Sunday, 22 February 2015

In memory of John Meech

While in Denver last week, I was saddened to hear of the untimely death of Dr. John Meech, who for 26 years had been a valued member of the Department of Mining and Mineral Processing Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

A graduate of McGill University and Queen's University, Dr. Meech spent 4 years in Zambia with Roan Consolidated Mines Ltd working on R&D projects in milling and smelting. In 1974, he joined the Mining Department at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario where he conducted research on flotation; processing copper and gold ores; iron ore beneficiation; environmental control and simulation modelling for process control. The last topic evolved into a keen interest in the use and development of Industrial Expert Systems.

Dr. Meech joined the University of British Columbia in 1989, where he continued his work on AI applications. His teaching and professional activities included process control, unit processes and flotation, environmental protection and expert systems and it was his expertise in these areas that led me to invite him to the Editorial Board of Minerals Engineering, on which he served for many years. He authored over 100 technical publications on mineral processing and expert systems. He also enjoyed visiting elementary and secondary schools to talk with students about careers in the Mining industry.

John was also the Director of CERM3  in the Department of Mining Engineering. CERM3 is the Centre for Environmental Research in Minerals, Metals, and Materials. The centre consists of over 30 faculty researchers that include some of Canada's top environmental scientists and engineers working together to address the critical technical challenges in environmental and social issues faced by the Mining Industry in the 21st Century. 

John and his dogs
Although it is many years since I last saw John, he was Amanda's contact in the organisation of the ill-fated Minerals Engineering '01, which was scheduled to be held in Vancouver in September 2001, in collaboration with UBC. Just a week before the start of the conference 9/11 caused the closure of North American airports, and the event had to be cancelled. Amanda remembers him as a big, friendly man who shared a common interest with her- the love of their dogs.

John passed away on February 9th, and we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Elaine and their sons.


  1. Sad news. John was a very close friend of mine. RIP.

  2. On behalf of the International Mineral Processing Council I wish to extend our sincere sympathies to Elaine and family at this time of sadness. I got to know John some years ago when we served together on a Review Panel in Australia. He was a warm and friendly person and an outstanding engineer and academic. RIP.

    Cyril O’Connor, Chairman, IMPC

  3. I had the pleasure to meet John at the beginning of my University carrier during the IPMM events. He was a really nice person and strongly helped me in motivating myself in continuing to do what I did at that time, something “out of the choir”, and that now constitutes the pillars of my research and technical activity.

    I am really sad…

    Giuseppe Bonifazi, University of Rome, Italy


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