Saturday, 25 June 2011

Physical Separation '11- Conference Diary

Physical Separation '11 was held in Falmouth, UK from June 23-24, 2011.

As always I invite comments from delegates who attended this event.

June 23rd

Jon opened the conference this morning, thanking our two sponsors, Industrial Minerals, and International Mining.

This is the 2nd Physical Separation conference to be held in Falmouth. Two years ago the conference attracted 34 delegates, but this year we have 52 delegates, representing 18 countries: UK (14), 5 from Brazil, and 4 each from South Africa and Germany, 3 each from Netherlands and Australia, 2 each from Austria, Sweden, USA, Vietnam and Canada, and one each from Korea, Finland, Turkey, China, Norway, France and India. Ten of these delegates had also attended Computational Modelling '11 earlier in the week.

Delegates from Ferrous Resources, Brazil
It was good to see so many new faces at the conference, including 3 representatives from Ferrous Resources, Brazil, a company which is new to MEI conferences. The large UK contingent was also encouraging, although there was no representation from UK academia, and many delegates were surprised and disappointed that there was no one representing the nearby Camborne School of Mines. This was a shame, as the morning's sessions focused on microwave processing, electronic sorting, magnetic and electrostatic separation, areas of particular research interest in UK Universities. One of the presenters, Safak Ozcan, obtained his PhD from Birmingham University in the early 1990's, supervised by my old friend Terry Veasey. He is now a Professor at Istanbul University, Turkey.

Some time ago (June 17th 2009) a question was asked on the blog regarding Axsia-Mozley, manufacturer of small cyclones and the Mozley MGS machine. Apparently the MGS is still thriving, particularly in chromite and tin operations in Turkey and Peru. Salter Cyclones is a new company, formed in January, following the closure of the Mozley offices, and is manned by many old 'Mozley faces' who will be well known to many in this field, Paul Salter, Geoff Childs, Lynne Emanuel, Ian Daniels and three other ex-Mozley staff. Ian represented the company at the conference and told me of the latest application for the MGS, upgrading Knelson concentrates in a Turkish gold mine. The Mozley company was particularly well known for its small cyclones, and the new company follows on with this tradition, manufacturing assemblies of small diameter polyurethane cyclones.

Gravity separation was the theme of the afternoon session, with papers on gravity concentrators, centrifuges, and hydrocyclones.

A well earned beer or two at the Chain Locker,
while waiting for the coast walkers

There was a good turnout in the late afternoon for the famous MEI coastal walk, which ended with beers in the MEI 'local' the old Chain Locker pub in Falmouth town.

The coastal path above Falmouth
Pendennis Castle blockhouse on the River Fal

Relaxing at the Chain Locker, old Falmouth

June 24th

I opened the conference this morning with a 40 minute introduction to the geology and history of copper and tin mining in Cornwall, the background to this afternoon's visit to the historic Camborne-Redruth area. Tin mining in Cornwall eventually ended in the early 1990s, and Claude Bazin, of Laval University, Canada, asked if a revival was likely. An interesting question, as one of our delegates, John Webster, is managing director of Western United Mines, UK, involved with the potential development of a polymetallic mine near Camborne. The full story of this can be found elsewhere (11 February 2011)on the blog.

John Webster of Western United Mines, with Jens-Michael
Bergmann of CommodasUltrasort, Germany
John's particular interest at this conference is sensor-based sorting, and the world market leader in this area is CommodasUltrasort, one of the three companies exhibiting in the coffee break-out area, together with Delkor UK Ltd, and the locally-based Holman-Wilfley Ltd. Delkor is a leading solid/liquid separation supplier, while Holman-Wilfley is the world's recognised supplier of Holman and Wilfley shaking tables. Managing Director Chris Bailey was a student of mine at Camborne School of Mines (CSM). He graduated with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in 1986, as did John Webster 5 years later.

This morning's sessions dealt with hydrocyclones, dense medium cyclones, air and hydraulic classifiers and screening. We had our only 'no-show' this morning, leading to the cancellation of our last paper, from India. A big problem with all conferences is with authors who, after having had their papers accepted for presentation, and confirming their attendance, fail to show. Just over a week ago no less than 7 papers were withdrawn from the programme and the Proceedings, as the authors either had better things to do, or just did not bother to register. Of these, 6 were from India, with 5 papers withdrawn from a single company, Tata Steel.

Amanda closed the technical sessions just before lunch, after which 30 of us made the 12 mile trip by coach to the 19th Century Basset Mines near Redruth, the 'birthplace of modern mining'.
Marriott's Shaft, Basset Mines

The Miners' Dry, Marriott's Shaft

West Wheal Basset Stamps
This has been a most enjoyable conference and it has been good to welcome many new, friendly people to the MEI Conferences fold. The next Physical Separation is scheduled for Falmouth again in June 2013. Details will soon be available on MEI Online.


  1. Very informative articles presented in the conference. Visit to old copper and tin mines with the guidance of Barry Wills was very nice.

  2. It is really a very impressive conference. I enjoyed the environment very much. It is a quiet and beautiful place with interesting history of mining. It is green everywhere including the journey on the train.

  3. The Proceedings CD is now available at

  4. The photos are now available at:

  5. Dear All,
    I have earlier sent my comments as anonymous profile, but it did not appear somehow...

    It was pleasure for me to attend the conference which was mainly related to "real mineral processing" at a remote but comfortable town.

    I have seen the past "baddles" and understood how far we have gone in modern mineral processing.

    Thanks the "WILLS' team and the other academicians and practitioners attended at the conference.

    Warm regards to everyone,

    Prof.Dr. Safak G. OZKAN


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