Friday, 28 February 2014

SME '14 in pictures. A mineral processors view

It is 14 years since I was last in Salt Lake City for an SME Annual Meeting, and as with all the SMEs that I attend, this is essentially a personal pictorial diary of my two days spent at the event, mainly in the huge exhibition, always a good place to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. High resolution images can be accessed and downloaded by clicking on any photo.

This is in no way a report of the convention. I doubt if any single person could do that, as, as always, there was a formidable programme of technical presentations, in a huge array of parallel sessions, so if you attended the event I invite you to leave your own personal views and experiences.

Sunday 23rd February
The Convention got underway this afternoon with the opening reception for the exhibition.  This is always a good time to view the booths, as the exhibitors are at their most attentive at this time, before the inevitable listlessness sets in later in the week.

Due to my activities in the Wasatch Mountains, I missed last night's International Mining Hall of Fame dinner, but I caught up with the International Mining team this afternoon. John Chadwick still holds the statuettes for the two mineral processors inaugurated into the Hall of Fame, Australia's Prof. Graeme Jameson and Prof. Alban Lynch, neither of whom could attend last night. Although there are various mining halls of fame around the world, John Chadwick established the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame because there is not one specifically for the technology innovators of our industry, and there have been many very important innovations/technology developments that have massively changed the industry in terms of productivity and safety. It is also the first truly International Hall of Fame in the industry - the first inductions include Americans, Australians, South Africans, Finns, Swedes and Canadians. Hopefully the International Technology Mining Hall of Fame will get better known and we can revel in greater numbers of nominations each year.  John Chadwick is pictured below, holding a Hall of Fame statuette, with Paul Moore and Phil Playle of International Mining.

There were two other London-based magazine publishers at the meeting, and it was good to meet Emma Leighton, Managing Editor of Maney Publishing, who, amongst others, publishes Transaction of the IMM and Canadian Metallurgical Quarterly. I also met for the first time Carly Leonida, the Editor of Mining Magazine.

Emma Leighton of Maney Publishing

The Mining Magazine team

Monday 24th February

As always the exhibition does not open until 11am, so I took a look in the SME bookstore.  The only new mineral processing book was Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy, but I was pleased to see that Mineral Processing Technology is still a member favourite.

 Outside the bookstore I met up with Jim Finch of McGill University, newly appointed MEI Consultant to Flotation '15, Jan Laskowski of University of British Columbia, and the organisers of this year's International Mineral Processing Congress in Santiago,  Juan Yianatos of Santa Maria University, and Romke Kuyvenhoven  of Gecamin. All is looking good for the IMPC, with over 800 abstracts currently being reviewed, and an attendance of around 1000 delegates expected. Major sponsors are Outotec and Antofagasta, and site visits to local operations will take place on the Friday following the congress.

Jim Finch, Romke Kuyvenhoven, Juan Yianatos and Jan Laskowski

MEI isn't the only small Cornish company represented at the SME. It was a very pleasant surprise to see my old Camborne School of Mines student Chris Bailey, with his son Adam Bailey, representing the Redruth company Holman-Wilfley, the world's leading manufacturer of shaking tables. Chris graduated from CSM in 1976 and is now Managing Director of the company. Adam, a mechanical engineer, has worked with Chris for the past few years as Production Manager, and will be starting an MSc in minerals engineering at CSM later in the year. Third from the left in the photo below is another of my old students, Dave Meadows, who graduated in 1985 and is now Vice President of Global Process Technology with FLSmidth, whose headquarters is in Salt Lake City.

FLSmidth is a serial sponsor of MEI Conferences, and their booth is always a landmark at SME events. Their giant display was always busy, reflecting the interest in their services, and some of their many staff manning the booth are photographed below. One of the features of their display was a series of holograms (see left) of mineral processing operations, a first, I think, but probably the future of marketing display.

Outotec is also one of our regular sponsors and they too had a large display in their busy booth.

The highlight of the afternoon's opening Mineral Processing Division session was the SME/IMPC presentation of a special award to one of the world's most eminent mineral processors, Prof. Doug Fuerstenau (see MEI Online), tribute being paid by Cyril O'Connor, Chairman of the IMPC and John Marsden, new SME President. In the photo below, Prof. Fuerstenau is pictured with Cyril O'Connor, John Herbst (USA representative on the IMPC)  and John Marsden.

The award ceremony was followed by the Antoine Gaudin Memorial Lecture "From Dreams to Reality: Modeling of Mineral Processing Dynamic Performance Management", given by Osvaldo Bascur of OSISoft LLC, USA. This in turn was followed by the Richards Lecture, "It takes a village to raise a metallurgist" by John Mansanti, Intrepid Potash, USA and finally the Wadsworth Lecture by Gary Kordosky, USA, "Asking Key Questions to Speed SX Reagent Development". The recipients are shown below, with their awards.

