Friday, 30 September 2016

New Book: Coal Processing and Utilization

This book is a direct outgrowth of classes that the authors, D.V. Subba Rao and T. Gouricharan, gave over a period of three decades to a university audience taking a Mineral Beneficiation course as a major that included coal processing and utilization. It is designed to be used as a student’s (or layman’s) first introduction to coal processing and utilization, motivating the concepts before illustrating them by means of concrete situations. As such, this book gives an integrated overview of coal processing and utilization along with clean coal technology, presenting all the basic principles, theory and practice in a systematic way. Every topic covered is dealt with in a self-explanatory manner so that any new reader may find this book interesting and easy to understand.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Special Froth Flotation issue of Minerals Engineering published

Flotation '15 was held last November in Cape Town, attended by 241 delegates from 27 countries. A record 163 abstracts were submitted to the conference, of which 116 were selected for presentation, roughly equal numbers via oral and poster presentation. All the papers in the technical sessions, and most of the poster papers are available on flash drive from MEI Online in draft form, and 26 selected papers have been published in Volumes 96-97 (October 2016), a special peer-reviewed issue of Minerals Engineering, edited by Dr. Pablo Brito-Parada of Imperial College, UK.
Delegates at Flotation '15 relax with their families
MEI's Flotation series of conferences are now well established and, together with the Comminution series, are our 'Blue Ribbon' events. We already have a number of sponsors signed up for Flotation '17, so if you would like to be involved, and take advantage of early exposure, please contact us. If you would like to present a paper, abstracts should be submitted by the end of May.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

We welcome TOMS Institute to Comminution '18

It was great to catch up with our old friend Arkady Senchenko at the IMPC in Quebec last week. Arkady is General Director of the TOMS Institute, a Russian company which provides services for mineral deposits development from initial investment to the enterprise ramp up.
TOMS has a big presence these days at all the major minerals conferences, and as a result of our meeting last week have agreed to sponsor Comminution '18, the 4th time that they have sponsored MEI's comminution series.
Arkady (centre) talking to John Starkey, of Comminution '18 sponsor Starkey & Associates at SAG '15 in Vancouver
We look forward to seeing Arkady and his team in Cape Town in March 2018, and no doubt later in the year at the IMPC in Moscow.
Current Comminution '18 sponsors
Twitter @barrywills

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Final reminder- Call for Abstracts for Process Mineralogy '17

Join us at the Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town

Just to remind you that if you would like to present a paper at Process Mineralogy '17 in Cape Town next March, short abstracts should be submitted by the end of next week.

Twitter #ProcessMineralogy17


Outotec continues to support MEI's flotation conferences

It is good to have the continued support of Outotec for the Flotation series of MEI Conferences. We welcome their confirmation of support for Flotation '17. As a global leader in minerals and metals processing technology, Outotec has developed many breakthrough technologies over the decades and has sponsored all the flotation events since 2003 in Helsinki.
Current Flotation '17 sponsors

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Back in Cornwall for the September sundowner

Only a week ago we were in Quebec City for the last day of the IMPC. Now we are back in beautiful Cornwall, which has had a late surge in tourism due to Brexit. The value of sterling has fallen by 10% (a good time for overseas companies to sponsor an MEI Conference!), such that many Brits have decided to holiday in UK and many international tourists are taking advantage of the pound by visiting Britain.
Cornwall has also had a surge due to the BBC screening its 2nd series of Poldark, and there are many visiting the areas where the series has been filmed, particularly the mining areas in west Cornwall.
Wheal Owles, Poldark's Wheal Leisure in the TV series
It was interesting talking to delegates in Canada last week. Many Canadians have visited Europe and the UK, but few ventured into the remote area of Cornwall. A great pity, as although the county is renowned for its mining heritage and its evocative ruined engine houses, it is still a hive of mining activity. The only remaining mines are the china clay operations around St. Austell, but here in west Cornwall there are many service companies, small consultancies, and of course the Camborne School of Mines. Many of these are represented each month at the Cornwall Mining Sundowner, held on the penultimate Thursday of each month, in the summer months in Falmouth's Chain Locker pub, where we get together to ruminate over mining issues and life in general.
Tonight's sundowner was dominated by Camborne School of Mines past and present staff and former students. It was particularly good to see Weiguo Xie at his first sundowner. Weiguo has recently been appointed mineral processing lecturer at CSM and will be involved with research on modelling and simulation. He has a PhD from the old University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), where he was supervised by Jan Cilliers, and also spent 5 years at Australia's JKMRC, during which time we met at Comminution '12 in Cape Town. He is obviously loving living in Falmouth and we hope he becomes one of the sundowner 'regulars'.

