Sunday, 30 September 2012

XXVI International Mineral Processing Congress Conference Diary

The XXVI IMPC was held at the Ashok Hotel, New Delhi, India, from September 24-28, 2012.

With around 675 papers presented in 17 themed symposia, and an associated exhibition, this report can only scratch the surface of the week's activities. MEI's involvement was mainly with the exhibition, so I invite all those who attended the Congress to submit their comments at the end of this posting.

Sunday September 23rd

Registration opened this morning and we were hoping to set up the MEI booth in the afternoon, but build-up of the booths in the large marquee in front of the Ashok was a long way from completion, so we relaxed before the evening welcoming session. This was an enjoyable event attended by a good number of delegates and accompanying guests, and where we had our first taste of the Indian cuisine which would be provided for us over the next five days.

With 2012 Chairman B.K. Mishra
Belinda McFadzean, Jennie Wiese
and Natalie Shackleton (South Africa)
With Kari Heiskanen (Finland), K.S. Moon (Korea), Prakash Kapur (India) and Warren Bruckard (Australia)
With Jan Drzymala (2nd right) and colleagues
It was great to catch up with old friends and to meet new people on the IMPC scene. It was particularly good to meet Prof. Jan Drzymala and his colleagues from Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland, who are organising next year's MEC 2013, which includes the 50th Symposium on Physicochemical Problems of Mineral Processing, founded by Prof. Jan Laskowski, an IMPC Lifetime Achievement Award winner. MEI is a media sponsor for the event, and I look forward to my first ever visit to Poland next September.

Monday September 24th

After the formal ceremony welcoming over 1000 delegates to the IMPC, Prof. Samirk Brahmachari, Director General of CSIR gave an excellent inaugural address, starting with an overview of India's glorious past in mining and metallurgy and the future aims of CSIR. Due to India's high population density, the challenge is to protect people while exploiting mineral deposits, and clearly new technology is needed to reduce the effect of mining on the population and the environment. There is a need to change our mind-set in realising that we are dealing with finite resources, and technology which is energy efficient and reduces water consumption is required, as well as an increase in the amount of recycling.

Following the opening, delegates were welcomed to the exhibition, which was held in a large marquee in the Ashtok grounds, and the transformation of the interior after a day was reminiscent of the concern a couple of years ago regarding completion of the Commonwealth Games venue in India.

What a difference a day makes
Amanda with IMPC Council
Chairman Cyril O'Connor
What was noticeable among the crowds that flocked in to see the booths was the effort that the IMPC has taken to bring as many students as possible to the meeting. This is highly commendable, and it was really good to meet these young people at the MEI booth.

With VSK University students
Orissa School of Mining Engineering students
Biju Pattnaik University of Technology
Continuing the theme of the inaugural address, the first plenary lecture was given by Hemant Nerurkar, of Tata Steel, India, who discussed the challenges faced by mineral processing in sustainable development. Prof. John Herbst of Metso Minerals, USA, then discussed advanced modeling techniques and their influence on our industry. He talked of Prof. A.M. Gaudin and his students at MIT, who were dedicated to understanding the fundamentals of mineral processing, and as a consequence were always searching for better quantitative descriptions of size reduction, liberation and mineral separations. Prof. Herbst has worked with many of the modelling pioneers who followed Gaudin and has observed first hand the refinement of models as they increased in realisticness from pure empiricism to the current pinnacle of physics based models. Advanced models currently save huge amounts of money by reducing design risks and allowing existing flowsheet optimisation and guiding the development of new high efficiency equipment.

Following lunch in the hotel grounds, the sessions split into seven parallel sessions dealing with all aspects of mineral processing.

Tuesday September 25th

Seven parallel sessions today, including the start of the Processing of Precious Metals Symposium. This contained presentations on the flotation and leaching of PGM ores, which created a few dilemmas, as running in parallel were sessions on flotation and hydrometallurgy. These clashes have become a feature of IMPCs, and the only way to avoid them is to reduce the number of parallel sessions, which means reducing the number of papers. Is quality sustainable if, every two years, around 650 papers are accepted for presentation? I would like to hear views on this, particularly as it is claimed that each paper has been reviewed by at least two referees, a truly mammoth task.

Barun Gorain, of Barrick Gold, Canada,  opened the Precious Metals symposium, noting that it was appropriate to hold this in India, consumer of over half the world's gold. The first keynote speaker, Andrew Logan, remarked that he had just been to a conference where it was proposed that gold be treated as a currency, and not as a commodity, in these turbulent times.

There was much confusion regarding the three plenary lectures this morning. The first two speakers had to withdraw, so the organisers partly filled the gap by moving one of the Friday keynotes, not a good thing to do when people have already set their agendas. I particularly wanted to hear the keynote by Prof. T.C. Rao on an holistic approach for sustainable growth of mineral processing industries. However when I arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled start, his presentation was almost over, due to another unannounced timetable change.

The day's technical sessions finished with afternoon tea, and a very good display of the 270 poster presentations, which was very well attended.

Overall a pretty good day, despite a few hiccups, which was rounded off nicely by the cultural evening where we were entertained by classical Indian dance recitals, followed by a buffet meal in the hotel grounds.

