Monday, 26 July 2021

What is the future for journal Impact Factor?

The 2020 Journal Impact Factors (IF) have recently been published, and it is good to see that the IFs for the leading mineral processing journals have all increased. 

Mineral Processing & Extractive Metallurgy Review 5.284
Minerals Engineering  4.765
Hydrometallurgy 4.156
Minerals 2.644
International Journal of Minerals Metallurgy & Materials 2.232
Canadian Metallurgical Quarterly 1.456
Physicochemical  Problems of Mineral Processing 1.213
Minerals and Metallurgical Processing 1.02

The IF for Minerals Engineering has increased from 3.795 in 2019 to 4.765, but Mineral Processing & Extractive Metallurgy Review has shown a marked increase from 2.785 to 5.284, and I must congratulate the editor, Prof. Komar Kawatra of Michigan Technological University, for this remarkable achievement.

With Prof. Kawatra in Phoenix in 2020

Impact Factor is a measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year and it has become a standard measurement of scientific success, particularly for decisions on hiring and promoting academics. An individual's impact factor is a score that takes into account the number of publications and the citation rate of the journals where those papers are published. This often leads scientists to publish their work in journals with a higher impact factor than those in which their paper might be viewed more widely by others. The table above contains only those journals publishing work in the same field, and it would be unfair to compare their impact factors with those of say Science or Nature, which cover a wide range of disciplines and so are very highly cited.

Among academic researchers, dissatisfaction with use and misuse of the impact factor in evaluations and tenure, promotion and hiring decisions has grown in recent years. A 2018 report called the impact factor “an inadequate measure for assessing the impact of scientists” and concluded that failure to modify the current assessment system is likely to lead to “continued bandwagon behaviour that has not always resulted in positive societal behaviour”. Despite this, a 2019 study found that 40% of research-intensive universities in the United States and Canada specifically mention impact factors or closely related terms in documents related to tenure, review and promotion. Only a few of those references strike a note of caution, and most suggest that a high impact score would be necessary for career advancement.

A recent article in Nature describes how IF is to be abandoned in 2022 by the Dutch University of Utrecht and faculty members will be evaluated by their commitment to teamwork and open science.

The decision to revamp hiring and promotion was partly inspired by the Declaration on Research Assessment, a document created in 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology. The declaration aims to “improve the ways in which researchers and the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated” and specifically calls for abandoning impact factors as a way to judge the merit of academics. So far, it has been signed by nearly 20,000 individuals and institutions. Utrecht University signed the document in 2019.

A statement from the University of Utrecht said “Impact factors don’t really reflect the quality of an individual researcher or academic. We have a strong belief that something has to change, and abandoning the impact factor is one of those changes.”

Interesting!  What do all you academics and researchers feel about this?


Sunday, 25 July 2021

Prof. Akbar Farzanegan

Sad news today from Iran of the death of Prof. Akbar Farzanegan, of the School of Mining Engineering, College of Engineering at the University of Tehran.

Prof. Farzanegan received his PhD degree from McGill University, Canada under the supervision of the late Professor André R. Laplante.

His main research was related to mineral processing and applying knowledge-based approach solutions such as population balance modelling and simulation, CFD and DEM numerical simulations to optimize performance of industrial plants. He attended two MEI Conferences, Comminution '06 and Comminution '08. At Comminution '08, when he was at the University of Kashan, he presented a paper "Integration of evolutionary optimization algorithms with a grinding circuit simulator".

Prof. Farzanegan (centre) at Comminution '08 in Falmouth

Our thought are with Akbar's family.

Friday, 23 July 2021

First announcement: Sustainable Minerals '22

The 4th Industrial revolution and the fight against climate change is straining the sustainable use of the Earth’s natural resources due to modern society’s extensive use of metals, materials and products. 

An astute and conscious application and use of metals, materials and products supported by the reuse and recycling of these materials and end-of-life products is imperative to the preservation of the Earth’s resources. The realisation of the ambitions of sustainable use of resources demands that the different disciplines of the material and consumer product system are connected and harmonised, and this was evident in the very encouraging response to Sustainable Minerals '21, the 6th MEI Conference in the series, and the first to be online. 

As much research effort is being put into sustainable mining and processing, it was decided that this series should become an annual event, so Sustainable Minerals '22 is now open for abstract submission.

If your company is committed to sustainability and responsible mining we invite you to sponsor the event and join our early sponsor Zeiss.  We also thank our media partner International Mining, and industry advocates CEEC, the Critical Minerals Association and Cornwall Mining Alliance.

Conference updates will be at #SustainableMinerals22.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Cornwall sizzles

We are enjoying hot weather this week in Cornwall with temperatures over 25C. Although the Government controversially removed most Coronavirus restrictions on Monday, overseas travel is nowhere near back to normal, so the crowds have been pouring into the south west, and Falmouth's main beaches have been busy, although the locals have found relative solitude in the nearby coves.

Falmouth's Swanpool Beach

Gyllyngvase Beach
Solitude on Castle Beach, only a few hundred yards from Gyllyngvase

While most people were relaxing in the sun, MEI's Jon undertook a gruelling 7 and a half hour Coast to Coast Extreme Route Challenge three days ago, cycling 104 miles to raise money for Cornwall Hospice Care. He has been working as a volunteer in one of the Hospice charity shops throughout the pandemic. Well done Jon, an elevation gain of 9,753 feet is pretty daunting!