Also good to catch up with Chris Bryan, lecturer at CSM and an MEI consultant to Biohydromet '18, mineral processing lecturer Rob Fitzpatrick, who was also in Quebec last week, and Pat Hegarty, mineral processing researcher at CSM. And to make up the mineral processing complement, CSM mineral processing graduates Pete Walsh and Nick Wilshaw.
With CSM mineral processors, Pete, Nick, Weiguo, Rob, Chris and Pat
In the photo below Barbara is chatting with last night's non-mineral processors, including (seated) former CSM mining lecturer Tony Batchelor and former Director Frances Wall, who has just returned from an interesting trip to Mongolia.
So, overseas people, although it is a long journey, I am sure that you will find a trip to Cornwall a rewarding experience, particularly if it coincides with one of our sundowners. Let me know if you are coming down here and I will advise you of the venue. The next sundowner will be October 20th, hopefully at CSM's campus, Penryn.
Twitter @barrywills

Monday, 19 September 2016

XXVIIIth International Mineral Processing Congress- Conference Diary

The Olympic Games in Brazil ended in Rio last month and what is often regarded as the Olympics of mineral processing, the International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC) began on September 11th in Quebec City, the second IMPC to be held in Canada, Toronto in 1982 being the first.
The beautiful old town of Quebec City
This IMPC included COM 2016 which is CIM’s Metallurgy and Materials Society’s (MetSoc) annual conference and included four symposia within the technical programme: the 4th International Symposium on Iron Control in Hydrometallurgy, Electrometallurgy 2016, Rare Earth Elements and Lightweight Metals and Composites.
Unlike the Olympic Games, the IMPC is biennial and two years ago in Chile, the Chairman of the Santiago IMPC, Prof. Jian Yianatos, passed the baton on to Prof. Jim Finch, Chairman of the XXVIII IMPC, organised by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM).
The IMPCs, organised under the auspices of the International Mineral Processing Council (also the IMPC ) have come a long way in terms of quantity since the first one in 1952 in London, with its 39 technical papers and 332 delegates; Quebec had 1487 delegates from 58 countries, making it the largest ever, with around 650 oral and poster presentations scheduled.
I have been at every IMPC since 1988 in Stockholm, apart from Rome in 2000 where Amanda represented MEI. Until 2003 the IMPCs had tended to be rather stiff formal affairs, but Cape Town in 2003 was a watershed where, under the Chairmanship of Prof. Cyril O'Connor (now Chairman of the IMPC Council), informal social events became important features, a template which has since been adopted by many other conferences (including MEI Conferences).
MEI has been a media partner for all IMPCs since 2003, and the importance of the events to us as great networking opportunities is evident by the whole team being in Canada for what we hope will be a very productive and enjoyable week, and it is news of people that I shall be reporting on, rather than technical content, which would be impossible considering the number of papers scheduled for presentation. All the technical papers were available to delegates on USB, and in 6 months time will be generally available on OneMine.
IMPCs mean different things to different people, so as always I invite all who attended to submit their own views and highlights.
Sunday 11th September
Most of the delegates registered today prior to this evening's short opening ceremony, followed by a reception in the exhibition area.
Chairman Jim Finch welcomes delegates
This gave everyone a chance to visit the 82 exhibition booths, many not what we are used to seeing at mineral processing conferences, as the Expo and Congress is shared with the Annual Conference of Metallurgists, which encompasses all branches of metallurgy. This was a very dynamic 3 hours of networking, and we were pleased to talk to many people in our MEI booth, some familiar and many new faces.
