Friday, 25 December 2009

Season's Greetings from the MEI Family

It was Christmas lunch at Amanda and Richards' house today, in the village of Mabe, just outside Falmouth.
We would like to thank everyone who has sent their best wishes to us at this time of year and we wish you all a happy and successful 2010.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Canada’s Queen’s University receives unprecedented award

They must be celebrating Christmas early in Kingston, Ontario, with the news that Queen’s University Mining Department has received a $10 million donation from mining entrepreneur Robert Buchan (left).

It's the largest single donation to mining education in Canadian history and will help drive the development of the global mineral resource industry. In recognition of this exceptional gift, the department will be renamed the Buchan Department of Mining.

The full story is on MEI Online.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Flotation ’11 off to a flying start

Maintaining the momentum of last month’s Flotation ’09, which was attended by 193 international delegates, the next scheduled flotation conference has already attracted 3 corporate sponsors. Two of them, Maelgwyn Mineral Services and FLSmidth, sponsored Flotation ’09 and are strong MEI supporters, Maelgwyn also sponsoring Precious Metals ’10 and FLSmidth having sponsored this year’s Physical Separation ’09.

Martyn Hay’s successful one man company, Eurus Mineral Consultants is a new flotation sponsor. Martyn presented an excellent paper at Flotation ’09 and also sponsored Nickel Processing ’05.

The website for Flotation ’11 is up and running and we look forward to working on this major event over the next couple of years, with our two MEI flotation consultants, Profs. Dee Bradshaw of JKMRC, Australia, and J-P Franzidis of University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Copenhagen and the Minerals Industry

After the predictable fiasco of Copenhagen, the question is where does this leave the minerals industry, one of the world’s greatest emitters of CO2 and under intense pressure to reduce those emissions?

The failure to arrive at binding legal agreements, merely producing expressions of intent, will fuel the global warming deniers who will use Copenhagen to show how politicians are happy to embrace anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory to collect green taxes, but when it comes to the big crunch they do basically nothing.

There is a big difference between a denier and a sceptic. The former often has little scientific knowledge and may have vested interests, in the same way that the tobacco companies once denied the link between smoking and lung cancer.

There is nothing wrong with being sceptical, as scientists should question the science of other scientists. Most scientists that I speak to agree that humans play a part in climate change, but are unsure of the extent of human input. The Royal Society’s committee on climate change is very much pro-AGW, but when I pushed one of their senior men some time ago as to what extent humans have contributed to temperature increases he said that he thought that AGW might have contributed about 90%.

This may seem a very vague response, but it is a sensible one, as in truth nobody really knows the human contribution. The important point is that if we agree that to some extent we contribute, then the exercise reduces to simple risk management- I don’t expect my house to catch fire today, but I pay the insurance just in case- it is too risky not to do.

So I ask the question again. What does the minerals industry do now- proceed with expensive schemes to reduce emissions, such as carbon capture and storage, or do as little as possible and make hay while the sun shines (ever hotter)? These are questions that I hope will be asked and hopefully answered at Climate Change ’11 in Falmouth.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Sustainability Special Issue goes to press

I have just given Elsevier the go-ahead to proceed with publication of the next special issue of Minerals Engineering- Sustainability, Resource Conservation and Recycling, which will be published in March (Volume 23 Issue 3).

This will contain 15 selected papers from SRCR ’09, which was held in Cape Town in April, and has been ably guest edited by Profs. Markus Reuter (Ausmelt Ltd, Australia) and Kari Heiskanen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland).

The next conference, SRCR ’11 will be held in Falmouth in May 2011, immediately followed by Climate Change and the Minerals Industry ’11 and Risk-Based Approaches to Major Decisions ’11.

It promises to be a week not to be missed!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Imperial Research Team Impresses

I was browsing the October issue of the Journal of Southern African IMM this morning and came across “A Letter from London” by Prof. Jan Cilliers (left) of Imperial College.

Jan points out that in terms of actual operations and tonnages the UK is not much of a mining country any more (although there may be an exciting new polymetallic mine in Cornwall soon). It does, however, have an enormous influence, London being the home of head offices of a number of major mining houses, and the UK has a very strong mining and mineral processing research presence internationally.