John Mansanti, Osvaldo Bascur and Gary Kordosky
Back at the exhibition it was nice to catch up with my old friend Steve Hearn, of Huntsman, manufacturers of flotation and hydrometallurgy chemicals.  He is pictured 3rd left below with Noah Denson and Danielle McGlothen of Huntsman and Matthew Parry of Univar, who also manufacture mining chemicals.

In the adjoining Univar booth, was Peter Radziszewski, of Metso, Canada, who will be presenting papers at Comminution '14 in a few weeks' time.

Leaving the booth I met Univar Vice President of Global Mining Sam Sutherland (right) with Mike Roberts and Dennis Kennedy of Georgia-Pacific Chemicals.

I then called in at another mining chemicals company, Chevron Phillips, where representatives were discussing flotation and hydromet chemicals with Molly Bragg of Flowrox.

I caught up with other Flowrox representatives later, talking to Andy Deva, of Verder.

As last year there is a Symposium on Water in Mining with keynotes in the late afternoon, and, as last year one of the keynotes was presented by Rob Dunne, one of the co-editors of the Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy book launched this week. Rob again provided an excellent overview of water in the wider global arena and compared this to how the mining industry has dealt with water stewardship over the last couple of decades. He discussed progress made to decrease water usage, increase recycle water and the installation of the new mega size multibillion dollar reverse osmosis desalination plants around the world.

Tuesday 25th February
The SME inform me that 539 companies are represented in over 800 booths, a record, although there are fewer delegates registered, almost 6000, compared with last year in Denver.

I long ago decided that, due to the bewildering array of parallel sessions, I would give the SME technical sessions a wide berth, but this morning was the start of the Douglas Fuerstenau tribute symposium on fundamentals and applied advances in mineral processing. This bizarrely ran in parallel with sessions on comminution, leaching, non-sulphide flotation, separation, tailings, and water quality.

I called in at the Fuerstenau symposium to hear IMPC Chairman Prof. Cyril O'Connor review how in recent years the Centre for Minerals Research at the University of Cape Town has been integrating its comminution and flotation research, the presentation reviewing this work and demonstrating the importance of developing a fully integrated approach to the design and operation of comminution and flotation circuits. This is good to see, as in recent years minerals engineers have become increasingly narrow and specialised, and there is a decreasing number of people around who can see the wide picture.

Back at the exhibition I called at the OSIsoft booth to congratulate Osvaldo Bascur on his award yesterday of the prestigious of 2013 Antoine M. Gaudin Award (see also MEI Online), the selection acknowledging Dr. Bascur's outstanding contributions in mathematical modelling and management of process information in the mineral processing industry.

Osvaldo Bascur and OSIsoft Systems Engineer Mariana Sandin
I reported last year on Zeroday Enterprises' flotation bank pulp level control probe, and was updated today on how it has evolved over the past year by Senior Project Engineer Bill Stockton.

Eriez is best known for its range of magnetic separators, but the company also manufacture column flotation machines and the coarse particle flotation Hydrofloat Cell. I first saw the latter at Metplant '13 and persuaded the flotation division to present a paper on its potential applications at Flotation '13 (posting of 5 August 2013). This device has great potential for reducing energy consumption, by recovering values at a coarse size within grinding circuits.

I was particularly interested in their rare earth magnet roll separator, which was on display separating ilmenite from quartz. The powerful permanent magnet in the roll operates at 2T, testament to the strength of boron-neodymium alloy magnets.

More bewildering clashes after lunch, with the Fuerstenau symposium running in parallel with sessions on flotation, plant design, and research and characterisation. Kal Sastry, of University of California at Berkeley, presented an interesting overview of the past, present and future of mineral process engineering, showing its evolution through the early and later parts of the 20th century to the present times, highlighting the contributions made by Doug Fuerstenau and his students and grand students. He discussed research needs and the exciting opportunities provided by mineral process engineering as a result of the rapidly evolving technological changes of this century.

And then back for my last walk around the exhibition.

FEI is a sponsor of Process Mineralogy '14, and is a world leader in automated mineralogy systems. Ore mineralogy and texture are primary variables controlling base and precious metal recoveries, yet 99% of mineral processing plants operate blind from a mineralogical perspective, with access only to a snapshot of recovery performance by mineral species, grind size and liberation, based on occasional monthly composite sample analysis carried out in central technology laboratories or at service providers. Peter Dimas and Jaquelin Nerrera, of Nalco, were following with great interest FEI's Anna Shestakova's summary of how development is ongoing to enable the generation of daily automated mineralogy data (QEMSCAN or MLA) on-site, with a turn-around time of around 24 hours.

