Thursday 23 October 2014

The proudest moment of my professional life

The International Mineral Processing Council (IMPC) "may from time to time make an award known as the "Distinguished Service Award" to 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". At last night's glittering IMPC Gala Dinner in Santiago, I was proud and delighted to become only the 3rd ever recipient of this award, which was presented in 2008 to Prof. Nat Arbiter (USA) and in 2010 to Prof. Jacques Astier (France).

Receiving the award from Prof. Eric Forssberg with Profs Yoon, Yianatos and O'Connor looking on

The citation for the Award read:

"Dr. Wills, an alumnus of Leeds University, has contributed to the mineral processing community in several capacities. His main quest during his long career has been to promote the distribution and dissemination of mineral processing engineering knowledge within the community of mineral processors worldwide. During his career Dr. Wills has served the mineral processing community and obtained results, which merits him for the Distinguished Service Award of IMPC.

After gaining industrial experience in Zambia and in UK, he devoted 22 years to teaching mineral processing students at Camborne School of Mines. From his needs as a lecturer grew a seminal and successful book “Mineral Processing Technology” in 1979. It has become a “household” book world over and is currently on its 7th edition. Its impacts on the discipline have been profound.

The next step in his quest for knowledge distribution was the foundation of Mineral Engineering journal in 1988. The journal has come to be known for its quality of papers and promptness of its editor. He continues to serve as its editor-in-chief.

Dr. Wills then created a very successful conference series in 1991. By concentrating on narrow fields of subjects aimed for specialists, but by creating a continuum from them, he has been able to create a model that has gained a widespread popularity. The number of topics has substantially grown during the years and now covers the discipline widely and very well. Famous are the series in comminution and in flotation that have been organised from the beginning. The conferences and the special issues published from the presented papers have proven to be a very exciting formula maximising the information and dissemination impact. The conferences have also proven to be very successful in networking people from young graduates to distinguished professors.

In 1999 Dr. Wills took his ideas of knowledge distribution to the internet by creating, along with his daughter Amanda, MEI Online, now a respected and well-known source of data and information. Within MEI Online Dr. Wills himself contributes actively in creating discussion topics and writing an interesting blog.

Dr. Wills’ achievements in disseminating mineral processing knowledge and information are extraordinary.  With his efforts many results and ideas have been disseminated efficiently."

There are literally thousands of people who have contributed to my receipt of this award, and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking them collectively.  Firstly I must thank the IMPC, and particularly those who nominated me, for honouring me in this way.

A special thanks to my family, the MEI team, particularly my wife Barbara, who has supported me in everything that I have done for half a century, and our daughter Amanda, and son Jon.

For half my professional life I was a member of staff at Camborne School of Mines (CSM) and I would like to thank all those that I worked with during those 22 years, particularly my mineral processing colleagues Roger Parker, Jim Turner and Vic Phillips, who are sadly no longer with us, and the Principal for most of my time at CSM, Dr. Peter Hackett, who gave me almost free-rein to make new contacts by travelling the world, often for extended periods as a visiting lecturer in Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, India and France.

For over half my professional life I have been associated with Minerals Engineering journal, and I thank all the Pergamon and Elsevier staff who I have worked with during that time, particularly my current Publishing Manager Dean Eastbury, who has become a great friend of the family. Thanks also to my Editorial Board Members, past and present, and the many hundreds of people who have given their time to reviewing papers for the journal.

Finally I would like to thank all of you in the mineral processing community. If I was not interested in you and the things that you do I would not have the motivation to do what I do.

It has been a long and rewarding journey, but I have not reached my destination yet


  1. Congratulations!!

    I may be slightly biased but I think it's well deserved recognition. I know how much your work means to you and am only sorry I wasn't there to see you pick up the award.

    Enjoy the moment!


  2. Fantastic achievement Barry, you certainly have a way of keeping up in this fast moving world. We should all be proud of our own achievement's and look forward to the work you envision as we look ahead.