None more so than Jan’s impressive team of young researchers at Imperial College, who were out in force at last month’s Flotation ’09 conference in Cape Town, presenting 7 high-quality papers.

Jan must be congratulated on bring together such enthusiastic and bright young people. Just over a year ago Rio Tinto announced a major partnership with Imperial College, creating the Rio Tinto Centre for Advanced Mineral Recovery. The Centre is a research hub in which world class scientists are developing innovative technologies to improve mineral extraction and recovery, while minimising environmental impacts. The Imperial partnership is one of three that Rio Tinto has established, and the only one outside Australia.

The Rio Tinto Centre currently runs four projects, each over a 5 year lifetime. Two projects are in mineral processing: froth flotation and leaching, and two in geophysics. Complex computation is a major component of each of the four projects.

Keep up the good work, Jan et al.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Amended dates for MEI's November '10 conferences

I see Amanda is tweeting again on Twitter (am I going mad!!).

Her latest entry reminds me that we have changed some of the dates for the November 2010 conferences at the Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town. The amended dates are:

November 8-9 Bio and Hydromet '10

November 10-12 Process Mineralogy '10 (as previously advertised)

November 13-14 Zinc Processing '10.

There are calls for papers for these 3 events, and abstracts should be submitted by the end of June.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Hopes for a return to metal mining in Cornwall

Cornwall has an illustrious history of metal mining. In the 19th century the county was the world's biggest producer of copper and tin. The demise came with the discovery of large porphyry copper deposits in the Americas, and vast alluvial tin deposits in South East Asia. Copper mining effectively ended in the 19th century, while tin mining carried on at the deeper levels, the final mine, South Crofty closing down in the mid 1980s.

Now there is hope of a revival. I was talking to one of my ex-CSM students, John Webster at the CSM Lunch on Saturday. John, who left CSM with a Higher Diploma in 1980, has been recruited by South Crofty's new owners, Western Union Mines, to bring the mine back into operation within the next two years.
Originally South Crofty mined a narrow vein of cassiterite, in contact with the granite host rock, to produce tin and by-product tungsten. However various other ore-types have been discovered, containing copper, zinc, silver, lithium and indium, which could make South Crofty a true polymetallic mine, that could take advantage of fluctuations in metal prices, rather than be at the mercy of tin prices.

The next phase of operations will involve de-watering and WUM is working closely with the Environment Agency to ensure that the process is carried out in line with strict environmental regulations.

John is confident that the future is looking very bright indeed and Cornwall will very soon become a world class base metal producer once more.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Old Cornish Friends

Barbara and I have just spent a very pleasant afternoon in the old tin mining town of Redruth, with 60 members of the CSM Association, for the annual Christmas lunch.

It was good to catch up with old friends, including my old mineral processing colleague at CSM, Jim Turner (left).
Jim is now in his 80s, and the photo below shows Jim with two other octogenarians, who I first met on the staff when I arrived at CSM in 1974, John Shrimpton, head of mining, and Ron Hooper, head of surveying.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Getting back to normality

It's hard to believe that this time last week Barbara and I were in South Africa, Jon in Namibia and Amanda in Spain.

This week has been intensive catching up- responding fully to all emails, allocating referees to Minerals Engineering journal papers and collating abstracts submitted for Comminution '10. This is looking good and is on track to being as successful as Comminution '08. We will be putting a provisional programme together later this month, so it is still not too late to submit abstracts.

Amanda has also been busy and MEI Online is on the move again, with new headlines and news items. She has sent out a newsletter today, slightly later than usual.

Jon is back in UK now, and is in London at the moment for his girl-friend's 30th birthday. He's back in Cornwall on Sunday, so we should be back to full normality on Monday!

Final Calls for Papers for Precious Metals and Nickel Processing Conferences

If you are interested in the processing of gold, silver, PGM or nickel ores and concentrates, then Falmouth, Cornwall is the place to be next June.
Precious Metals '10 and Nickel Processing '10 will run back to back at the Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel.