With Pat and Ian Townsend (UK) and Jim Finch (Canada)

Wednesday 26th September

The day started with 6 interesting keynotes, unfortunately all running concurrently. So I opted for Prof. Jan Cilliers, of Imperial College, UK, who presented his final report on the global survey of the supply and demand of minerals engineers, the culmination of work first presented at the Brisbane IMPC, and then at SRCR '11 in Falmouth. Among the interesting facts presented was that China produces 51% of the world's minerals engineering graduates, South America next with 20%, and very surprisingly, India and Australia only 2% and 1% respectively.

China is obviously going to play a major role in the future of minerals engineering, and this is reflected by the high number of delegates at the congress, a trend which has also been apparent at MEI Conferences.

Seven out of the 70 exhibitors at the IMPC are from China. Florrea Mining Reagents is a manufacturer of flotation reagents, there are two ceramic grinding media manufacturers, King's Ceramics, who are sponsors of Comminution '14, and Chemco. Magnetic separators are manufactured by SLon Magnetic Separator Ltd, Shandong Huate Magnetic Technology and Longi Magnet Co, Ltd, and hydrocyclones by Weihai Haiwang Hydrocyclone Co. Ltd.

Jon with Zhang Yongliang of Florrea
Weihai Haiwang Hydrocyclones
Shandong Huate Magnetic Technology
All delegates were invited to the IMPC General Body Meeting, where Dr. Pradip, President of the Organising Committee, announced that the final number of registrations was 1259 delegates from 45 countries, with 572 from India and 121 from China, these two countries accounting for over half the delegates. At this meeting it was announced that Moscow has been invited to bid for the 2018 IMPC.

Thursday 27th September

Today was the final exhibition day and traffic was noticeably thin. Jon and I manned the booth while Amanda took the day off to visit the Taj Mahal at Agra.

One of our neighbouring booths was manned by Daniel Johnston, of Industrial Tomography Systems (ITS) plc, a world leader in electrical resistance tomography. He is pictured left with Suneil Dua, Director of Spectro Lab Equipments, the exclusive distributor of ITS, and Prof. Richard Williams, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, UK. This UK company provides a range of electrical and acoustic-based tomography systems for research and process applications. These systems provide data to improve process efficiency, characterise particle size distribution, investigate multi component flowrate and develop new and improved mixing technologies.

Tomography was the subject of one of this morning's plenary lectures, given by Prof. Jan Miller of the University of Utah, who will also present a keynote at Process Mineralogy '12. He discussed the advances that have been made in X-ray tomography for the processing of mineral resources. Resource characterisation is a critical component for optimisation of the mine to mill process, including innovative processing for sustainable growth. Such characterisation is now referred to as geometallurgy, with advanced instrumentation being used, including high resolution X-ray tomography. The geometallurgical information obtained is important for mine planning, design and analysis of separation processes, etc.

It was a great pleasure to see Prof. T.C. Rao after many years, one of India's most respected mineral processors. A real gentleman, he was described by one of yesterday's chairmen as the father of Indian minerals engineering. He was one of the pioneers of empirical modelling of hydrocyclones, and I first met him in 1989, when I was his guest as a visiting lecturer at the Indian School of Mines. He was then Head of the Department of Fuel and Minerals Engineering, after which he was Director of the Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR) at Bhopal. He is now an independent consultant advising various industries.

Following lunch I had a meeting with Gecamin, one of the organisers of the 2014 IMPC, which will be held in Santiago, Chile. So I unfortunately missed what was apparently an excellent panel discussion on Leveraging Information and Communication Technology in Mining and Mineral Processing. If anyone can fill in any details I would be grateful.

The conference banquet was held at the India Expo Centre, an hour's coach drive away. This was a glittering occasion that I enjoyed, in no small part due to the interesting and sociable people on my table.

A very popular feature introduced at the Brisbane IMPC is the presentation of awards to the authors of the 10 best papers presented by authors under 35 years of age, who are pictured below. I wonder if anyone can put names to faces?

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of mineral processing's most prestigious award, the IMPC Lifetime Achievement Award. The recipient was Prof. P.C. Kapur, and more details on this can be found on the posting of 27th September.

Prof. Kapur (2nd left) with Prof. Jan Laskowski, Prof. Eric Forssberg,
Prof. Cyril O'Connor and Dr. Pradip

Friday 28th September

Presenting a paper on the last day of a 5-day conference is a thankless task, but there was a very good attendance this morning for the sessions, which reflects on the quality of the week's presentations, which people say has been generally high.

The first of the two final plenary lectures was given by Andrew Lane of The Monitor Group, South Africa. Entitled The Promise of Africa he highlighted that 95% of the world's chromium, 88% of platinum and 66% of phosphates are mined in Africa, so there are great opportunities, but he also pointed out the great risks on this turbulent continent.

Lifetime achievement award recipient P.C. Kapur presented the final plenary, a philosophical ramble through mineral processing and its problems, showing that mineral processing is complex and has evolved empirically and very slowly over many decades.

In closing the congress, IMPC Council Chairman Prof. Cyril O'Connor thanked the Indian organising committee for providing an event worthy of the diamond jubilee year of IMPC. The President of the 2012 IMPC, Dr. Pradip, then passed the baton on to Prof. Juan Yianatos, of Santa Maria University, Chile, the President of the 2014 IMPC, which will be organised by Gecamin, and the Universities of Chile, Concepcion and Santa Maria.

The Proceedings of the congress was issued to all delegates on memory stick, and I am hoping to hear whether this is generally available, for the purpose of citation of papers in journal articles. The sessions on Human Resources is to be published as a monograph, and more information on this will be published on MEI Online when available.