  3. Well deserved, Barry! It's great that your efforts in keeping the mineral processing community up to speed on news and views, events, commentaries, jobs, stories from the archives and much more, including of course Minerals Engineering, have been officially recognised.
    All the best

  4. Well done Barry - this award is really well deserved. Its hard to imagine what the global minerals processing community would look like without the journal, as well as the Minerals Engineering conferences. This of course includes the upcoming MEI Process Mineralogy 14 conference in Cape Town next month which we are are looking forward to.

  5. Dr Wills happy to hear that! Congrats!
    Thanks for your contributions to the field of mineral processing.
    Kind regards.

    Dr. Ulusoy

  6. I can just say congratulation dear Prof. Barry; First time I recognize you it should be during my B.Sc studentship period (2000-2005); I had mineral processing courses and in our university laboratory I have found old version (I think it was early of 80 decade) of your mineral processing text book and I have seen name of author is Barry Wills! Again congratulation Barry.

    Yours truly;
    Hamed Haghi

  7. Well deserved and I hope there was no option to compare for.
    With Regards
    Rama Murthy

  8. Congratulations on your award and recognition. This is excellent news and thoroughly well deserved.
    Ian Townsend, UK

  9. Having known you for more than forty years, both at personal and professional levels, I may say with all the conviction that your contributions are something unparallelled. Any student who has something to do with Mineral Processing must have read your book and would continue to do so for years to come. It is a handy book for Teachers to teach the subject and use it as reference material.
    Through your Blog, you gave a platform to all the professionals to express their ideas/queries freely. thus spreading the knowledge with no boundaries.
    Barry, this great news is very fitting and my personal congratulations.
    Pl continue to break the walls between academic/R&D community and practising professionals through your continuing services.
    Prof.(Dr.)T.C.Rao, India

  10. Dear Dr Barry,
    I got great satisfaction to know from the MEI blog that you are honored with the prestigious ‘Distinguished Service Award’ in the IMPC. No doubt you certainly deserve it. Your recognition gave a special flavor to our students to celebrate the festival of ‘DIWALI’ (India’s most popular and traditional festival of lights; also known ‘DEEPAWALI’). In fact, they had no words to express their joy, but I could understand their feelings and their affection to you (because they read your book).
    I feel, I missed a momentous event. Though I was very much intending to attend 27th IMPC, but I could not do so for some reasons. No doubt you deserve much more than this and we wish you to receive many more such laurels in future too. CONGRATULATIONS Dr Barry!!!
    With best wishes and regards.
    Prof Nikkam Suresh
    Professor of Mineral Engineering
    Department of Fuel & Mineral Engineering
    Indian School of Mines, DHANBAD

  11. Hi Barry,
    Thanks to Sheila Parker I have just logged on to see your award from the MEI. Very well deserved too! If I was a facilitator for those early years I am glad that it all turned out so well for you. Yet another feather in your cap and one for the CSM by association. Esme and I look forward to seeing you and Barbara sometime in the near future.
    Very best wishes

    Peter Hackett, Cornwall, UK

  12. Barry, congratulations on the well deserved industry recognition!
    Best wishes
    Mike Adams

  13. Dear Barry
    Your recognition which came with the presentation of a major award at 2014 IMPC was well deserved, you have contributed more to mineral processing during the last 20 years than any other engineer. Achieving the dream must have seemed difficult or perhaps impossible at times but it flourished because of your knowledge and persistence.

    I look forward to contributing to “In conversation with Barry Wills”.
    Regards Alban
    Alban Lynch, Brisbane, Australia

  14. Barbara and I are now in the lounge at Sao Paulo Airport, waiting for flight back to London. I won't reply individually to all the kind comments above. Suffice to say that your comments and best wishes are most appreciated, and make all our endeavours at MEI worthwhile. Thanks to you all.

  15. Barry (and of course Barbara, Amanda and Jon who I know stand with you) Congratulations and thank you for your many years of invaluable and dedicated contribution to the industry. We certainly are much richer for it. Your enthusiam and passion has been most appreciated as has your foresight and desire to innovate and try new things. I for one have always valued your support and gentle (usually) pushing me out of my comfort zone and look forward continuing to work with you for many years to come.

  16. Congratulations Barry, a well deserved honour, I am one of the lucky students that benefited from your lectures back in the late 70's and from the excellent facilities and programs that you were part of at the Camborne School of Mines. Your initiative has created a fantastic network for exchange of information between industry, researchers and students and I wish you all the best in the continuation of your journey and to the benefits it brings to all of us.