Christian O'Keefe of CiDRA Minerals Processing Inc. was demonstrating the company's new CYCLONEtracSM Classification Optimization family of products, which are novel, complete turn-key systems that enable reliable optimization of classification at the individual hydrocyclone level, providing reliable, real-time coarse particle monitoring and particle size tracking on individual hydrocylones. These systems enable plant operators to reduce process upsets, improve closed circuit grind and classification, and maximize mineral recovery.  The system is based on a non-invasive clamp-on sensing ring designed for use in primary grinding. The system monitors the flow of coarse particles >6mm (pebbles) reporting to the overflow pipes of individual hydrocyclones, which indicates poor classification performance. The value of this technology lies in enabling operators, or automated control systems, to take immediate action to avoid prolonged periods of lower recovery through the early detection and isolation of pebble events. I am hoping that CiDRA will be able to showcase this at Comminution '14.

I called in at Starkey & Associates, who are also sponsors of Comminution '14, and will be exhibiting at the event.

 German company Eirich is another sponsor of Comminution '14 and one of their key areas is ultrafine grinding, which interested Ceren Bozbay of South Dakota School of Mines, who is talking to Eirich's Ben Stroup and Peter Wulff.

Also from South Dakota School of Mines is Sadegh Safarzadeh, who I was pleased to meet, as he is a fellow Elsevier journal editor, his role being an Associate Editor of Hydrometallurgy.

Once again the SME has proven to be a great networking event and I have had a rewarding two days wandering around and catching up with people. As I have an early morning flight tomorrow I will miss the Mineral Processing Division lunch this year, but wish John Uhrie all the best in his year as MPD Chairman, which he takes over from Corby Anderson of Colorado School of Mines. Corby is pictured below with incoming SME President John Marsden.

Corby Anderson and John Marsden

I look forward to next year's event, which will be held in my favourite SME venue, Denver, from February 15-18.


  1. Barry,
    Thanks for the wonderful pictures and information about this year SME Annual Meeting. It is interesting.

  2. Thanks for the overview Barry - it was helpful for me to learn about the program since I could not attend the SMEW this year.
    Best regards
    Louis M. Bernard, Bernard Mining & Metallurgy

  3. Twitter @smecommunity: #SME2014AM Record-breaking 6722 registered from 37 countries! Lots of great exhibits, sessions & events. See you @ #SME2015AM in #Denver!...

  4. Barry, thanks for featuring Zeroday's LTM probe demonstration at the SME Show.

    Instek Control has further advanced slurry and pulp level monitoring and measurement capabilities by introducing a second generation of the LTM probe. The LTM-2 monitoring probe uses the same effective conductive probe technology but is now easier to specify, install and use with the following key improvements to the original LTM probe technology:

    • A ‘plug and play’ sensor
    • Uses a 2-wire instead of 4-wire power and signal connection
    • The reduced measuring range is eliminated, simplifying specification and installation
    • Calibration adjustments are unnecessary when conditions change
    • Is calibrated via USB computer interface

    At Zeroday we've found that LTM products have proven to provide excellent pulp-level interface monitoring in most flotation and sump applications through the benefits of conductive technology and advanced digital signal processing logic. They are ideal for monitoring froth or foam covered process cells, tanks and sumps. The LTM probe precisely monitors slurry and pulp interfaces, providing improved level measurement, and increases process control, oftentimes dramatically.

    Bill A. Hancock, PE, RM, QP
    President – Zeroday Enterprises, LLC

  5. Barry, thank you for sharing these beautiful photos.
    Rossen Halatchev, RH Mining Consultancy, Australia

  6. Thanks Barry and team,
    Great to see many old colleagues & friends enjoying SME 2014.
    Best wishes for the Comminution'14 gathering also.

  7. Great Experience .Thanks for sharing the information and Photos
    P.V Ramana Murthy, National Aluminium Co. Ltd, India

  8. Richard Williams, UK2 March 2014 at 11:28

    Thanks Barry.

  9. Barry - many thanks for sharing the photos, and for your overview.
    It was a first USA exhibition for us, and gave us the opportunity to highlight Holman Gravity Tables, and to meet many past contacts and friends. I was personally surprised at the high level of International presence, maybe the ski-ing was an added attraction!
    Best regards
    Chris Bailey
    Managing Director
    Holman-Wilfley Ltd

  10. I enjoyed talking to you during the SME meeting in Salt Lake City. I would also like to especially thank you to include my (and my student Ceren Bozbay's) pictures in your highly regarded MEI blog. This is very nice of you.
    You have brought a different level of quality to mineral processing and hydrometallurgy through your esteemed journal, Minerals Engineering, and also your tireless activities in MEI. We appreciate these efforts.

    Best regards,
    Sadegh Safarzadeh
    Associate Editor, Hydrometallurgy
    South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, USA

  11. Dear Barry,

    Thank you for a comprehensive summary of the SME meeting particularly the comminution focus. Please share this report on CEEC's LinkedIn Page

  12. Thanks Sarah. I already have this shared on LinkedIn, via Minerals Engineers and the SME Group.


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