Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Procemin 2011 conference report

A report on Procemin 2011, Santiago, Chile, by Jon Wills of MEI and Kathryn Hadler of Imperial College, London.

Jon and Kathryn

After arriving in the morning to a very hot Santiago, I spent the next few hours exploring the city with Kathryn Hadler and Gareth Morris of Imperial College, a highlight of which was Gareth being interviewed by a local student! As a first time visitor to the city I found it relaxing and friendly with the old centre contrasting nicely with the new Bellavista area.

November 30th:
The Sheraton Hotel was the venue for Procemin 2011 which started this evening with welcome talks by the organisers, who announced an attendance of 444, followed by drinks and canap├ęs in the exhibition area. 

 This provided a good chance to catch up with some of the delegates who were also at Flotation ‘11 such as Chris Greet of Magotteaux and to also reacquaint with delegates from past MEI conferences such as Jonas Addai-Mensah  (left) from the  Ian Wark Research Institute, Australia.


The first time I attended Procemin was in 2009, and it proved to be a great conference for presenting our research to a new audience, since the majority of the delegates are Chilean or from neighbouring countries. Although the conference is held every year, this is a little too frequent for us, and so 2011 is my second time here.  There is simultaneous translation available, and hats off to the translators for an excellent job.  (Note to self: Must learn some Spanish).

December 1st
Thursday started with a plenary session, the first talk on SAG milling at Antamina, which I sadly missed as I was preparing for my three (3!) talks that day.  The second plenary talk was given by Jim Finch, as always excellent, and with a very interesting take on air rate profiling (a subject close to my heart), which he rebranded as ‘recovery profiling’ using air rate to manipulate mineral recovery of a bank to the desired profile.

This conference does have the dreaded parallel sessions, however they are broadly split into flotation and comminution topics for the most part.  Speakers are required to sit in all of the talks in the session, which meant I was confined to the flotation talks for the day, but this was no bad thing.  On the whole this conference is more operations-focussed than, say, Flotation 11, and there were recurring themes throughout the conference - water supply and quality being one example.  The first session, in fact, contained two talks on water quality, with others on frothers and depressant.

After a sit down lunch, the first afternoon session was a mixed bag, kicking off with more talk on frothers from Cesar Gomez, followed by a talk on Metso’s “leading edge froth vision technology” (Alain Broussard), some turbulence modelling (Javier Larrondo of the JKMRC), uncertainties in flotation kinetics (Gerson Sandoval-Zambrano, also of the JKMRC) and the problem with moly columns (Peter Amelunxen, AminPro).  Not to mention an excellent talk on froth velocity, overflow height and Peak Air Recovery…ahem…

A long day finished off with some more flotation fundamentals in the final session, by which time the audience were building up quite a thirst for pisco sours.


The conference dinner took place in the hotel ballroom and after a welcome speech from members of Gecamin we sat down to a 3 course dinner with local wines. The genial host of my table was Gecamin’s General Manager Carlos Barahona and I sat next to the conference coordinator Alejandra Zurita, a good opportunity to exchange ideas on running events.
After the meal we were treated to a performance by the Chilean folk group Bafona who performed music and dance from Easter Island, the north of the country and also the central region. This was excellent and seemed to be appreciated by all.

Following the meal some delegates decamped to the hotel bar by the swimming pool and then into Santiago to sample the nightlife!
December 2nd

Day 2 started off with Juan Yianatos’ plenary session, which rather brilliantly contained a video of the steps he and his colleagues take to carry out their radioactive tracer experiments.  Although I am familiar with this work, I hadn’t realised just what was involved in making these measurements, and thought it was an excellent use of the time.  The second plenary in the session was also very interesting; John Marsden’s work on energy use and innovation.  The comparison of the energy requirements of the different unit operations in copper processing was very interesting (particularly from a teaching perspective!).

I then chaired the flotation plant operation session, which proved to be a strong session with several plant case studies and a talk on DAF for coal wastewater (Silvia Franca, CETEM, Brazil).  An over-running lunch meant we started the afternoon session late, and was again something of a mixed bag, from the problems of water supply in Chile and Peru (Doris Hiam-Galvez, Hatch) to the role of innovation in the mining industry (Arturo Herrera, Innspiral Moves).

Overall, in the flotation section (sadly I didn’t get to see much from comminution), the papers were strong and covered a wide range of topics.  The focus on operations was especially clear in the Friday morning session, and is what makes this conference different from the MEI Flotation series.  For me, Procemin is a great conference for disseminating our research to a largely new and enthusiastic audience. 

After a final address to close the conference, delegates were treated to a raffle with prizes including Chilean wine and copies of mineral processing books. The exhibition area was then the venue for some final pisco sours and networking.

Procemin 2011 was a great chance to meet new contacts and was professionally run, the next event takes place in November 2012.

1 comment:

  1. I was the only engineer from Bolivia, outstanding event, high quality of conferences and oranization. The temperature 32 C, not time for swiming.
    jorge lema patino, Bolivia


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