Precious Metals '10 is currently sponsored by Maelgwyn Mineral Services, Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold. Nickel Processing '10 is sponsored by Xstrata Process Support.

If you would like to present a paper at either conference, then the deadline for abstracts is the end of this month.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Scientists rally to defence of Met Office

It is reported today that more than 1700 scientists have agreed to sign a statement defending the "integrity and honesty" of global warming research, responding to a round robin request from the Met Office as a sign of how worried it is that emails stolen from the University of East Anglia are casting doubts on anthropogenic global warming (see my blog of 23rd November).

This to me doesn't seem the best way of convincing people that the science is sound, and one of the scientists said that he felt under pressure to sign the circular or risk losing work! The Met Office also admitted that many of the signatories did not work on climate change! One scientist told The Times "The Met Office is a major employer of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming."


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Do thermometer readings "cut out the doubt"?

An article in today's Times reports on yesterday's Climate Change debate in Copenhagen, and is headed "Back-to-basics measure cuts out the doubt".

It reports that the data from the World Meteorological Organisation is a welcome return to basics. It does not rely on any of the 'proxy' measurements that are subject to criticism, but is based on the simplest, most direct measure of temperature- land and sea-based thermometers.

It is this method of temperature comparison that I expressed concern about in my posting of 14th October. Stephan Harrison responded:

You said: "During the 20th century the number of stations providing data must have fluctuated, and those situated in or near cities must have been influenced by the 'urban heating effect'".This is a good point. However, the inhomogeneities in the data sets are well known and accounted for..... In addition, the UHI is well known and can be accounted for in climate records.We can measure C02 levels from proxy records too (including ice cores, plant stomata etc) and they also show a consistent rise with GHG emissions.

So I am not at all sure how thermometer readings "cut out doubts". and maybe Stephan, you could clarify how "inhomogeneities in the data sets" are accounted for.

You also stated in a comment on October 19th that "The input data to the models doesn't include average annual temperature. The models are developed from simple energy balance models....temperature is an output rather than input." Even more confusing!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Energy and greenhouse gas impacts of mining and mineral processing operations

Life cycle assessments of the mining and mineral processing of iron ore, bauxite and copper concentrate have been carried out by workers at Australia's CSIRO and the results published in Journal of Cleaner Production.

The work focussed on embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The results showed that loading and hauling make the largest contributions to the total greenhouse gas emissions for the mining and processing of iron ore and bauxite. In the case of copper ore, the crushing and grinding steps make the largest contribution to the total greenhouse gas emissions for the production of copper concentrate. These results indicate that efforts to reduce the increased greenhouse gas emissions from mining and mineral processing, anticipated in the future as a result of falling ore grades and more finer-grained deposits, should focus on loading and hauling for iron ore and bauxite, while for copper ore the focus should be on grinding. There are a number of new and emerging technologies that could be expected to assist in this task, and these include high pressure grinding rolls and stirred mills for grinding, areas which will be explored in April's Comminution '10 conference in Cape Town.

Emerging technologies to combat CO2 emissions is also one of the themes of Climate Change and the Minerals Industry '11.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Back to earth with a bacon buttie

After over 4 weeks of fine dining in the Cape, it was back to the real world today, starting with an excellent bacon buttie and mug of tea at the West Cornwall Pasty shop on Platform 1 of London Paddington Station.

We are back home in Falmouth now, and looking forward to an evening meal of beans on toast and catching up on a few missed episodes of Coronation Street! OK, sad, I know, but bliss, and this will be the first wine-free day for several weeks- also the first time we have seen TV for a while, apart from the tedious World Cup Draw from Cape Town on Friday night.

Had texts from Amanda and Jon. Amanda returns tonight from a "tiring" week of conferencing in Spain, while Jon has been canoeing on the Orange River in Namibia, and crosses the border into South Africa tomorrow, returning to Famouth later in the week.

Back to the grind tomorrow, and hopefully sorting out the programmes for the forthcoming conferences, Processing of Industrial Minerals, and Comminution.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Last day in the Cape

Very hot final day in Franschhoek. Barbara and I enjoyed yet another excellent lunch, this time at Cafe Bon Bon at La Petite Dauphine Guest Farm, before leaving for the airport.

