral Processing Congress is cancelled

As a media partner to the XXX International Mineral Processing Congress, MEI is sorry to announce that the Organizing Committee of the IMPC, scheduled to be held in Cape Town from 18 to 22 April 2021, have wisely decided to cancel this conference as a face-to-face event due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. IMPC 2020 was postponed by 6 months from the original dates of 18 to 22 October 2020 due to this pandemic. However, based on the current global situation, the Organizing Committee are of the view that Covid-19 may affect international conferences in 2021 and they would not wish to expose delegates to any potential health risks. It is not possible to postpone IMPC 2020 any further as this impacts on IMPC 2022 to be held in Melbourne.

The International Mineral Processing Council, in discussion with the IMPC 2020 Organizing Committee, has made the following decisions to mitigate the effect of this cancellation. Firstly, the XXXIII International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC 2026) has been awarded to Cape Town and will run similarly to the way IMPC 2020 was originally planned. Secondly, IMPC 2020 will be officially recognized as the XXX International Mineral Processing Congress in the series which began in London in 1952. Papers that have successfully gone through the peer review process will be published in a set of formal IMPC Congress Proceedings. This will ensure that the authors of the over 500 papers submitted to IMPC 2020 will have their research recognized in an official set of IMPC 2020 Congress Proceedings.

The Organizing Committee of IMPC 2020 will be in contact with authors, sponsors and plenaries in the near future, and are extremely grateful to all those who have supported IMPC 2020 to date and sincerely regret the cancellation of this conference.

We all look forward to the XXXIII International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC 2026) in Cape Town, South Africa.


Thursday, 13 August 2020

Alban Lynch is 90 years old on Saturday

On behalf of MEI and all of us in the mineral processing community, I would like to wish Prof. Alban Lynch a very happy 90th birthday, which he will be celebrating with family on Saturday.

Alban was one of the great 20th century mineral processors, particularly in the field of comminution and his name probably appears more than any other throughout the MEI Blog. The first Director of Australia's JKMRC, he was one of the first persons that I interviewed for MEI, six years ago (MEI Blog 11 August 2014) and then a year later he reciprocated by interviewing me (MEI Blog 2 November 2015).

I last saw Alban 10 years ago at the 2010 IMPC in Brisbane, where he and his co-authors Mike Nelson and Greg Harbort signed copies of the newly launched book History of Flotation.

Alban, Mike and Greg in Brisbane

The most recent photo of Alban on the blog was with one of his most famous students Prof. T.C. Rao (MEI Blog 5th November 2016) his co-worker in the late 1960s on the pioneering development of mathematical models of mineral processing systems.

Alban with T.C. Rao in Brisbane in October 2016

Alban is living in a nursing home in suburban Brisbane, and has been in lockdown. Fortunately the lockdown lifted earlier in the week so a few family members will be able to take him for lunch on Saturday and then celebrate via videolink with the rest of the family in the afternoon with cake and speeches. If you would like to leave birthday wishes, his daughter Suzy Lynch-Watson will show Alban the blog and any comments during his birthday celebration.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Recent comments

There have been comments on the following postings since the last update:


We welcome and encourage your comments on blog postings (see also the posting of 2nd April 2019). If you do not have a Google account, the simplest way to add a comment is by selecting 'anonymous' as your profile, but please leave your name and affiliation in the comment. Alternatively, email your comment directly to bwills@min-eng.com.

Last month there were around 20,000 page views, so interacting with the blog enhances your international presence by providing you, and your company or Institute, with valuable exposure.

If you are in Web View (mobile users can access this by scrolling down to the bottom of the screen) you can also check various things in the right hand column:
  • The latest MEI tweets from @barrywills
  • The most viewed posts in the last 7 days, month and year
  • Dates of blog posts (click on the black arrows to open up individual months and postings)
  • Labels, or categories
You can also subscribe to blog alerts by email, and access MEI's Facebook page and MEI Online via links in this column.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Peggy Fuerstenau, 1932-2020

It is with great sadness that I report that Doug Fuerstenau’s gracious wife, Peggy (Margaret Pellett) died on May 30th from coronary-pulmonary complications. I had the pleasure of meeting Peggy for the first time last year in Denver, where Prof. Fuerstenau (MEI Blog 20 July 2015) was presented with the IMPC's Distinguished Service Award at the SME Annual Meeting. Doug was also the first recipient, in 1995, of the IMPC's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Peggy was born in Franklin, New Jersey, on May 7, 1932. She met Doug while she was an undergraduate student at Radcliffe College (Harvard) and Doug was a doctoral student at MIT working under Professor A.M. Gaudin. After their marriage in 1953, Peggy completed her studies in American history and Doug began his career as an assistant professor of mineral engineering at MIT.  After graduating from Radcliffe, she continued her education at Simmons College in Boston, where she received an M.S. degree in library science.   Later she was the caring mother of their son and two daughters. Her main outside activities involved volunteer work, serving as a docent at the Oakland Museum and on various programs related to University student welfare and persons in need.
Peggy and Doug on their wedding day in 1953
During Doug’s long career at the University of California, Peggy was a welcoming hostess for dinners and receptions in their home to many dozens, if not hundreds, of professional colleagues and visitors to Berkeley from all parts of the world.  Doug’s many graduate students and postdoctoral researchers fondly remember her many buffet dinners for the group and their spouses. 
Other international persons in the mineral world came to know her at International Mineral Processing Congresses. She set a record that probably will never be surpassed in that she was an accompanying person at thirteen IMPCs, the first in 1970 in Prague and the last in 2014 in Santiago.  For the San Francisco IMPC, she was a member of the organizing committee and led planning for the program for accompanying persons. Prof. Fathi Habashi has kindly supplied this photo:
  

