Saturday, 14 April 2012

From the MEI Archives #18- Vancouver 1992

We are en route to Cape Town today, for Comminution '12, but twenty years ago today Minerals Engineering ’92 got underway in Vancouver, Canada. This was the second in the series of Minerals Engineering conferences, which ended in 2002 in Perth, after which MEI focussed on specialist topics.

Minerals Engineering ’92 was attended by 52 delegates, and the papers presented are available on ScienceDirect (Minerals Engineering Volume 5, Nos. 10-12, 1992).

The importance of environmental issues was emerging at that time, and was the subject of the opening address given by me and Keith Atkinson, both then of Camborne School of Mines. We highlighted the fact that it is virtually impossible to predict the future of mineral processing. Computers were being used on many plants for control, optimisation and data processing, but little over 40 years previously one of the world’s leading computer experts had predicted that there could never be a computer industry, as the world would never need more than about 10 computers! We surmised that in the 21st century limitless supplies of energy might be made available by the harnessing of nuclear fusion, which could make mineral processing obsolete, as direct ore smelting, or even direct electrolysis of sea-water for metal recovery, might be economically feasible.

It was a very enjoyable event, which included a boat trip to Squamish to visit the old Britannia copper mine. Some of the photographs taken during the 3-days are shown below.

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