It has been a great circular tour from Cape Town, and for the benefit of anyone thinking of doing this after an MEI Conference, these are the places we stayed, and our gradings (out of 5):

Hermanus- The Windsor Hotel (3). Adequate accommodation and very conveniently situated on the sea-front, within walking distance of the restaurants.

Swellendam- The Coachman Guest House (5). Very relaxing overnight stop, with lovely gardens and pool, and good breakfast.

Knysna- Milkwood Bay Guest House (2). Wonderfully situated on the lagoon, but disappointing amenities and breakfast. Main criticism is that it is GROSSLY over-priced, so we cannot recommend it. A better option is the adjacent Under Milk Wood cottages, where we have stayed twice previously, which are more basic, but are good value for money considering the location.

Prince Albert- Dennehof Guest House (5). Wonderful Karoo character, and excellent breakfast.

Matjiesfontein - Lord Milner Hotel (3). A must stop-over, but the faded elegance is fading very quickly. The pool was out of service, and judging by the colour of the water, has been for some time. Excellent Karoo lamb, however, at the evening dinner.

Franschhoek- Erica's Guest House. Our 4th time here, and never disappoints. Paul and Rosemary very friendly and helpful hosts. Great place to relax by the lovely pool and gardens, and the main street of Franschhoek is only a short walk away.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Farewells at La Petite Ferme

There can be very few restaurants in the world with a view like this one, at La Petite Ferme Wine Estate, Franschhoek.

Today, over lunch at the restaurant, we bade farewell to our friends Judy, Mike and Jane, who fly back to the UK today.

Barbara and I have one more night in Franschhoek before leaving for Cape Town airport tomorrow afternoon, and the long journey back to a very wet and cold Cornwall.

Hope the blog followers have enjoyed our trip around the beautiful Western Cape. It's back to basics on Monday!!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Idyllic Franschhoek

One of South Africa's most beautiful drives today, through Worcester to Franschhoek, via Du Toit's Pass.

Our favourite Guest Houses on this grand tour are Prince Albert's Dennehof and Erica's, nestling under the mountains at Franschhoek.

Relaxing at Erica's, Franschhoek
After a quick dip in the pool, we picnic-lunched under the trees at the nearby Mont Rochelle Wine Estate. Then back to Erica's to check email and the journal. Good to see that papers from Flotation '09 are now flowing in for the special issue, but apologies folks- I won't be dealing with them until next week, when we return to a very cold Cornwall.

More wine at Mont Rochelle

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Over the Karoo to Matjiesfontein

After an excellent breakfast at the Dennehof (left), and a leisurely morning in Prince Albert, we left for the Karoo and a stop-over at the quirky town of Matjiesfontein, a remnant of Victorian colonialism, and the faded elegance of the Lord Milner hotel. With well-preserved shops and post-office, this single street town resembles a film set and the railway station in front of the hotel serves the main line from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

The Lord Milner Hotel

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Over the mountains to the Karoo

Today we travelled from Knysna to Prince Albert on one of my favourite South African drives, through the Outeniqua and Swartberg Passes. This was the 4th time that we have made this journey, the first being with the family in 1982, when I was a visiting lecturer at the University of Cape Town.

Barbara, Amanda and Jon on the Outeniqua Pass in 1982
The Swartberg Pass between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert is a unique experience and a major challenge for our friends, who are not too happy with heights. An untarred road with precipitous hairpins, it offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the Cape.

Arriving in the little town of Prince Albert, on the cusp between the Little and Great Karoo we stayed overnight at the Dennehof Guest House, a National Monument homestead.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Catching up with news in Knysna

A very relaxing weekend in Knysna, although the weather is not too great.

Celebrated my 64th birthday today and caught up with news and emails. Skyped Amanda, who leaves for a week's business in Barcelona this afternoon. Jon is enjoying sand-surfing in Namibia.

Today is the official deadline for abstracts for Comminution '10, so I have been busy acknowledging receipt of those received today. We will be putting the programme together in late December, so it is definitely not too late for abstract submissions.

I see that Stephan Harrison has added an interesting comment to my post of November 23rd.