Monday, 19 July 2021

We welcome Kemtec Africa to Flotation '21

In 2017 we were pleased to announce that Kemtec, a new Australian company, supplying specialty flotation reagents to tackle plant challenges, was to sponsor Flotation '17 in Cape Town. Two years later we welcomed the young company back as a sponsor of Flotation '19.

The company has grown since then and is now a global group of specialised mineral processing reagent companies, located in USA, Australia, Mexico & China, with Kemtec Africa servicing the African continent.  This year we welcome Kemtec Africa as a sponsor of Flotation '21, via its technical sales director, Louis Hoffman, who represented Cytec from Flotation '09 to Flotation '15. Kemtec at Flotation '17 and Kemtec Africa at Flotation '19.

A huge thanks to Kemtec Africa and the other sponsors of MEI's first online flotation conference, and a reminder that, should you wish to present your work at the conference, abstracts should be submitted by the end of August.


Friday, 16 July 2021

July Cornish Mining sundowner: with more news on lithium

Falmouth's Gyllyngvase beach once more provided the venue for the Cornish Mining Sundowner, and on a warm sunny evening is there anywhere better?

It was good to see a number of new faces among the regulars, including Mark Alcock and his wife Linda, who are down here on holiday from Guildford, about 250 miles away. Mark graduated from Camborne School of Mines in 1978 and is now a consultant to HS2, the high speed rail link currently under construction between London and the Midlands and North. It is a highly controversial project, which led to an interesting discussion!

With Mark and Linda Alcock

It is really good to see so many young women graduating in mining these days, and attending her first sundowner was Hannah Matheson, who has just graduated from CSM, and, travel permitting, will soon be taking up her first job as a mining engineer in Perth, Western Australia. Hannah is pictured below with two King Edward Mine Museum stalwarts, Nigel MacDonald and Carol Richards.

In the photo below, the tall man 4th from the left is Hannah's dad, Bruce, who is working on a PhD in mine ethics at CSM.

Geologist Evan Marquis was also attending her first sundowner, having just taken up a post-doctoral research position at CSM's Environment & Sustainability Institute with sundowner regulars Frances Wall and Karen Hudson-Edwards.  In the photo below Eva (left) is with Jane Coll, a geologist at CSA Global.

There was much to talk about last night. The worrying rise in Coronavirus infections in Cornwall after the G7 summit was a topic of conversation, as was the surge in mining developments taking place down in this remote corner of Great Britain.

The rapid growth of renewable energy and electric vehicles means the demand for the minerals they rely on is set to soar. By 2030, the world could need half as much tin again, and for lithium the increase is a massive 500% by 2050 according to the World Bank

The Importance of Mining to Society was the subject of a one hour event hosted by the Critical Minerals Association held in Falmouth in June on the first day of G7

The message was that we need to change our relationship with society to show the value that we can add to a greener society, and the importance of the meeting was that it was attended or relayed to the international journalists present in Falmouth for G7, so it was hoped that they were listening and that the message would get out that mining is essential. 

Lucy Crane speaking to the BBC
One of the speakers was sundowner regular Dr. Lucy Crane, Senior Geologist with Cornish Lithium, and it does appear that the message was heeded as two weeks ago Lucy and Cornish Metals CEO Richard Williams, were featured on the BBC TV National News, explaining the developments in lithium and tin mining in Cornwall (see also the report on last month's sundowner). "If we're going to be producing these metals to go into low-carbon technologies, then it's so important that we extract them as responsibly as possible,” Lucy Crane told the BBC.

The UK is set to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars in 2030, and Nissan has set out plans for a £1bn electric vehicle hub in Sunderland which the Japanese firm says will create 6,000 new jobs at the firm and among its suppliers. With lithium essential for battery production, the BBC asked whether the answer to their supply lies in the rocks of Cornwall? 

KP and son Hendrik
In east Cornwall British Lithium continues to work to sustainably extract lithium from mica in the granite of the St. Austell china clay region, and Chief Metallurgist Klass (KP) van der Wielen told me that the company is seeking to find acid-free solutions to extracting and processing lithium. With the help of £3m of Innovate UK funding the company is building a pilot plant where the lithium will be recovered and processed using recyclable salt as a reagent, rather than toxic chemicals. The pilot plant is in the early stages of construction and is scheduled to become operational in the last quarter of this year.

In west Cornwall Cornish Lithium is currently testing different technologies to extract the metal from the hot geothermal brines a kilometre below the earth, and after removing the lithium injecting the water back underground so the process can be repeated. The energy used to power this process will be from a renewable source, the natural heat from the deep rocks being converted into electricity, making the process carbon-neutral.

Cornish Lithium thinks it could eventually supply about a third of the UK's future lithium needs, the UK’s demand going to be about 75,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate from 2035, which is about a fifth of current total global supply.

Also more good news from Cornish Metals, who have discovered silver at its United Downs copper-tin project. Highlights from one hole drilled to a depth of 260.24m intersected two zones of high-grade mineralisation including a 2.61m wide mineralised intersection averaging 5.2% copper, 1.3% tin and 77g/t silver.

And on 1st July, Geothermal Engineering made history by being the first developer to successfully bring the naturally hot geothermal fluid to the surface and re inject it underground, proving that the novel concept at United Downs works and a power plant can now be installed.

Hopefully there will be more news of developments at the next sundowner, scheduled for Gylly beach again on Thursday 19th August.