Peggy with Janusz and Barbara Laskowski at the Prague IMPC in 1970
Peggy and Doug with Osvaldo Bascur in Rio de Janeiro, 2001
In addition, Peggy accompanied Doug to many SME/AIME Annual Meetings, toured a few flotation plants with him, and also went on a few Homestake Mining Company trips.  In 1990 the two had a special underground tour of the Homestake Gold Mine in South Dakota, and the photo below shows Peggy and Doug at 2200 meters below ground on the  7200 Level where the rock temperature is 57 degrees Celsius. The deep mine refrigeration thankfully maintained a very satisfactory ambient temperature.
Although Peggy's education was in liberal arts, she had some familiarity with mining.  Her oldest uncle’s entire career, starting in 1907, was with the New Jersey Zinc Company in Franklin, advancing to mill superintendent at this complex gravity and magnetic separation operation.  He told Doug about Professor Richards coming there as a consultant from MIT. In his Handbook, Taggart describes the Pellett Classifier used in the Franklin mill where three different minerals, franklinite, willemite and zincite in calcite, were recovered from a rich ore containing 20% zinc. To mineralogists, the dumps at Franklin are world famous in that over 350 different minerals occur in the region, 90 of which are fluorescent, and two dozen of those occur nowhere else in the world.
Very significant to Peggy and Doug's family life was the Pinecrest cabin in the High Sierra that they purchased in 1965. Being located at an elevation of 1700 meters on the west slope of the Sierra leads to year-round relaxation and recreation and in the summer, Peggy fished and swam in the Pinecrest Lake, and in the winter there were various snow activities.  After their children became avid downhill skiers, Peggy and Doug switched to cross-country skiing.  Depending on schedules, several overseas visitors enjoyed Peggy’s hospitality at Pinecrest. Every fall, Doug had a weekend there with his graduate students but Peggy stayed completely away that weekend. The photo shows the beauty of the area after a fresh snow.
Although she was not a musician, Peggy had a great love for opera.  She and Doug had season tickets for the San Francisco Opera for fifty years and estimate that they attended nearly 300 opera performances, including some at other opera houses during their travels.  They also found time to attend a few symphony concerts and plays each year in the San Francisco Bay Area.  
In recent years, Peggy arranged for several different Road Scholar excursions in Europe and the U.S.  Their last trip to Europe was a non-technical Road Scholar excursion in November 2016 to Venice followed by a few days in Munich.  The photo shows Peggy enjoying the Grand Canal in Venice.
Doug tells me that during her last days, Peggy said several times that she was completely satisfied with the life that she had.

Monday, 3 August 2020

July: The Great Leap Forward

July 4th was the date that the hospitality business had been waiting for. Just as on the 4th of July Americans celebrate freedom from the British Government, on this day English citizens celebrated a similar release, as lockdown rules were further eased, apart from in the city of Leicester, where a resurgence in cases to 140 per 100,000 led to a tightening of the lockdown.
Cornwall in early July had one of the country's lowest number of Coronavirus cases, just 0.7 in 100,000, and Falmouth was soon buzzing with an influx of visitors,  restaurants and pubs doing a roaring trade,  and it was particularly good to see the old Chain Locker in action again.
Last week we had our first visitors of the year from outside Cornwall, Prof. Richard Williams, his wife Jane and son Tim, who were on a short break from their home in Edinburgh, where Richard is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University. Richard was the subject of one of my MEI Interviews (MEI Blog 17 August 2015), when he was then a Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Birmingham UK.
Social distancing has gone by the board in many cases, and while walking through the busy Falmouth main street, I said "don't mind me!" to a guy who passed inches away from me, and who replied that he had come down here to get away from all that crap!
A busy Falmouth town
And on that subject, there have been many reports of masses of waste, including human waste, being left on Cornwall's beaches, and on Perranporth beach a 14 year old boy who asked a family to take their litter away was hit over the head with a whisky bottle, and needed 11 stitches to the wound. Unbelievable behaviour!
Swanpool beach, Falmouth, July 30th
At the end of the month infection rates in Cornwall had risen to 4 in 100,000, only just below that of 5 for England as a whole, and tightened restrictions were imposed in the north of England due to a resurgence in cases. Let's hope that the great leap forward was not a leap too soon. 
Cartonn: Peter Schrank, The Times 6th July