Monday 16 November 2015

MEI Young Person's Award for 2014 to Elizabeth Whiteman

After opening Flotation '15 this morning in Cape Town it was my very pleasant duty to present Elizabeth Whiteman of Xstrata Process Support (XPS) Consulting and Testwork Services, Canada with the MEI Young Person's Award for 2014. This is the fourth year of the award, and it is also good that the first recipient, Peter Amelunxen, of Aminpro, Chile, will be presenting a keynote lecture on Thursday.

Born in June 1982, Elizabeth graduated from the University of Queensland in 2002 with her degree in engineering, majoring in Materials and Metallurgy. From 2003 to 2008, she worked for Intellection Pty Ltd., the manufacturers of QEMSCAN, first in method development, and then as manager of customer support, in which role she travelled internationally providing key training to client sites. She moved to XPS Consulting and Testwork Services, Canada, in January 2009, where she has become a key member of the Process Mineralogy team.

She was nominated for the MEI Award by Dr. Norman Lotter supported by Lori J. Kormos and Virginia Lawson, of XPS. Norman's citation is as follows:

Elizabeth’s experiences with Intellection developed a superior system capability in iDiscover, QEMSCAN’s data analysis software, as well as a strategic level of planning and configuring the QEMSCAN measurement campaigns, with an outstanding ability to work with people across many continents, and to train others in these skills.

She excels at simplifying technical communications at a strategic level. As a result there are many QEMSCAN operators around the world who have received her training at a best practice level. The significance of this is a global empowerment of the next generation of QEMSCAN programmers and users, with associated strategic succession in the use of the technology. Although no longer in this role, her expertise is still sought after by industry peers for support.

With XPS Consulting & Testwork Services, she has continued this best practice. As a member of the Mineral Science team, she has excelled at every aspect of the job, including technical work, project management, marketing of our services, and client interaction. She has particular skill in data modelling where opportunities for plant improvement are quantified. Along with traditional base and precious metal characterization, she has pioneered some of the first mineralogical studies on rare earths to be completed via QEMSCAN, and has developed new sample preparation methods and analyses for the potash industry. These new developments demonstrate her position at the forefront of innovation in mineralogy and QEMSCAN use. She is well respected by every professional with whom she interacts. She is a co-author of the best practices review paper entitled “Modern Sampling and Flotation Testing for Flowsheet Development”, presented to MEI’s Flotation '13 in Cape Town.

Liz has led the set up, data delivery and communication relating to periodic composite monitoring at the Strathcona Concentrator, where she provided valuable mineralogical information based on battery limit sampling. The information was linked back to ore zones in the Ni Rim South Mine, and enabled the concentrator staff to understand not only where problematic ores were located but also the impact of operational strategies to each of the ores that are processed. As a result of the work, the concentrator is able to better predict metallurgy based on short term ore forecasting. Even in performing routine work, Liz has innovated and has increased the value of the data output by providing relevant information and has made the internal project management systems more user friendly.

In addition to mineralogy, she has also contributed to the Materials Science group at XPS and she has developed a growing contribution to the Mineral Processing group, where she has been active in joint project management of major projects such as Ivanplats’ Kamoa copper project, delivering highly efficient scopes, project plans, progress and cost reports, and especially mineralogical assessments that have driven the flowsheet development and variability testing activities. In 2014, she worked on the Phase 6 flowsheet development scope as a core team member. In this role, she led the mineralogical measurement and flowsheet modelling for a simpler and more efficient flowsheet based on the mineralogy of a series of rougher kinetic flotation tests across a wide range of primary grinds. The new flowsheet that was tested on her recommendations made a breakthrough in simplicity and metallurgical performance that is of great significance to the project. Liz is a valued member of the Process Mineralogy team providing peer support and a fresh perspective to our project portfolio and to our valued clients.

The citation is supported by two testimonials:

Paul Gottlieb, former Principal Technologist FEI Natural Resources:

I worked with Elizabeth at both CSIRO and Intellection for about six years from 2002. She was a very fast learner and nothing was too much trouble. She displayed an intelligence, enthusiasm and ability to link process mineralogy to metallurgy and she rose through the ranks rapidly. She was always very happy to share her knowledge through knowledge, patience, excellent communication skills, professional training material and well-conducted training programs. She was a great project manager and audited and established several laboratories both in Australia and internationally. I am very pleased to support Elizabeth’s nomination.

Richard Hogan, former VP Operations, Great Western Minerals Group:

As an integrated Rare Earths processor, Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (GWMG) has worked with Xstrata Process Support for many years. Xstrata has performed mineralogy test work for GWMG on various projects located throughout Canada and the United States. GWMG has been very satisfied with the services delivered by Xstrata’s professional team. They put the customer needs as their first priority, respond in a timely manner to the customer feedback and meet project deadlines within well defined budgets. The mineralogy testing reports from Xstrata have provided valuable guidelines for mineral processing test work and decision making on these projects. Xstrata is GWMG’s first choice for the mineralogy analysis especially when considering the project’s metallurgical challenges. (Note: the work relating to the testimonial was led by Elizabeth).

It is evident that Elizabeth is a very worthy winner of the MEI Award, and has an exciting future ahead of her. Nominations for the 2015 Award should be submitted by February 5th (MEI Online).


  1. Congratulations, Elizabeth; it is indeed an Honour and your work speaks that you richly deserve.
    I am also happy that you are from U.Q.
    Good on you Barry for the platform you created for upcoming mineral engns.

  2. Congratulations Liz! Well done and well deserved.


If you have difficulty posting a comment, please email the comment to and I will submit on your behalf