I read with interest the obituary to Prof. Jan Leja on MEI Online. What an incredible life he had. Although I never met him personally I knew of his work, and used his book The Surface Chemistry of Flotation during my early years at Camborne School of Mines.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


We arrived in Knysna this afternoon, after an overnight stop at a very hot Swellendam. For the next two days we will be relaxing by the beautiful lagoon, and catching up with email.
Good to see that abstracts are now flowing in for Comminution 10 and papers are arriving for the special Flotation '09 issue of Minerals Engineering.

Friday, 27 November 2009

On the Quality of BBC Science Reporting

Interesting to see that the UK’s Daily Mail has devoted a whole page article on the UEA CRU email leaks (see my blog of 23rd November). It complains that the BBC etc are not giving any coverage to these leaks and questions why not.

Very good question! I have felt for some time that the BBC’s science reporting is abysmal with unsubstantiated alarmist stories, often accompanied with vague statements such as “scientists say..”.

Climate change is almost always preceded with ‘man made’ and often the reports begin with ‘scientists agree that…’. Sorry, no, they don’t!!

If there is anyone from the BBC out there reading this, I would be really interested in your views, particularly on what I see is a bias towards anthropogenic glocal warming.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Whale-watching in Hermanus

We left a cloudy Cape Town and then spent the afternoon watching whales in sunny Hermanus. The ‘whale-capital’ of South Africa has a beautiful coastal path, and from there we spotted a number of southern-right whales and orcas.

We have had many superb meals over the years in South Africa, but none finer than tonight’s at Hermanos. As close to perfection as you can get, and at a very reasonable price.

Maelgwyn Mineral Services shows early commitment to Flotation '11

The thriving Welsh company Maelgwyn Mineral Services has shown its continued support of MEI by coming on board as first corporate sponsors of Flotation '11, which will be held in Cape Town in November 2011.
MMS are also sponsors of Precious Metals '10, which will be held in Falmouth in June.
MMS sponsored and exhibited at this month's Flotation '09.
Their team at the event are shown below: Rainer Imhof, Adrian Singh, Mike Battersby, Hennie Stallknecht and Steve Flatman

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Last day at Noordhoek

Just had my last 'surf-walk' on Noordhoek Beach. Cool and cloudy today.

We took the train from Fish Hoek to St. James, then walked to Kalk Bay, where we had lunch in the always excellent Harbour House.

Tomorrow we leave for Hermanus, then on to Knysna. I will be blogging and checking email when and where I can find internet access.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Flotation '09 Photos Published

Just had a message from Amanda to inform me that photographs from Flotation '09 are now available for viewing and downloading from the conference website.

The Fairest Cape

The temperature today was 25C, a full 9C cooler than yesterday. We had lunch at the Black Marlin restaurant, just south of Simon's Town.This was once our favourite Cape Town restaurant, but after a few poor meals, we abandoned it several years ago. We gave it another chance today, which was a mistake. Wonderful setting but mediocre meal.

Then down to the Cape, where Mike, Barbara and I did our favourite short walk, 45 minutes from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Point.

The Cape of Good Hope


Carbon capture and storage is one of the major themes of Climate Change and the Minerals Industry ’11, so it was interesting to read in today’s Cape Times that SASOL, who has always been a supporter of MEI Conferences, is to sign an expensive deal today to buy into the Norwegian government’s international BIGCCS carbon capture and research centre. The company will thereby be demonstrating a large commitment to CCS, even as the South African government expresses reluctance to pay for cutting carbon emissions to tackle climate change.

Norway is already capturing and storing carbon dioxide in the seabed shelves from which it extracted oil and gas. Norway believes that with its oil-from-coal expertise, SASOL can make a valuable contribution to CCS research.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

First feedback on Flotation ‘09

An email in this morning from MEI’s good friend, and consultant to Nickel Processing ’10, Dr. Norman Lotter, who is safely home in Sudbury after an uneventful but tiring return trip from South Africa.

He is pleased that he and his co-author, Prof. Dee Bradshaw, received very favourable comments and compliments about their paper on mixed collectors, the response exceeding their expectations.