On behalf of MEI I would like to thank Dr. Pradip and Prof. B.K. Mishra, the Chairman of the Organising Committee, and their team for all their work in bringing the IMPC to India. Organisation of an event as big as this is a monumental task, and it is inevitable that there will be flaws and frustrations. Nevertheless this has been an interesting and productive week, and MEI is immensely proud to have been associated with the congress as a media sponsor. We have enjoyed our week at the IMPC and invite the comments of all those who attended. How was it for you?


  1. Congratulations to Pradip and all his team for a memorable event. IMPC is alive and well!

  2. Dear Prof. Barry,

    I am in airport right now and still waiting for my return flight to home, there is more than 4 hours of connection time and it is best time to write something.

    It was pretty good for me to contribute in IMPC2012! Maybe the name of of this event should be changed to Mineral Processing Olympic! I have seen my old friends again, found new friends, learned somethings new from presentations, developed my network in mineral processing (Both in academic and business affairs) and ....!

    Tanks for your interesting report about IMPC2012!

    I should work hardly for IMPC2014 which it will be held in Santiago on 2014, if I want to secure award of young authors! However one paper from IRAN (The great Persia) gained young author award in IMPC2012 and I am happy concerning this success.

    Best regards,
    Hamed Haghi

  3. Dear Sir,
    Thanks for your interesting and knowledgeable report for the event.
    I highly appreciate your efforts in doing so.

    Best Regards,

  4. Thanks Barry - great report as usual.
    Your comments and observations on the growing number of Chinese mineral graduates and increasing influence of Chinese services/supply companies is very interesting. The world is changing and quickly it seems !

    John O'Callaghan, Outotec, Finland (via LinkedIn)

  5. Hi there,
    Understanding that this is out of the organizers control, it called my attention the high number of presentations that were cancelled in the last minute. Especially on Friday.
    Hopefully this is not happening again in Santiago!

    Adrian Villanueva, BASF Oilfield & Mining Solutions, Germany (via LinkedIn)

    1. And I hope in Santiago we have proper name badges with place of work AND country. Mine only had my first name, and so did others

    2. As I mentioned in my report, there were some frustrations, and I agree JN that the name badges were less than adequate. I became tired of asking people where they were from and which country. Why was only a name printed on such a large badge? I suspect that this was the fault of the professional event management agency, Neumech, who I think were a little out of their depth at such a large event. When I asked them about the badges they said that this was no problem as the affiliations and countries were on the delegate list on the website, which when you consider it, is a pretty meaningless response.

      Adrian, I agree that cancellations are frustrating, but with over 650 papers, ‘no-shows’ are inevitable. Unfortunately it is well known among conference organisers that delegates from certain countries submit papers for Proceedings which are published well before the event, with no intention of turning up to present the paper. The only way to avoid this is by making it clear, as we do with MEI Conferences, is that such behaviour will lead to blacklisting of those persons from future events. Having said that, if there are ‘no-shows’ then it is important that the timetable is adhered to, particularly when there are so many parallel sessions. If there is a hole in the programme, then so be it, it allows delegates to relax and talk to each other for 20 minutes or so. I did find it annoying that the organisers filled in these holes by shifting papers, and as I mentioned in the report, I turned up 10 minutes before the scheduled start of T.C. Rao’s plenary lecture to find that he was just finishing!

      Despite these frustrations, it was a great week and I congratulate Dr. Pradip and his team once more for a memorable IMPC.

  6. It was a pleasure meeting with you at the IMPC 2012.

    I believe this was an incredible global conference. India was in force presenting excellent papers in Automation and the technologies based on information operational technologies.

    The Special session that I was very proud to chair and be part of the international round table. This Leveraging Information Communication Technologies in Mining and Mineral Processing excelled in bringing these integrated collaborative technologies to optimize mining and mineral processing plants.

    These remote mines to mill integration to port to work could perfectly be operated as the power industries around the world. Coal, Oil, Wind, Water, Sun are all resources which are very well treated by the power generation companies as opposed to mining and metals companies. We can learn a great deal on borrowing from them. The economic benefits presented were very clear and reasonable.

    Cyril O'Connor’s words at the end of the congress were very clear on claiming the success of this special session at this Congress. Before it was only called Simulation and Control. Now it Enterprise Collaboration and practical implementation of knowledge using these enabling technologies.

    I salute B.K.Mishra and Pradip for including this successful track on the program. We can say that the operational technologies are here to stay and growth for the benefits of the global mineral processing community.

    The selection to be at the IMPC in Delhi or in Las Vegas at Minexpo is now clear. It was the best decision. You need knowledge and deep understanding to work with these enabling technologies. This knowledge is required for new operational analytics to provide value. Just moving rocks does not cut it anymore. Mining has grown to be part of the mineral processing art and science. These processes can only be viewed together by the virtues of the real tine integrated information systems.

    Osvaldo Bascur, OSIsoft LLC, Chile (via email)

  7. Thanks. Prof Wills only can do a brief report of IMPC which saw over 1200 delegates and ~700 presentations. I was overwhelmed to see the photographs of budding mineral engineers with Prof Wills underlining the importance given by MEI for young quality mineral processing professionals. We are grateful to global and Indian IMPC committee for organising such a mega event in my life.

