Saturday, 14 May 2011

SRCR '11 Conference Diary

Tuesday May 10th

Sustainability through Resource Conservation and Recycling '11 got under way this morning, and I welcomed our 46 delegates, representing Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, France, Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and UK.

Terry Norgate of CSIRO
Although a truly international audience, the turnout for a subject of such importance was low, but not altogether unexpected, as I discussed in Tuesday's posting. After a brief introduction to Cornwall, I introduced our consultant, Prof. Markus Reuter, of Outotec, Australia, our corporate sponsor. Markus discussed the role of a technology supplier in enabling sustainability, and then introduced the first keynote speaker, Terry Norgate of the CSIRO Minerals Down Under Flagship, Australia, who spoke about the various issues relating to the sustainable production and uses of metals. Resource consumption is rising rapidly, driven by population growth and rising wealth, and metals are a significant component, due to society's almost insatiable demand, to provide useful services via metal-containing products. Sustainable development requires greatly improved efficiencies in the use of resources, and also major reductions in waste generation and emissions, in order to break the link between economic expansion and resource consumption. The need to supply primary metals will be supplemented by increasing amounts of secondary metals from recycling of metal stocks in use.

Relaxing at the morning coffee break
There were six papers in the morning's technical session (the conference abstracts can be viewed on MEI Online, and the conference papers are available on CD), four from Australia, and two from Finland's Aalto University (formerly Helsinki University of Technology). Australia is represented by eight delegates, and Finland four, all the latter being from Aalto.

The afternoon session contained papers from South Africa, Finland and Australia. Unfortunately the Egyptian author did not show, probably due to visa problems. We must stress that delegates to future conferences apply for visas well in advance. I had emails today from the delegates from Iran and Netherlands to advise that they had failed to obtain their visas in time to travel.

There is no better therapy after a hard day's conferencing than to walk the beautiful Cornish coast path and there was a good turnout in the late afternoon for my 6 mile guided walk, which ended with a welcome beer at the old Chain Locker pub in Falmouth town. Events such as this provide a great way for delegates to really get to know each other in a relaxed social atmosphere.

In the Pennance Point woodland
Overlooking Falmouth


A welcome beer at the Chain Locker

It was good to see so many young presenters who are making their international conference debuts this week. I am pictured with them at the pub (below right): Gregory Lewis (Belgium), Ben Jones (Australia), Nguyen Nghiem (Korea), Artem Golev (Australia), Rodrigo Silva (Brazil) and Madeleine Scheidema (Finland).
With the conference "first-timers"
The pub is in Falmouth old town with many excellent restaurants in he vicinity. I had a great evening in The Hut with Dean Eastbury, Elsevier publishing manager, and Minerals Engineering Editorial Board members Markus Reuter, Kari Heiskanen and Jannie van Deventer. Kari is also co-editor of International Journal of Mineral Processing.

Wednesday May 11th

The day got off to a fine start with an excellent keynote presentation from Prof. Richard Williams of University of Leeds, UK, entitled "Rethinking separation methods and sustainable uses of fine minerals". He discussed the prospects for re-use of fine mineral waste particulates in engineered products by recovering and separating ultra-fine minerals and assembling them into new materials.

In the separation process an alternative flotation method was described using aphron systems to recover fine materials, and in the assembly process some alternative methodologies using environmentally preferable surfactants were explored.

Richard discusses his keynote with
Profs. Markus Reuter & Jannie van Deventer
The presentation attracted lively discussion, particularly between one of Richard's co-authors, Jan Cilliers of Imperial College, and Jannie van Deventer, of University of Melbourne.
Although the paper is not in the proceedings CD it will be submitted to the special issue of Minerals Engineering and is certain to generate much interest.

Jon with Dr. Neira of Colombia

The session following the keynote contained 9 papers, with authors from Australia, Korea, Portugal, Belgium, Colombia, France and Brazil. The Colombian presenter, Gustavo Neira, of Universidad Industrial de Santander, arrived yesterday afternoon after a
delayed flight, but was surprisingly cheerful despite having lost his  baggage and two posters en route!

After a late lunch another great social networking experience, out first conference dinner at Cornwall's famous Eden Project. This proved to be a memorable occasion, as we were privileged to have the two, normally crowded, biomes to ourselves, with plenty of time to experience the heat and humidity within the Rainforest biome, before meeting up in the Mediterranean biome for drinks and an excellent barbecue.
Arriving at the Eden Project's giant biomes

In the Mediterranean biome
The delegates from Aalto, Finland enjoying predrinks in the biome
The fabulous barbecue setting
The sun sets on Eden
Eden was a truly special experience, and we will be back there next year for Biohydromet '12.

Thursday May 12th

Prof. Jan Cilliers, of Imperial College, UK, presented the 3rd and final keynote lecture this morning, on the sustainability of minerals engineering talent. The International Mineral Processing Council (IMPC) has established a Commission on Mineral Processing Education to consider the global challenge of ensuring an adequate supply of well-trained mineral processing engineers. The Commission has, for the past two years, been collecting international information on the recent minerals engineering supply position and with a view into the near future.

