Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Rene I. B. Klymowsky, 1944-2012

I have received this sad news from Mike Battersby of Maelgwyn Mineral Services, UK, and invite your comments and memories of Rene.

Rene Klymowsky sadly passed away on the 4th March at his home in Arnhem, Netherlands.

Rene was unbelievably passionate about minerals processing in over 45 years of working in the mining industry. His enthusiasm for his profession will be greatly missed. Rene was still working as hard as ever as Manager – Minerals for Polysius AG at Bockum, Germany at the time of his premature departure.
He was born in Germany but moved to Canada shortly after the end of the Second World War. He studied Metallurgical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal obtaining both B.Eng and M.Eng. His early working career saw him in operations for Noranda and Inco before spending 11 years with CANMET. During this time he became Chairman of the Canadian Iron Ore Committee. In 1979 he moved to Europe and joined Billiton Research B.V. in Arnhem becoming Principal Scientist. At that time Billiton was the Metals Division of the Shell Company. In 1994 he joined KHD Humboldt Wedag AG in Cologne and then in 2000 Polysius AG in Bockum. At both these companies he specialised in the processing aspects of High Pressure Grinding Rolls.

Rene was always at the forefront of mineral processing development. At his time with Billiton he was tasked with evaluating computer simulation programmes and thus became the first commercial user of JKSimMet and an expert in many other programmes such as MetSim and USIM-PAC. He was also briefed by Billiton in the early eighties with evaluating a new technology – High Pressure Grinding. After the sale of Billiton to Gencor Rene then worked with the two principal HPGR suppliers, becoming the eminent expert in the technology. He was largely responsible for their introduction into the minerals industry because he could clearly and succinctly explain and demonstrate on a technical basis to clients how the HPGR’s fitted into their comminution circuit and what the benefits were.

Rene was a driven and passionate mineral processor, the typical “workaholic”. A slow starter in the mornings his brain would click into gear in the afternoons and then he would continue well into the night. When his working was reported to be drifting towards midnight his bosses would try and insist he work “regular hours”. He certainly was not “politically correct” by today’s standards and this got him into slight trouble now and again. He also didn’t suffer fools, especially in his profession. As part of an equipment sales team he would regularly cross swords with consultants or company metallurgists who had to give the impression of knowing what they were talking about to their clients or bosses. Invariably, calmly and politely, Rene would point out or demonstrate the errors in their thoughts or calculations.
Rene is survived by his wife Susan and children James and Lily; and children Sophie and Christopher in Canada from a previous marriage.


  1. He was an endearing character who was passionate about HPGR technology. He will be sadly missed.

    Paul Morgan, DRA Mineral Projects

  2. Rene was one of my best work friends. We got on well together and I enjoyed his humour. A cup of tea usually got him "kick-started" in the morning. Most of all I liked the fact that he was not always politically correct. He liked to be "in-the-know" and idolised his family. I will miss his discussions and intellect. Rest in Peace, Rene.

    Mike Daniel (CMD Consulting)

  3. Deepest condolences. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

  4. Rene Klymowsky was duly laid to rest on Friday, 9th March 2012 in a lovely small cemetery in the trees of of O.L. Vrouw van Loudres Kerk, Doorwerth, Arnhem, The Netherlands. Prior to this there was a very moving celebration of the life of Rene at the church, followed by a joyful and happy reminisce of Rene at the Wake. The funeral was attended by many family, friends and colleagues. I think just about everyone who worked with Rene at Polysius in Germany was in attendance, and no doubt he will be sorely missed at that company.

    At the Wake we watched a montage of Rene’s many hundreds of personal photos of people and life he had taken from the mines he had visited, particularly in relation to the people involved in HPGR’s. There was also a book of e-mail condolences received by the family in the few days after Rene’s sad passing away. There were many, many of these and reading through them I was amazed at not only the condolences to the family and of Rene being such a nice cheerful family man, but just how everyone from our industry offered such a strong and positive opinion of Rene’s professional ability from throughout his working career.

    I would like quote anonymously just a few extracts of these personal written messages.

    “I shall always count my opportunity to work with Rene as a special privilege as he was the finest mineral processor with whom I ever worked. Head and shoulders above his contemporaries, he was always challenging to work with for he took nothing for granted and always questioned the assumptions of his colleagues and bosses.”

    “...his expertise in the mining business was simply incredibly good.”

    “He was a very unique man, a leader in our industry, gentle, considerate, intelligent and always a pleasure to meet and engage in technical discussions....”

    “I can honestly say that I am glad that I had the opportunity to work with and know Rene...He was a true scholar and gentleman. He certainly had a lasting effect on me personally and I just hope that I can also follow his example.”

    “Rene was indeed a great personality and an icon in the mineral processing world. We had many lively, entertaining and highly educating discussions.”

    “(Rene) was absolutely brilliant at what he did and achieved in his career.”

    “...a very sharp intellect, a generosity in his willingness to share with others what he had learned and in particular a smiling face, a reflection no doubt that he loved what he did. He will be missed by many of us in the minerals processing industry.”

    “...I got so much help from him (over the years)... I can’t imagine how could I continue working in this field without his consulting and instruction. He will be in my mind forever.”

    “Rene was one of the first to understand the principles and power of process modelling and to use properly the simulation package...”

    I knew Rene professionally for over 25 years and to me he was the finest mineral processor I ever came across, so I’m so glad many of my peers think likewise. It is often said of people, but Rene will truly be missed by our industry.

    Mike Battersby
    Maelgwyn Mineral Services

  5. I worked with Rene at Polysius Germany in 2000-2001 and over the years since have had regular contact with him during my visits to our German Head office and when he travelled "down under". I always enjoyed his quick wit and ever sharp mind. It saddened me to learn of his early passing. He will be missed by us all.. Condolences to his family .

    Eric Pynaker - ThyssenKrupp Polysius Australia

  6. Rene visited Australia in the early 1990s to sort out a variety of HPGR research, business and projects with his usual tenacity and style. After a week of hard work it was typical that we should find ourselves traipsing the streets of Melbourne to find gifts for his daughters and wife (specifically chunky woolly jumpers fashionable at the time - you wouldn't believe how fussy he was about those colours, almost as if they were technical details). Rene had a trade-mark walrus moustache, which rendered him an absolute doppelganger for Ron Barrassi the high profile coach of the Sydney Swans AFL team (Australian Rules Football). He was asked so many times why he wasn't in Sydney with his team that he eventually told people (with a twinkle in his eye) he was having the day off. I will miss him.

    Julian Brown. Sydney Australia


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