Friday, 23 August 2013

In brief

Grinding Solutions Ltd- a local success story
I called in at Truro a few days ago to see my old friends Nick and Felicity (Flee) Wilshaw, owners of Grinding Solutions Ltd (GSL), who are one of the sponsors of Comminution ’14. It’s always good to see a successful family run business, and Grinding Solutions was started by Nick and Flee in 2003 and now operates in all fields of mineral processing, offering technical, marketing and investment consultancy to the industry, as well as laboratory testing facilities.

Nick was a fine rugby player, and mineral processing student at Camborne School of Mines, graduating in 1980 before gaining his MSc in Mineral Processing from Queen’s University, Canada. Their daughter Samantha Abraham, Office Manager, joined the business in 2012, having been an estate agent locally, bringing fresh ideas and renewed energy to the business.  Felicity has been working full time with Nick since 2010 and bought with her years of experience as Business Support Director for Reflex Marine, a marine safety company owned by two other CSM graduates and based in Cornwall.  Simon Bailey, Research and Development Minerals Processor, has been with GSL for the last four years and manages the laboratory in Tresillian, outside Truro and has a background in geology followed by an MSc in Mineral Processing at CSM. 

I was impressed with the laboratory, which has grown over the years, allowing GSL to carry out a large range of mineral processing techniques, becoming recognised throughout the industry as a leader in ultra-fine grinding.  They have recently purchased a Malvern 3000 Particle Size Analyser to complement their existing fine grinding work and are the only South West company to have this equipment, enabling them to carry out the most up to date and accurate particle size analysis.  Talking to Nick and Flee, it is evident that GSL is innovative in the way it deals with problems and has helped develop numerous processes from speculative ideas to large scale projects.  Expect to hear much more of them in the future. It will be good to have them with us in Cape Town next April.

At the GSL labs with Simon, Nick, Felicity and Samantha

 Cornish Mining Sundowner- August
Nick and Flee Wilshaw were also in Falmouth last night for the monthly sundowner, which is becoming ever more popular and well attended. Over 35 mining people were at the Chain Locker last night, enjoying the local ales and company on a very balmy summer evening. The next sundowner is on September 19th, so if you are in the area we would be very pleased to see you.

Registrations flowing in for Flotation ‘13
Things are looking good for November, with registrations now coming in at a steady flow for the fine programme on offer. Already this week 15 delegates have registered from the University of Cape Town’s strong flotation group, and we thank them for their continued support of the MEI events.

MEI’s Jon will miss out this year on the TableMountain hike, as he will be returning to Falmouth immediately after the conference to look after 5-month old daughter Josephine, with his Imperial College partner Dr. Kathryn Hadler.


  1. I would like to have been at that Mining Sundowner in Falmouth. What a lot of old reprobates! x

    1. Maybe see you at a future one (whoever you are?)?

  2. I am sure that I am not the only one working on their papers for Flotation 13 over this weekend - to get them to Barry and his team by the end of the month! It all builds the anticipation of the conference and reminds me that November is fast approaching.
    As I reflect on what is different about the contributions to this year’s conference, I think that its ‘Process Mineralogy’ in its various forms that has made a big difference to flotation, potentially , come of age!!
    We are still dealing with the same problems, focussed on complex ores, recovery of coarse particles, problems caused by fine particles and of course our old friend Arsenic and other deleterious elements. I think that it’s the contribution of Process Mineralogy that has enabled improvements and new strategies more than breakthrough new inventions. What do you think ?
    Dee Bradshaw

    1. Barry: I am a mechanical engineer who became involved in froth flotation with a specific interest in the hydrodynamics and scale-up of flotation processess. I quickly realised that you can not study flotation without a good understanding and knowledge of the geology and mineralogy involved. as these two variables "kick off" your process design. I think it is unthinkable to do a design without a good knowledge of these two fiedls of study. I would hesitate to say it was a major contributor but rather an important contributor.
      Marius Truter, Foskor, South Africa

    2. Mineralogy remains totally underutilised for froth flotation.
      I have recently developed a mass balance system (VisioBal3D) which will include mineralogy, and am currently finishing off the simulator (VisioSim/ also using mineralogy).
      However it is the use of a particle based model rather than the superficial 'modal mineralogy' that will be the basis of the model. Because mineralogy is expensive it will rely heavily on information theory to identify the particle based structure throughout the whole circuit. Hence this approach also represents a total paradigm shift in the way we sample, (see the group VisioBal on sampling strategies).
      Extension work of VisioSim will include modern modelling approaches such as hidden Markov models which will totally change the unit model approaches. The outcome will provide huge advantage to the mineral industry allowing automated process understanding, diagnostics and improvement - as well as simpler and cheaper sampling strategies.
      So yes, process mineralogy will prove to be a tremendous contributor - not just to flotation but holistic optimisation of mineral processing plants.
      I am still seeking a mineralogy service group that wishes to support this vision but I am sure once case studies have been identified they will come onboard.
      So I totally agree with Marius that mineralogy is an essential tool - but it needs the skilled master in order to be a major contributor.
      Stephen Gay (Australia)

    3. Spot on Dee! Process Mineralogy really does give us a tool to address complex flotation issues much more efficiently and set up systems where issues can be identified early and addressed before there is too much impact. Simply looking routinely at the theoretical grade recovery curve for a given PSD and comparing with the actual performance gives you a measurable guide to how well you are going. Building on this to examine the mineralogy so we understand the key mineral grain sizes and distribution of deleterious elements can give you a great head start on defining what area needs to be addressed to improve flotation performance.

      This is something that I see all the time at MinAssist. One way we have looked to address it is to introduce a Flotation Health Check that looks at simple mineralogical drivers for flotation feed material. We have set this up as a tool to give quick turn around and analysis focused on parameters that are important for a flotation circuit. In my opinion, providing something that allows routine mineralogy to be performed as a fundamental part of any flotation monitoring or optimisation program is an essential tool and will mean that we can start to address some of the same old problems that keep popping up. If anyone is interested in more information you can find it at

      Great to see mineralogy entering the flotation conversation and I'm hoping to see much more.

      Will Goodall

  3. Kathryn - I trust you are coming to Flotation 13 - it wont be the same without you!! I am sure there will be enough babysitters for Josephine for you to attend the good sessions???!!
    xx Dee


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