Thursday, 17 November 2011

Flotation '11- Applications Symposium

J-P Franzidis, Dan Alexander and Jon Wills
Wednesday 16th November

Jon welcomed the 34 new delegates to the Applications Symposium, which opened this morning, and then introduced MEI consultant Prof. J-P. Franzidis, of the University of Cape Town, who introduced the symposium with a brief overview, pointing out the breadth of the applications (nearly a dozen different mineral commodities) and the topics to be covered.. He also drew attention to the illustrious list of delegates, which includes an Order of Australia, the Chair of the International Mineral Processing Council, the chairmen of the 2014 and 2016 IMPCs, two Gaudin medallists, as well as lots of young people (which is good for the future). Finally he highlighted that, especially in these tough financial times, with the world concerned about the environment, and energy and water, technology and innovation are what are going to get us through, and that is what this symposium offers.
The symposium keynote was given by Dr. Dan Alexander of JKTech, Australia, on the role that flotation models have in influencing and understanding the flotation behaviour of operating plants, improving the geometallurgical prediction of ore types and reducing the risk of plant design.

Morning chairmen Kari Heiskanen
and Chris Greet
Modelling and simulation were the main topics of the technical session up to the coffee break, with good papers from Canada, USA, Australia, and UK.

The influence of mineralogy on flotation performance was the subject for the remainder of the morning. This included papers on the Newcrest Telfer copper-gold operation in Australia, real-time mineralogical analysis of mixed copper ores and prediction of PGM flotation from automated SEM data.

Afternoon chairpersons Cyril O'Connor
and Kathryn Hadler
Improving flotation performance and control was the main theme of the afternoon session, which closed with 3 papers on cell innovations, one from Santa Maria University and Outotec, Chile on a new mechanism for large flotation cells, followed by Outotec, Finland on the effect of mixing mechanism developments on performance, and concluding with a paper from Maelgwyn Mineral Services on the Imhoflot pneumatic flotation machine. The day ended with the presentation by AMIRA and their hosted cocktail party.

Thursday17th November

Morning chairs R.-H.Yoon
and Elaine Wightman
There were a number of papers this morning on control of flotation, including innovative techniques such as passive acoustic emissions monitoring, 3D electrical resistance tomography, online pulp chemistry monitoring, and the use of machine vision to predict flotation performance.

A dynamic process simulator, the Outotec Virtual Experience, has been used successfully for operator training in mineral processing, and was described by authors from Outotec Finland and Sweden's Lulea University of Technology. A report on this advanced training simulator can be found on MEI Online .

With Don McKee

A surprise visitor this morning was Don McKee, former director of the JKMRC. He was impressed by the standard of papers, and remarked on how things had progressed since 1991, when he presented a keynote lecture at Minerals Engineering '91 in Singapore on the future of automatic control.

I mentioned on Sunday that Clariant would be giving away 4 copies of the SME book Froth Flotation - a Century of Innovation. Three of the lucky winners in the daily draw, Goran Adolfsson, Jacqueline Monama and Chanda Ngulube, are pictured right.

The final session of Flotation '11 dealt with plant operations, and included papers on nickel, mixed oxides-sulphides copper ores, PGE ores, and coal flotation.

The session was chaired by the MEI consultants, Dee Bradshaw and J.-P.Franzidis, who finished by summarising the conference, which was characterised by many excellent presentations by young people. It has been evident that a new age of measurement and instrumentation is dawning, aided by developments in computing,and the importance of mineralogy has been emphasised.

MEI's Amanda then closed the conference and invited delegates to Flotation '13, at the Vineyard Hotel again, in 2 years time. We then said our farewells over a glass or two of wine in the hotel gardens.


  1. From afar Flotation '11 certainly appears to have been a great success. I look forward to discussing outcomes with our team on their return. Congratulations to the MEI team! ....and congratulations to Dr Sarah Schwarz for successfully avoiding being photographed at a conference she has attended. I first I believe!

  2. My first Flotation conference but I must say, it was quite an interesting conference and very interesting papers were presented.
    Mubanga Rex Mumbi, Kansanshi Copper Mining, PLC, Zambia

  3. Which papers did you see as most interesting / informative?
    Robert Seitz, Rio Tinto, USA


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