    B.P. Ravi, Indian Bureau of Mines (via LinkedIn)

  8. Barry,
    This is the second time I saw you in India, the first time as a student at the Indian School of Mines during 1986 or 87? when you took some classes in Mineral Engineering during your visit. Glad that you covered this event and wonderful to see that you have taken "Mineral Engineering" to a different level connecting people across the globe.

    The New Delhi IMPC was indeed a great event and we must congratulate Dr. Pradip for providing an excellent leadership in making this event a grand success.

    Barun Gorain
    Barrick Gold, Toronto

  9. Hi Barun. Sorry I missed you in Delhi. The last time I caught up with you was in Cape Town for Flotation '09. I was in Dhanbad in 1989, and you appear in a photo taken when I was signing a cricket bat at Maithon! See

  10. MEI's photos of the IMPC are now viewable at either MEI Online or on Facebook

    If you are a Facebook member, you will be able to 'tag' and comment on photos, which would be great as it would be good to get some names to faces!

    1. ...and the IMPC’s photos can be found on the IMPC website

  11. My dear Barry, It was so nice meeting you and also it was nice of you to put our photo on the site and your kind words.
    I admire your service to mineral engn and compliment you for the same. I felt bad when I read that you missed my lecture; you might not have missed much but I would have loved to see you there and give your remarks.
    Will keep in touch.
    Best wishes,
    Prof. (Dr.) T.C.Rao

  12. It was a real pleasure meeting you after all these years, TC, and also to meet the new generation of Indian University students, who were at the meeting en masse.

    1. Through your untiring efforts and dedication, you have made the minerals engineering community bond together. You have provided a high quality platform for growing and practicing mineral engineers to make their knowledge available and easily reachable. You constantly remind us of what is happening globally.

      Students are your greatest admirers and we thank you for all you are doing.
      Prof.(Dr.)T.C. Rao

    2. Thanks again TC. I really do appreciate your kind words

  13. Its a great time at IMPC.........specially the way the things were managed, sessions were taken care, papers were arranged, quality of proceedings, the documentation, the registration kit, the help desk and transfer arrangements, food, except the Noida Banquet (after a tiring day).

    I believe my wait for not been able to attend Beijing and Brisbane IMPC's have yieleded good resulyts to meet,greet and learn new things in this frontiers.

    A big Kudos to the organizing committee, never seen relaxed....


  14. i really had a great tym at was good to talk to the persons from different countries and specially it was good to see Dr. Barry wills whose books i used to read.thanks to the organizing committee who organises the congress so nicely.if a get a chance to attend the next IMPC..i will definitely going to attend that.

    vikram jena

  15. Thank you very much to Dr. Pradip, Prof. B. K. Mishra, Dr. Venkat and organizing committee for giving me opportunity to attend IMPC2012. It was a well organized conference. It was a good experience for me to attend IMPC2012. I suggest that there should be at least two dedicated sessions for mineral bioprocessing and biohydrometallurgy in IMPC in future. Mineral bioprocessing and biohydrometallurgy have good potential to develop economical and environment friendly process to extract metals.
    Dr. Abha

  16. I had the good fortune to have presented a paper in the 16th IMPC at Stockholm in 1988 when there were only 5 papers from India.Just compare that with the papers and delegates from India this time indicating remarkable progress made in India in the field of Mineral Engineering.
    I was overwhelmed when Pro.Subramanian,one of the 2 persons responsible for the Technical Prgm. asked me to Chair a Session on Base Metals on Friday morning.I did it with gusto and simply had to tell the audience how proud i felt to be able to chair a Technical Session in an IMPC-surely there cannot be a higher honour for a mineral dressing engineer.
    I was there on all 5 days and took part in as many Sessions as feasible and thoroughly enjoyed meeting a large number of friends,especially,Dr.DMR.Sekhar who started his Career in Mineral processing in the Hindusthan Zinc Limited,as my colleague and has now risen to a big position,at JPMC,in Jordan.
    I again compliment and salute Dr.Pradip for this wonderful show.

  17. Dear Barry Wills,
    I joined M/s Hindustan Zinc Ltd, India as plant engineer at Zawar Mines during 1979. During 1979-80 I read your article on hydro cyclones that appeared in World Mining. The next year I attended a short term work shop conducted by Prof. TC Rao at Zawar Mines at the instance Er. BN Chaterjee the then head of ore dressing division, HZL. I do vividly remember how Prof. TC Rao taught us classification and hydro cyclones. He and many of his disciples trained by him were conferred National Mineral Award by the Government of India. Apart from this he got National Awards from The Institution of Engineers (India), Indranil Award from MGMI, National Metallurgist's Day Award, Govt. of India, IIME Coal Beneficiation Award. He is the greatest researcher, teacher and has true international status.

    After initial training at Mill Department, HZL, Aznar Mines I was posted at Central Research and Development Laboratory of HZL where I had the opportunity to work under Dr. K. Rabindranath. He introduced us to the research of DW Fuerstenau, P. Somasundaran, Herbst, J, Miller, J D etc. I had an opportunity to meet these outstanding personalities during Indo US workshop organised during those days at Udaipur. During the same period (1983) Dr. GE Agar was kind enough to provide copies of his work on flotation kinetics of first order rate law which is true for many lean ores. Later however I realised that flotation process by chance may follow any order (as also explained by Tomlinson and Fleming earlier, Mineral Processing Proceedings of sixth international congress, Cannes, 1963) while studying dolomite flotation.