Dee Bradshaw and Norman Lotter at Flotation '09

Norm says of Flotation ’09 “It was an excellent conference that typifies MEI. The strong attendance in spite of the recession tells of the value that the delegates see in both its technical value and networking value.”

Norm, we really do appreciate your comments which make worthwhile all our efforts to produce high quality events.

There was a definite spirit of optimism at the conference regarding the economic recovery. Looking at the commodity prices adds weight to this optimism. Base metal prices have increased steadily over the past 12 months, copper from just under $4000/t to $6700/t, lead from 900 to 2400 $/t, zinc from 1200 to 2200 $/t and nickel from 9000 to 16,500 $/t. Precious metal prices have also gained steadily. So I think we should look forward to 2010 with cautious optimism.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

A day in Cape Town

It's hard to believe that it is 3 years since the last MEI Conference (Reagents '06) at the Mount Nelson Hotel, before we discovered the beautiful Vineyard Hotel at Claremont.

Today we called in at the 'Nellie' for coffee, before walking through the City Bowl,via the Bo-Kaap, the colourful Muslim district and Cape Town's oldest residential area. At the vibrant Waterfront we had a very average lunch at the once excellent 221 Restaurant.

The Bo-Kaap Area
Then back for an exhilarating walk through the surf on Noordhoek Beach. I have been walking on this beach every year for the past 10 years and this is the first year that venturing into the water has not been an ordeal. Previously the Atlantic water has been unbearably icy but this year it is almost tepid and there are surfers out there with no wet-suits.
I can only assume that the cold Benguela current from the Antarctic has shifted a few degrees west. Can anyone enlighten me on this? Stephan, if you are reading this, can you provide an explanation? Anything to do with climate change?
Tomorrow I plan to catch up with the world of minerals engineering, while Barbara and our friends lunch at the Winchester Mansions Hotel at Sea Point.

Friday, 20 November 2009

A Lazy Day

A very hot day today, so did very little apart from the afternoon beach walk.
In the early evening, we had a braai (BBQ) with neighbours.

Minerals Engineering Special Issues

One of the primary aims of MEI Conferences is to produce state-of-the-art special issues of the peer-reviewed journal Minerals Engineering.

The initial peer-review of a paper takes place at the conference during its presentation and discussion, so I am hoping that authors from last week’s Flotation ’09 are now hard at work preparing their final papers for submission to the Elsevier site. Profs. Dee Bradshaw and J-P Franzidis will be advising me on appropriate referees to supplement the 140 reviewers held in my journal database. Already I have had delegates from the conference kindly offering their services to review specific papers.

I must remind all authors that good conference papers are not necessarily good journal papers and before submission they must ask whether the paper is innovative and of generic interest i.e. it must provide information that is of use to workers outside the particular mine, ore-body or other operation described.

When the papers are submitted, they are initially scrutinised by Elsevier to check formatting, standard of English etc. It is essential that papers are written according to the guidelines laid out in the Guide for Authors. If satisfactory, the papers are passed on to me and I assign suitable referees, specialists in the subject matter, to review the papers.

The process of reviewing, revision, further refereeing etc can be lengthy, but this is the basis of science publication and, although not infallible, ensures that standards are maintained at a high level.

We are hoping that the special Flotation issue of Minerals Engineering will be published in mid-2010.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A quiet day

Very hot today so Barbara and I had a restful day, while our friends visited Stellenbosch.

We had morning coffee in Simon’s Town, and then spent the rest of the day at Monkey Valley. I went for my usual, today uneventful, walk on the beach.

Simon's Town

Jon emailed from Botswana. He had just left Zambia and was disappointed that there was virtually no water to be seen flowing over the Victoria Falls. Also heard from Amanda from a very cold and wet Cornwall.

We have always felt that Cape Town has some of the world’s finest restaurants, but tonight we has an outstanding meal at the local ‘The Foodbarn’ Restaurant in Noordhoek.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Groot Constantia and an attempted mugging!

An excellent lunch today at Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine farm.

