Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Process Mineralogy '10 - day 1

I opened the conference this morning and welcomed our 100 delegates, representing Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, D.R. of Congo, Finland, France, Germany, India, Kazakstan, Mongolia, Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, UK, USA. I thanked our sponsors, Bruker, FEI, IMP, ALS, PANalytical and AngloAmerican for their confidence in this inaugural event, a measure of how important mineralogy is in the processing of modern orebodies.

We have a fine technical programme ahead of us, with 50 papers due for presentation, but I expressed disappointment that many of the presenters had, despite many reminders, failed to submit their draft papers for the Proceedings, only 24 papers having been received by the final deadline.

Our consultant, Dr. Megan Becker, of the University of Cape Town, then said a few words, noting that this conference followed the previous MEI conferences on Automated Mineralogy which were held in Brisbane, the major change being that the two major automated mineralogy machines are now manufactured by a single company, FEI.

Megan then introduced our first keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Schouwstra, of Anglo Research, South Africa, who discussed developments in mineralogical techniques, and how they have impacted on the tasks of mineralogists.

Robert noted that there are no formal courses in applied mineralogy in South African Universities, most of the mineralogists being geologists who have little knowledge or experience of metallurgical processes. The important point is that mineralogy is not just about identifying minerals, but also a knowledge of how these minerals will behave in a process, dependent on dissemination, associations, etc.

Today it has been very hot and clear, so we are all looking forward to tonight's dinner at Groot Constantia. More on that tomorrow.

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