  17. Congratulations for the deserved award, Barry. The IMPC which we all enjoyed was a marvelous ocassion for this acknowledgment - very glad about you. Thanks for keeping your incredibly useful network vital for the beneftis of the min-eng community..

    Stoyan Gaydardzhiev, Liege, Belgium

  18. Congratulations Barry - a most deserving recipient!

    Kirsty Hollis

  19. Dear Bas, Congratulations on the award for recognition of your contributions to the Industry - well earned and not before time! I've been waiting for a CDM for all my years of dogged work in Bournville - so far no luck.

    Keep up the good work,
    Terry and Pauline Veasey

  20. Barry - very many congratulations on your IMPC award. I have rarely seen such a prestigious award more thoroughly deserved. You have made a hugely positive impact on the mineral processing profession in so many ways and it is good to see that this is appreciated by senior members of the profession. Most of us make our modest contributions in small dark corners of the business but you have sat astride the profession and actually changed the way we do business and the way the profession develops, through your teaching and book, the conferences, the journal, and the MEI website and everything that goes with it. Most of us would have been very happy with just one of those.

    A very popular choice. Well done. I might even stand you a beer the next time we meet.

    All the best to you and Barbara and the kiddies.

    Tim Napier-Munn

  21. I wish there was a 'Like' button on the blog. I don't want to fill the blog by replying individually to all your kind comments. I have read them all, as have Barbara, Jon and Amanda, and I am am sure that you know that I truly appreciate all your kind (so far) comments. As I said in the posting, it was not a solo effort that lead to the award, MEI does what it does because we have a real and passionate interest in the mineral processing industry and its people.

  22. I will follow the words and comments of Tim Napier-Munn.
    I was very lucky to see you receiving the award in Santiago. Keep goin’ !

  23. Hi Barry,

    Congratulations indeed and well-deserved. I didn't know until I read your citation that you are a Leeds alumnus like me. There are not many Leeds Applied Mineral Scientists left, I fear!

    When I had a spell as a mineral process teaching fellow at CSM ten years ago, I found my copy of Mineral Processing Technology invaluable for putting together lecture material. As it was the original red first edition, I bought a 6th edition to get me up to date!

    I enjoy meeting you at the Falmouth sundowners, and hope to continue to do so.

    I also hope that undergraduate mineral processing courses will reappear one day at a UK university. I remember seven when we were students: CSM, RSM, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Newcastle and Cardiff.

    Congratulations again, Barry.

    Steve Barber

  24. Thanks Steve. Actually I am not a Leeds Applied Minerals Scientist. I graduated in metallurgy- just around the corner in the Houldsworth School. Yes, it would be good to see an undergraduate course in mineral processing again. Maybe you could push for CSM to start up again- there is certainly no shortage of jobs around the world.

  25. Dr. Wills,
    Congratulations on your well-deserved fantastic award. You have a very admirable and special career, emphasizing not only on mineral processing science but also its proper dispersion in the right direction.
    Mustafa Akser
    Wilmington, DE, USA

  26. Dr. Wills:

    I have never met you but have been a regular reader of MEI online for a number of years and have a copy of your text, which is consulted when I need mineral processing information. (My primary areas of endeavor are exploration and mine design.) As others have said, the textbook alone is sufficient reason for the honor, but so is MEI Online and you have done both.

    I had hoped to be able to attend the Sundowner and meet you when I was in Cornwall on vacation last month -- my family came from the Liskeard-Launceston area and my wife has ancestors from Helston -- but alas I was there the wrong week.

    The honor is well deserved. Congratulations!

    Kernow bys vyken!

    Doug Hambley
    Lakewood, Colorado

    1. Thanks Doug. May see you in February in Colorado- I will be at SME

  27. I’ve read of your IMPC Award, Tim also told me. My congratulations on such genuinely deserved recognition. I see various awards going around and often wonder. But not this time, as you established and then took to success by far the most important publishing path for minerals engineering and related topics. I also know that Barbara had a lot to do with the success as well as the wider family. So very well done to you all.