This data has been collated and there are some interesting and surprising results. North America produces 175 minerals engineering graduates per annum, South America 1020, Turkey and the Middle East 470, Africa 400 (mainly from South Africa), Russia and Eastern Europe 370, Australia only 40, India a poor 140 and China a staggering 2900. It is evident that India will find it difficult to sustain its large mining industry with local talent alone, while Australia's mining industry employs chemical engineers to satisfy demands.

Although all of India's graduates go into industry, and around 80% of graduates from China and Australia, less than 50% of African and European graduates stay in the industry, their degrees being a springboard into other areas.

Unfortunately Jan's paper is not on the CD and will not be submitted to Minerals Engineering but the data will be updated and presented at the IMPC in India next year. At this stage Jan would welcome any input or views.

A very full day of papers followed Jan's keynote, with 10 papers from Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Finland, UK and Canada, and then Jon closed the conference, inviting everyone to attend SRCR '13, in Falmouth again in May 2013.

This has been an interesting and enjoyable event with a great mix of people of different nationalities. Apart from the keynotes, I have not commented on individual papers, but would like delegates to add their own comments, towards producing an archival report for MEI Online.

All corresponding authors have been invited to submit their final papers to Minerals Engineering for peer-review. The special SRCR issue is scheduled for publication early next year.


  1. Thanks Barry to you and your team for all the hard work in bringing the conference together. Great conference after-hours activities and I thoroughly enjoyed myself over the full three days.

  2. Thanks once again for the possibility to be involved in this unique conference.

    The importance of this conference is that it contributes the highly developed theories of minerals processing and extractive metallurgy in an innovative manner to the important field of sustainability in the mining and metals industry, various end-of-pipe solutions for residue and waste processing, end-of-life goods processing, design for sustainability etc. This is what is required to realize and deliver techno-economic solutions of importance to realizing resource efficiency.

    As usual, the conference size permits a good discussion of the various important issues facing the minerals and recycling industries. This is what attracts me to this conference that it evokes good discussion, which is often lost in larger conferences. This creates a community of people that in the end leaves as good friends and continues old friendships.

    We look forward to receiving papers to create a good archival special edition of Minerals Engineering with a refereed selection of the presented papers.

    I enjoyed the conference and look forward to being part of it in 2013.

    Markus Reuter, Outotec, Australia

  3. This was my first participation in a MEI event, and I must say that it was a truly fruitful and enjoyable experience. I express my gratitude to Barry, Barbara and Jon for their hospitality and the excellent organization of this SRCR´11, and I will be looking forward to be part of new events. Congratulations as well to all the participants, for the high technical level of their works. I had an excellent opportunity to meet new people, and I expect to be in touch with all of them.

    Gustavo Neira, UIS, Colombia

  4. Photos from SRCR '11 can be viewed at

  5. I agree entirely with Glen, Markus and Gustavo.

    It was a really important conference. The organization was excellent (congratulations Barry, Barbara, Amanda and Jon).

    Maybe we can meet all again in Falmouth in 2013.

    M. Teresa Carvalho, Portugal

  6. SRCR '11 was a great conference.
    Hope that the next one in 2013 will be even better.
    Conference can add new subjects as water reuse, recycling of e-waste through bio&hydrometallurgy procedures and other important topics.
    New keynotes on the sustainability in the mineral processing field and metals extraction will be mostly welcome.
    I must say that MEI team did an excellent job. Delegates got together in a nice and cozy atmosphere.
    My congratulations to Barry, Barbara, Jon and Amanda.
    See you all in SRCR '13
    MaurĂ­cio L Torem
    DEMa PUC-Rio

  7. Carina Ulsen - Brazil6 June 2011 at 15:10

    Dear colleagues, no doubt the Conference was a such success :-) Barry and his lovely family made us fell at home, an atmosphere of friendship and cooperation involved the meeting. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be with you. Hope to see you soon.

    best regards,

  8. It is the first time I have attended international conference. It was good chance for me to meet many foreign scientists, researchers and students to exchange research activities and get friendship. I was impressed with well organization, and Falmouth is very nice place. Thank Dr. Wills and his family for organizing good conference. I hope to participate again.
    with my best regards
    Nghiem Van Nguyen

  9. I spent a really nice time in Falmouth thank to Barry, his family but also all of you. Organization was just perfect. Social events as well. At this occasion, I met a lot of interesting people, friends and learnt a lot from all your presentations. Mine was the first at MEI and I really enjoyed it.
    Hope to meet you again at SRCR13...

  10. I'm sure that SRCR'11 was a great opportunity to increase my network and to get know more about research lines focused on a "sustainability thinking"... so important for the future of mining industries...
    I'm so glad for it and I hope to be able to attend SRCR'13!
    Thanks for all.
    Kind regards,

    Juarez Amaral Filho - UFRGS/Brazil

  11. I would like to congratulate the team for the realization of MEI SRCR'11. The themes were very important and very good reception to the participants. Still, the opportunities for exchanging experiences and contacts between participants are very important.
    See you all in SRCR'13.

    Jean Carlo S.S. Menezes

  12. The Proceedings CD is now available at:


If you have difficulty posting a comment, please email the comment to and I will submit on your behalf