    During IMPC 2012 I had the opportunity to interact with both Dr. TC Rao and Dr. Ravindranath. Thanks for your dedicated services to mineral processing.

    DMR Sekhar

  18. I was sad to miss IMPC 2012 but I am finding out that advancing years impose limitations on long distance travel. I would like to congratulate the organising committee on an excellent IMPC, the standard is rising with every conference and I am sure that future IMPCs will also be spectacular successes.

    On a personal basis I particularly regretted missing the plenary lecture by T C Rao. In 1961 he came to the University of Queensland as a PhD scholar and I invited him to produce a model of a hydrocyclone. Cyclones were replacing rake classifiers at the time. Rao spent about 18 months in Mount Isa carrying out experimental work on a test rig containing a 20 inch cyclone which MIM had built to understand these new devices. It is fair to write that the model he developed as a result of many weekend arguments while he was in Brisbane is still the basis of the cyclone model used in grinding circuit simulation. His later career reflects well the determination, persistence and attention to detail which he demonstrated so well during those months at Mount Isa, which were mainly in summer.

    Regards and congratulations on the success of MEI.
    Prof. Alban Lynch, Australia

  19. Dr Barry,
    Nice recap of great moments of IMPC2012. It is indeed a great professional show .

    Thanks for sharing the event. I too have great learning and meetings in the event
    -Sitaram Kemmannu
    Exploration Manager(India)

  20. Dear Barry,
    I did not attend IMPC 2012. But I know professor TC Rao as he visited our plant at Eshidiya ,Jordan.
    - Professor TC Rao visited our Rock Phosphate Beneficiation Plant at Eshidiya Mines , Jordan, he gave us several suggestions to improve the plant performance, We executed all suggestions and follow his advice, which contribute to improve the performance, Professor TC Rao is truly one of the pioneers in Mineral Processing.
    Yasser Dassin
    Manager Assistant
    Beneficiation Plant

  21. An excellent report of an outstanding event.

  22. I was happy to see the good words you wrote about Prof TC Rao on the MEI Blog. Indeed, I regained my energy as a mineral engineer after seeing your photo with Prof Rao; the two Doyens who are committed to the Mineral Engineering Profession.
    Coming to Life Time Awards, I want to be frank and blunt; it is not that neither you who has been doing outstanding service, nor Dr.Rao, my teacher, did not get it; but there is such a long list, such as doyens like Prof John Herbst, Dr Napier-Munn, Dr J D Miller, Prof P Somasundaran, Prof Yoon, and Prof Rajamani etc., who have contributed very significantly to Mineral Engineering by their teaching/R&D, of global impact/interaction with industry/guiding a large no of students across many areas of mineral engineering. Somehow, it was not convincing, to me at least, the way the IMPC Council made their decision in this regard. Now, I have a completely different opinion about the IMPC awards selection committee members.
    I also surveyed a little on this issue and got to know that it is not my personal view but the general feeling of the Mineral Engineering community in India and abroad too, particularly the budding Indian Engineers. In fact, to all our students you are the Baron; because they know you through your popular book on Mineral Processing and the journal ‘Minerals Engineering’. These two have kept the Flag of Mineral Engineering ‘flying high’. Your service rendered through the MEI Blog to link all the mineral engineers globally is just a noteworthy example.
    After IMPC the general opinion is that the mineral engineers were the back benchers at IMPC. The platform used for organising IMPC was IIME but it was overshadowed by non-mineral engineers. It will not be too much if I say something about the sessions organised. Many of the papers presented were not up to the IMPC standards. Many repent that they missed the talk of Prof Rao because of its rescheduling. Some of the papers were too general, if not recycled. In some of the sessions the numbers in the audience were less than the number of slides projected. Many felt that IMPC did not differ much from the previous MPT’s.
    I am submitting this comment to share the feeling of mineral engineers in the country.

    With warm regards.
    Prof Nikkam Suresh
    Dept of Fuel & Mineral Engineering,
    Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, INDIA-826004

  23. I regret my inability to attend the IMPC and missed the opportunity of meeting old friends and colleagues and listening to mineral processing greats and experts.
    I began my career in Hindustan Zinc Limited as a mineral processing engineer and then migrated into Environmental Management and then on to non-ferrous smelting. Now I am serving the mining industry on policy and regulatory fronts in Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI). However, mineral processing continues to be my first love. I still cherish the memories of my years spent in learning and discussing and celebrating small achievements.
    One of my achievements happened in Zawar Mines in late nineties from something I learnt in early '80s on hydrocyclones in a training program conducted by the legendary figure of Prof T.C.Rao. I used those old notes and the equation developed by Prof T.C.Rao for cyclone capacity to make some changes in the operating cyclones (D15) to achieve sharper 'cut' and reduced energy consumption of 20%! I never could thank Prof Rao personally and find your blog to be a great opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to him.

    With warm regards,

    Sustainable Mining Initiative (SMI)
    Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI)
    New Delhi

  24. Dear All,

    It is heartening to see so much appreciation of the contribution of Prof. TC Rao to the field of mineral processing that has global impact. In fact he trained many mineral engineers who have contributed to the development of Mineral process engineering world wide.

    Prof. Suresh Nikkam wrote, “Somehow, it was not convincing, to me at least, the way the IMPC Council made their decision in this regard. Now, I have a completely different opinion about the IMPC awards selection committee members”. Though I know Prof Nikkam by name it is only during IMPC 2012 I could meet him.

