Monday, 4 August 2014

Two interesting keynotes to look forward to at Process Mineralogy '14

Process Mineralogy '14 is only 3 months away, and the technical programme contains papers by authors from 16 countries. The two keynote lectures will be presented by top scientists from Sweden and UK. 
Prof. Pertti Lamberg, of LuleƄ University Sweden, will identify a way forward in process mineralogy, utilising automated mineralogy for modelling and simulating beneficiation processes (see posting of 16 May 2014).
Bernd Lottermoser
The second keynote "Predicting acid rock drainage: past, present, future" by Prof. Bernd Lottermoser, who has a Chair in Environmental Geochemistry at the University of Exeter, Cornwall, UK and is also Visiting Professor at the University of Tasmania, Australia, deals with a highly topical subject. Mine wastes such as waste rocks, tailings and heap leach residues often contain abundant sulphide minerals that may oxidise and dissolve to generate acid rock drainage (ARD) water, with the oxidation products potentially impacting on ecosystem and human health. Total worldwide liability associated with the current and future remediation of ARD is approximately US$ 100 billion. Consequences of failing to predict ARD for individual operations and for the mining industry include unplanned spending on remedial measures and reputational damage. Despite these severe risks, predicting the properties of mine wastes is typically not an attribute which is strongly embedded into the development of mineral resources, and examples of failures to predict waste properties accurately are plentiful. Moreover, the tests currently used for the characterisation of mine wastes still have serious limitations, are riddled with uncertainties that are hard to quantify, or only allow predictions that represent the best estimate of what might happen in the future. Also, today’s mine waste classification schemes are far too simple, blinded by chemical data and obsessed with chemical analyses.
Prof. Lottermoser will show how the time has come to drastically improve our scientific efforts to forecast the likelihood of ARD accurately. Improvements in our predictive capabilities will come from new field and laboratory tests and the application of state-of-the-art characterisation tools and methodologies at individual exploration and mine sites. Such data are needed to establish the operational challenges, impacts and closure liabilities of ores and wastes.

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