In the afternoon I went on my usual Noordhoek Beach walk but due to the very strong wind I was alone on the long beach. At least I thought I was, until confronted by a young guy demanding money. When I refused he attacked me, and I managed to hit him fairly hard on the head, after which he made off.

In thirteen consecutive years visiting Cape Town, that was the first violent incident that I have encountered but a lesson on not to walk alone on deserted beaches!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Noordhoek Beach

A hot day today in the Cape. Late afternoon I went for a 6 mile walk-jog through the surf on Noordhoek Beach, and it was stunning.
Earlier our friends Judy and Mike Ward, from Falmouth, and Judy’s sister, Jane, from London, arrived from UK to join us for 10 days at Monkey Valley.

Monday, 16 November 2009

A day of Farewells

Just as summer finally arrives in Cape Town, we had to say farewell to Jon and Amanda today.
I drove Jon to the airport this morning, through Cape Town’s appalling early morning traffic. He is on his way to Zambia, from where he begins an overland trip through Botswana and Namibia, arriving back in Cape Town in 3 weeks’ time.

We had an excellent lunch with Amanda at Blues Restaurant in Camps Bay before dropping her off at the airport for her Emirates flight back to the UK.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Chapman's Peak

The 582m Chapman’s Peak overlooks Noordhoek Beach (see yesterday's beach photo), and Chapman’s Peak drive is one of the most famous scenic drives in the world.

Amanda, Jon, Dean Eastbury and I made the fairly strenuous hike to the summit today. The views of Hout Bay were spectacular as was the view from the very cold summit, where we were buffeted by gale force winds.

On our return, a well earned beer was followed by an, unfortunately, very mediocre meal at the local Red Herring Restaurant.

Views of Hout Bay

Jon on the windy summit with Constantia and Fish Hoek in background

Sheltering from the wind on the summit

The capricious Cape Town weather

They call it the Cape of Storms and the weather during the past week has been the worst that we can remember.

Even now, although the weather has improved, it has been totally unpredictable today.

This morning we relaxed in our cottage at Noordhoek, and caught up on emails and phone calls, then in the afternoon Jon, Amanda and I walked 6 miles on Noordhoek Beach, initially in glorious sunshine, then an hour later in a torrential downpour.

Dean Eastbury of Elsevier joined us this evening for drinks and dinner at Monkey Valley’s Thorfynn’s Restaurant.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Farewell to the Vineyard Hotel

The sun finally shone on the Vineyard this morning, as most of the delegates made their way home! Amanda surfaced very late for breakfast, looking extremely fragile after ‘networking’ until 3 in the morning! We will be back in 5 months' time for Comminution '10.

After finalising our accounts with the hotel, Barbara, Jon, Amanda and I collected our rental car for the 30 minute drive to Noordhoek and our timeshare cottage at the beautiful Monkey Valley

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Last Supper

Amanda and Jon enjoying a final Vineyard dinner with Prof. Jan Cilliers and his impressive team of young researchers from Imperial College, UK.

Left to right: Jan Cilliers, Kathyrn Cole, Amanda, Pablo Brito Parada, Gareth Morris, Kathyn Hadler, Chris Smith and Jon.

Flotation '09- the party's over

The conference was officially closed at 1540 by Prof. J-P Franzidis and me, the delegates then enjoying a final wine event in the exhibition area.
It has been a great conference, thanks to the quality of the papers, the high level of interest shown by the delegates, the perfect venue, and, of course, the weather, which has kept most people indoors for the last week!
I would like to thank our 12 sponsors again, and our two consultants, the chairpersons, authors, and all delegates for making this event such a success.
The conference has ended, but has just begun as far as I am concerned, as I now have the satisfying task of putting together a high quality special issue of Minerals Engineering. The conference itself has provided the initial peer-review of the papers and authors have been asked to submit their final revised manuscripts within the next month.
The weather is still atrocious, but is forecast to improve by weekend, which is good news for all who are staying on to sample the delights of the Cape.
The next Flotation conference will be held at the Vineyard Hotel again, from November 7-10, 2011 and Maelgwyn Minerals have already agreed to continue with their sponsorship.
Finally, we will be preparing a report on the conference for MEI Online, and would greatly appreciate your views and comments, sent directly to me at