    Similarly though I know Prof TC Rao since my University days by name I actually could interact with him when he visited M/s Rajasthan Mines and Minerals Ltd as an expert on behalf of Technology Development Board, Government of India ( Prof NK Purohit was another expert) to assess our proposal to retrofit Roller Press (High Pressure Grinding Rolls) in the grinding circuit of Phosphate Ore Beneficiation Plant, Jhamarkotra, Udaipur. It is Prof Rao who told rather insisted that the project will be a success and everything went smooth there after. I was just a Chief Manager then (1998 – 2000) and my proposal was being opposed by my seniors at the level of General Managers and Group General Managers. The validation of the proposal by Prof TC Rao (and by Prof NK Purohit) reinforced the confidence of our Managing Director and we went ahead. Roller Press Ball Mill circuit became operational during 2003 and probably this is the first flotation plant that incorporated HPGR successfully in the world. Thanks to Prof. TC Rao. And that is what a life time achievement is. Jhamarkptra Plant is just one example.

    Not only you Prof. Nikkam but many are thinking like you and surely IMPC degraded itself. See their eligibility criteria: [1] Persons who have over a sustained period made distinguished and noteworthy contributions to the field of Mineral Processing and the activities of the Council and/or its Congresses. [2] Recipients of such an award may be nominated by any Member of Council. So the best mineral engineer is one who attends IMPC and is known to some council member!! It does not matter if one has a degree in mineral engineering or not and it does not matter if one is recognized at the National level (for example National Mineral Award conferred by the Govt. of India) or not!! I wonder if sponsoring industries are aware of wasting their money for a fiefdom of few people called IMPC.

    Are you listing Council Members? Are you aware of “Willful Intellectual Dishonesty”? If IMPC has to have any credibility they have to change their criteria immediately. No member should continue in the council for more than 3 years. I wonder if there are any engineers capable of running mineral processing plants in the council. The council shoul be a blend of Mineral Engineering Professors and Qualified Plant Engineers. The consequences of what happened during IMPC 2012 can be disastrous to IMPC if it does not change as it is not a big deal for sponsoring industries to create an alternate platform. Let wisdom prevail upon all concerned!


    DMR Sekhar,
    Wharton Overseas FZE,
    posted at Eshidiya Plant,
    JPMC Plc. Jordan

    1. Dear Dr Sekhar,
      I endorse the opinions of yours as well as Prof Nikkam.As per the proverb " a pound of practice is better than ton of theory" Unfortunately, neither practising innovators in commercial mineral processing plants nor strong theoritical scientists of minral processing nor good teachers of mineral processing have not been given an opportunity of life time achievement award. It hurts sometimes though "gurudakshina" has been given to another eminent professor. BPRavi

    2. By the way, I have not participated IMPC. But I feel, it is the most embrassing moment for Indian Mineral Engineer and the part of IIME (The association of Indian Institute of Mineral Engineers). After reading the blogs, I feel the selection proedures of IMPC Council Member and for different awards should be revisited. How somebody can propose somebody's name for the award ? Is there any basis/criteria ?

      With lots of thanks to Dr Barry Wills for his contribution.


      Mohan P.

    3. For all questioning lifetime awards (2012: Dr PC Kapur)

      Please dont consider by any means I am comparing Prof. TC Rao with Prof. PC Kapur. Both of them are legends in their own way. I had privilege to use models of both legends in respective areas. But since, everyone is questioning Dr Kapur selection, let me mention some highlights of his work. First Coalescence model for agglomeration (1964) which is basis of most of models for granulation and balling. Self preserving analysis (1972) of comminution systems, grinding models (80's) including that of HPGR (90's). Prof Kapur a "signature student" of Dr Douglas Fuerstenau has certainly gained his own realm.

      Manish, JSW.

  25. I would be delighted to receive feedback on the comminution papers presented at IMPC: which papers related to energy efficiency, innovative flow sheets and or improved processing throughput?

    With so many papers presented at this auspicious meeting, it is quite a challenge to review them all.

    Sarah Boucaut
    EO, CEEC The Coalition for Eco-Efficint Comminution

  26. Regarding the photograph for authors of the 10 best papers presented by authors under 35 years of age.
    The original photo includes at far right Dr. Ralph Holmes (CSIRO), who was accepting on behalf of lead author Stephen Viduka (CSIRO). The third from the right might be Erico Tabosa.

  27. Dr K D Sharma
    Head CRDL Hindustan Zinc Ltd
    Secretary, IIME, Udaipur Chapter

    Kudos to Dr Pradip, Prof B K Mishra and their team for organizing IMPC-2012
    After convening MPT-2011 at Udaipur last year, it was an opportunity to rejuvinate my association with my esteemed friends in mineral processing fraternity and IMPC provided a perfact opportunity for that. It was also an honour to chair a session with Prof Sergio Castro on 25th.
    As head of R&D for HZL, I am extremely preveledged to get the blessings from Prof T C Rao. The executive committee of IIME, in which I am also a member, unanimously requested IMPC to honour Prof T C Rao with a life time achievement award. As it could not happen in 2012, my only request is that it must be done at the earliest.

