Sunday, 2 February 2014

Happy Days

People in the minerals industry tend to move around the world, and it is far too easy to lose touch, but one of the great values of social media is in finding long lost friends and colleagues from the distant past. I have caught up with quite a few people from my Zambia days via Facebook's excellent Chingola group.  

A recent welcome internet reunion has been with Val and Giles Day. Many mineral processors who worked at Nchanga in the 1970s will remember Giles, not only professionally, but as a well known Nchanga Rugby team member, a strong centre for the 1st XV (he was also a star of the Nchanga Metallurgists team which occasionally took to the field!).

Nchanga 1st team 1971, Giles is 3rd from the right on the back row
I worked on the Concentrator with Giles for a short time in 1970-71 and we both served in the Nchanga Fire Brigade. He left Zambia in 1977 when he was Assistant Superintendent of the Tailings Leach Plant (TLP) 2 and began work as a Process Consultant with Zambia Engineering Unit in Ashford, Kent, on the design of the new TLP 3, to reclaim the Chingola Tailings Dams.

With Giles in Arizona, 1988
From early ’79, he was with Unilever in Warrington,  promoting their new polyelectrolytes for mining and water treatment, then in 1980 he was invited back to Ashford to join the new Zambia Engineering Services, on permanent staff, and worked on the newly-revived TLP 3 project involving large belt filters replacing CCD thickeners for the washing function.  He spent a year back in Chingola on site from ’85 to ’86.  He also spent time in Pasadena (Parsons) and Chile (Codelco) working on hydromet proposals, and it was in Arizona where I last saw him, when we visited the Magma Copper Mine in San Manuel, a field trip after the SME Annual Meeting in Phoenix in 1988.

We lost touch after that, as at the end of  ’89 he decided to make a clean break,  and bought a franchise, selling and managing office maintenance services.  By ’92-’93, he had sold the business back to the franchisor and set up a residential property management firm in Canterbury, Kent.  The business became very successful and he is still involved with it, Val and Giles now running the business from their home in Cyprus. Moving to Cyprus provided Val with the opportunity to pursue her love of writing and her first book on expatriate life in Cyprus ‘Plastic Bag Trees’ was published in 2007, her second, ‘Not All Beer and Skittles’, in 2010.

Giles and Val, and their granddaughters Isabella (8) and Lexie (6) are pictured below. I am sure that they would love to hear from anyone who knew them in Chingola all those years ago.


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