    Kind regards
    Don McKee, Australia

    1. Many thanks for this Don. As I have noted a few times on this posting, this was not a solo effort, many people have contributed to the success of MEI and Minerals Engineering journal, not least yourself. Do you remember that long talk on automatic control that we had in Indooroopilly in 1983? Computers were just becoming widely available and you inspired me to update Mineral Processing Technology with an introduction to automatic control, which was beginning to be used in some milling processes - you have an acknowledgement in the Preface to the 3rd edition. Things have moved on a little in the 30 years since then!

  28. Dear Barry, The International Mineral Processing Council often deliberates long and hard over many issues such as the award of the Lifetime Achievement Award, the award of future Congresses to bidding cities, the work of its Commissions, etc. Having read the many and wonderful tributes which have been paid to you on your being awarded the IMPC Distinguished Service Award at the Santiago Congress, it is wonderful to see that, what was an incredibly easy decision for the Council to make, has been so warmly applauded by the international community. Your achievements have set an inordinately high standard for any potential future recipient of this prestigious Award. The Council, which includes people from all continents, was unanimously most supportive of the proposal that you be so recognized and this global recognition of your outstanding achievements is a wonderful tribute to you (and of course to Barbara, Amanda and Jon) for the huge contributions you have made globally to Minerals Processing.

    Your contributions will live on for many generations to come and we will always be enormously grateful to you for this. I often enjoy quoting the famous work of the great Georgius Agricola (De Re Metallica) written in the 16th century and much of which is still so relevant today. One can thus confidently assume that in the 25th century students will still be reading the great work by Wills, Minerals Processing Technology!!

    Keep well and we all hope that you will long be able to continue the wonderful contribution you make to our discipline.
    Best wishes
    Cyril O'Connor, Chairman International Mineral Processing Council

  29. I heard about you IMPC award last week while in the US. A belated congratulations!

    You truly deserve this. Your conferences and tireless energy have so enriched the field. Our rewarding but often so tough sustainability endeavour so close to my heart just underlines your sincere commitment!

    Once I again so very happy and pleased for you!

    Kind regards

    Markus Reuter, Outotec, Finland

  30. Hearty congratulations on your IMPC award. Very deserved, and a great credit to you for all your efforts over the years with Mineral Engineering. You have certainly given the Journal industry a good shake up.

    Kindest, Errol
    Errol Kelly, New Zealand

  31. I want to add my congratulations and thanks to those that you have already received from the mineral processing community.
    An editorship must be a fatiguing commitment although with a gratifying product. Contributing to the permanent record and the institutional memory of a key sector of industry requires the dedication that you have clearly demonstrated over the decades since you founded M-E in 1988.
    The professional recognition by the IMPC must be gratifying. I hope that you have recorded the names of all those IMPC directors and recruited them as reviewer candidates for your journal.
    Graeme Strathdee, Canada

    1. Many thanks Graeme. After 26 years, editing the journal is not too onerous a task, as I have built up a data base of very professional and committed reviewers, people such as yourself.

  32. The award you recently received was pretty impressive but I was surprised you had omitted important mention of being Chief Operating Officer of Chingola Taxi Corporation.

    Alan Minty, UK

    1. Many thanks for reminding me of that Alan!

      I first met Alan in Zambia in 1969, and together we honed our entrepreneurial skills. Keen observers of Zambian life, we had watched with interest the movement of the African population between the various Copperbelt towns. Few of the Africans owned cars, so they made full use of buses and taxis. Taxis were everywhere, rickety vehicles carrying inordinate numbers of passengers. There was money to be made here. All we needed was a good car and a reliable driver and we could then sit back and count each day’s takings.

      Alan had a driver in mind, one of his African workers, who was keen to leave the mine, so we put our meagre savings together and bought a fairly new Nissan station wagon which would more than adequately serve our needs. We planned everything meticulously, possible routes, fares and the commission for the driver, who, having great confidence in us, had given up his mine job.

      The great day dawned, we gave the driver his final briefing, he proudly took his seat in the taxi, drove away, and that was the last we ever saw of him or the car!! Thankfully we had not provided him with an expensive uniform as well.


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