    Dr K D Sharma

  28. We are grateful to Dr Wills, at least you are bringing voice of the fraternity as e-media to update the knowledge/science/technology/
    emotional energy of the practicing mineral engineeres globally as well as activity wise. We are recording this service as a novel activity and expecting the same in future also.

    In this context, I would like to record my personal opinion on Prof Nikkam's opinioin after along awaiting IMPC came and went up like any othe MPT's in India. We the Mineral Processing Engg. (Hard Core / Learning engg. /Budding engg. / Researh scholars) at least expected a panel discussion on how to strengthen the Mineral Processing Fraternity reginally or globally. After returning from IMPC if anybody is introspecting? The answer is frustration coupled with huge time waste.


    S. Anand

  29. Hi Manish,

    You wrote, “Please dont consider by any means I am comparing Prof. TC Rao with Prof. PC Kapur”. You are cent per cent correct as the achievements of Prof. TC Rao are incomparable. He energized many plant engineers with knowledge who in turn improved the plants where they were/are working which may be noted from the comments here. Many of his disciples in India are honored with “National Mineral Awards” that are from The Govt of India. Many became professors. He introduced Mineral Engineering at Graduate level for the first time in India. Anybody else besides him will appear dwarf! And that is why IIME recommended his candidature for the award in question. Prof. TC Rao is internationally renowned.

    Well Manish you say that you used some models but where? Have those attempts resulted into publications and if so please provide details for my education or if they improved plant performance, please educate me.

    What is being questioned is the faulty procedure of selection of IMPC for awards and not individuals. If you have a wrong selection procedure you are bound to select wrong candidates. Is it not? Better not to talk of signature students!


  30. Thanks to Dr.Barry for his self less service to the mineral engineering fraternity in holding the MEI site bringing the voice of the people across the globe.

    I endorse the opinions of Prof.Nikkam, Dr.Ravi & Dr.Sekhar etc.

    As stated by Mr.Manish definitely we can not or should not compare Prof.Rao with Prof. Kapur. Both are teachers spent their life span for developing the mineral engineering community. But when it comes to life time achievement the comparison starts. Therefore I differ with Mr.Manish opinion and was also fully disappointed with the decision of IMPC council on this prestigious award for the following reasons.

    • Dr. Rao was the instrumental in starting Mineral Engineering Dept. at ISM where B.Tech & M.Tech courses were offered & brought to the level of international standards. Also he opened Mineral Engineering division at RRL Bhopal through which he addressed several mining and mineral industries problems of central India. This was recognized by Government of India as well Madhya Pradesh Government. Because of which even after a decade of superannuation he is still getting invitations to many government policy making committees.

    • Whereas Prof. Kapur is a good teacher/scholar. No doubt about it. But he has not come out of the colonial methodology of teaching and demonstrated the leadership in order to strengthen the fraternity. Neither has he held the office of the IIME through which he can serve the community nor the industry.

    In view of the above, may I request the IMPC council to revisit the decision so that the global mineral processing fraternity stature will be protected.

    Thanks and Regards

    Satyabrata Mukherjee

  31. We are not bothered about somebody's signature student or not? But we are interested to know how many industries/industrial ball mills, etc.. were benefited through his models. If any one says at abroad his models are working, is it not his responsibility to prove the same in India also.


    E. Chennapa

  32. Dear All,

    So far my knowledge goes no one by name Manish is working in JSW,
    especially in Mineral Processing.

    I think someone wrote anonymously! No matter!
    We should consider the life time achievement award for the people who
    have contributed for overall development of the mineral engineering,
    not on the basis of mathematical models or students of great

    Prof. T C. Rao is considered as a father of Indian Mineral
    Engineering. He has introduced a full-fledged Mineral Engineering
    course first time in the Indian academics [although Metallurgy and
    Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Ore Dressing etc were
    providing glimpses of mineral engineering]. I need not write much
    about Prof Rao; his contributions to the research and development,
    academics, industry, human resources development etc are incredible
    and incomparable to any one in India.

    It is unfortunate that IMPC Council degraded Mineral Engineering (may
    be because they were misled). This attitude certainly fades away
    Mineral Engineering professionalism in the Indian continent.
    If somebody thinks that the views expressed here are out of
    frustration it is very incorrect because they remain undisclosed till
    the end of the event. I certainly do not consider this as a waste of
    time because in future this may benefit the people who are committed
    to the Mineral Engineering.

    May IMPC Council should consider necessary amendments at the earliest
    to protect the interest of mineral engineering professionals.

    Mr Dinesh Biswal
    MTech in Mineral Engineering (ISM-Dhanbad)

  33. Manish for your information, peronally I didn't know the Life Time Achievement Awardee before the the recent award ceremony at New Delhi. I would like to mention you that I am attending last six MPTs in India which is one of the major event organised by Indian Institute of Mineral Engineers (IIME). Neither I have seen nor heard any invited talk/key note address.It shows his integrity and attachment/involvement with the Indian Mineral Engineering Fraternity or responsiblity towards Indian mineral industry.

    THank you Dr Barry for your professionalism alive for Mineral Engineering community globally.


    S Rawat

  34. Dear All,

    The entire controversy above Life Time Achievement Award of IMPC is due to faulty procedure of selection. The present eligibility criteria: [1] Persons who have over a sustained period made distinguished and noteworthy contributions to the field of Mineral Processing and the activities of the Council and/or its Congresses. [2] Recipients of such an award may be nominated by any Member of Council. The council members arrogated to themselves the privilege of nominating and selecting the candidates. But who are these council members and what is their contribution to the field of mineral process engineering? No body knows! If we let things like this all that we can have is a mafia of mineral processing awards. Or otherwise how come two international awards of 2012 went to one institution? Have they really contributed to mineral process engineering? Is it not daylight robbery!

    First the council should constitute [1] four members from the mineral processing plant engineers [2] four members from equipment manufacturers and plant builders [3] four members from editorial boards of journals that deal with publications of research in mineral processing(for example International Journal of Mineral Processing and Mineral Engineering etc)[4] four (non controversial) members who recently won Life Time Achievement Awards/ Distinguished Service Awards [5] eight members elected by the delegates of IMPC such that each candidate represents a country. No council member should continue for more than three/four years. These aspects may be elaborated.
    The council members from group 1 may nominate candidates who showed ability to run the plants and improve them, the council members from group 2 may nominate candidates who can design equipment/ process circuits etc., members from group 3 may nominate authors of best papers published/presented, members from group 4 &5 may nominate candidates of high calibre from their respective countries. The Awards Committee may constitute with one member from each country.

    Let us all think.

    DMR Sekhar


  35. We think enough has been said about the Life Time Achievement Award. As members of the organizing committee we had no idea as to how the LAA is decided. We were looking after the functional aspects of the conference and so were my colleagues from IMMT Bhubaneswar. We were given to understand that it is the Council members who deliberate and decide on LAA. The local organizing committee had absolutely no role to play. As regards, the procedure of selection and tenure of membership of the Council, it is better left to the general body to decide next time. We all like Prof. T.C Rao and we respect his credentials as a Mineral Processing Person. He is in our heart which is more than the award as far as we are concerned.

    S.P. Das, B. Das, P.S.R. Reddy
    Scientist IMMT

  36. Dear Sir
    IMPC Lifetime Achievement Award
    The recent correspondence on your site referring to the Lifetime Achievement Award made at the XXVI International Minerals Processing Congress in New Delhi in September 2012 refers. As Chair of the International Mineral Processing Council I wish to reject with contempt the insinuations and/or accusations made or inferred by some of your correspondents that there may have been something untoward or inappropriate in regard to the processes followed in reaching a decision in this regard. The procedures followed in soliciting nominations from around the world and those followed by the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee, which in terms of the Constitution is by definition truly international in its membership, are compliant with best practice for any such international organisation and have served the global community of mineral processors well for the past 17 years. The suggestion that there may have been collusion on the part of one or more individuals is insulting to the integrity of all those involved in the process. Moreover the suggestion that there may have been impropriety in the process is an affront to the dignity of not only the recipient of the Award in New Delhi but to all those eminent and highly distinguished individuals who have been recipients of this prestigious Award since its inception at the Congress in San Francisco in 1995.

    India, like many other countries around the world, is blessed with an abundance of outstanding mineral processors/metallurgists/metallurgical engineers many of whom would have been worthy nominees for this year’s award. The International Mineral Processing Council is delighted to recognize the recipient of this year’s award. The Council also congratulates the Organizing Committee of the New Delhi Congress for its outstanding efforts in organizing a wonderful event. It is also greatly appreciative of the work done by the members of the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee, which always operates entirely independently of the Local Organizing Committee and which has always been characterized by its highly professional handling of this most important matter.

    Yours sincerely
    Cyril O’Connor
    Chair: International Minerals Processing Council

    1. Thankyou Cyril and Bisweswar for your comments, which I hope clarifies how the LAA is made. I hope we can move on from here, as I agree with Bisweswar that enough has been said about the award. When I published my report on the New Delhi IMPC, just over a month ago, I asked all delegates to submit their views, and the IMPC endorsed this invitation via an email sent out globally to delegates. Being a great believer in freedom of speech, I rejected only comments which were submitted totally anonymously. None of the comments published were in my opinion malicious, although they were openly critical.

      Once again I congratulate the local organising committee on the congress, which we at MEI found of great value.

  37. Dear Barry,

    Here is a link to another report about the IMPC 2012 from the Indian Institute of Mineral Engineers (IIME):

    There you can find some interesting figures on the number of oral presentation (theme-wise and country-wise). Flotation had a high number of presentations (37 oral presentations). Also, besides India, Australia, USA, Canada and South Africa had an impressive number of speakers.

  38. I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation.

    Institute of Design India

  39. Dear Dr. Barry Wills,

    May I use your photo with Prof. TC Rao with your permission as one in the public domain while building the biography of Prof. TC Rao. As you know that this photo is of historical importance.

    Kiran Pediredla

    1. Yes of course Kiran. Please let us know when the biography is published.

  40. Dr. Wills,

    Thanks. The bio of Prof TC Rao on Wikipedia is here: A detailed biography in print will be published by Mineral Engineering Science Association, Visakhapatnam very soon.


  41. My name is Rohit Verma and I’m a 1989 batch graduate of IIT Kanpur and a B.Tech. student of Professor PC Kapur. I have lost contact with Professor Kapur . Is it possible to get his current contact information from you? I am going back to IITK for my Silver Jublee Reunion on Dec 26th and would really like to connect with my mentor.



    Rohit Verma, Ph.D.
    Professor, Service Operations Management
    School of Hotel Administration
    Cornell University
    (607) 255-2688

    1. Sorry, I do not have his contact details, but hopefully someone reading this will have


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