Yesterday I was at nearby Laval University (posting of 10th September), which has a sizeable number of students from Iran. It was nice to talk to one of them this evening, Dariush Azizi, who is working on rare earths at Laval for his PhD.
A familiar face from Iran was that of Samad Banisi, of Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, who has seven papers at the Congress, five of which he will be presenting and two by his students who are accompanying him. In the photo below Samad is talking to MEI's Jon Wills and Fatai Ikumapayi, of Snaab Consulting, Sweden.
Jon is also seen below talking to our old friend Kari Heiskanen, now Emeritus Professor of Aalto University, Finland, and an advisor to Outotec. He is now Chair of the IMPC Council's Sustainability Commission, so I am sure that he will be in Namibia in 2018 for MEI's Sustainable Minerals '18.
Outotec sponsored this year's Sustainable Minerals conference in Falmouth, and I called at their booth to see three of their representatives, Robert Wakefield (left), Kati Tavilahti and Liisa Haavanlammi (right) talking to Amanda Mellek and Marcelo Perrucci of ABB, Switzerland.
In the next booth another ABB delegate, Davide Andreo (right) was chatting to FLSmidth representatives Phil Thompson, Dave Rose and Garret Barthold.
In the University of Cape Town booth I caught up with Norman Lotter, formerly with Xstrata Process Support, Canada, who has now set up his own company, Flowsheets Metallurgical Consulting, and we wish him well with this new venture. 
Norman Lotter with UCT's Belinda McFadzean, Jenny Wiese, Heather Sundstrum and Kirsten Corin
Back at the MEI booth Amanda and Jon were chatting to Mary Stewart of Energetics, Australia and a director of the Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution (CEEC), industry advocate for Comminution '18. Mary will be making a presentation in Tuesday's plenary session.
One of Comminution '18 sponsors is Starkey & Associates of Canada, and John Starkey called in to talk to us and Dave Meadows, formerly with FLSmidth, now with Bechtel, USA. Dave was one of my past students, graduating from Camborne School of Mines in 1985.
Jon, John and Dave
A more recent CSM man is Hugo Staton, seen talking to Amanda and Barbara below. Hugo graduated in 2011 with an MSc in minerals engineering and is already senior metallurgist at the Eagle Cu-Ni mine in Michigan.
There are well over 100 delegates from China at the conference, and representatives from Central South University, regular attendees at MEI Conferences, are seen below in the MEI booth.

Amanda with Jim Finch, Jan Cilliers and Randolph Pax
Amanda and Jon with Jacques Eksteen and Dave Deglon
The BRICS Multilateral Pilot Call is a joint proposal developed under the theme of Water Management. ICEMR-RAS (Russia), IISc (India), BGRIMM (China) and CMR-UCT (South Africa) have partnered in an attempt to understand the effect of water quality on flotation outcomes. IMPC Council Chairman Cyril 'O'Connor is pictured at the UCT booth with members of this initiative.
Perhaps the most intensively researched area in mineral processing some 30 years ago was column flotation, and everyone involved in that area would have had a copy of the eponymous 1990 textbook by Jim Finch and Glen Dobby. I had not seen Glen for many years, so it was good to catch up with them both outside the exhibition area.
And so ended a most enjoyable first evening at the conference, and hopefully more productive networking to come tomorrow.
Monday 12th September
The Congress was officially opened very early this morning by Lise Bujold, CIM Director of Events, the Chairman of the IMPC Council, Cyril O'Connor, and Jim Finch the General Chairman of the Congress. Jim emphasised the strong association with the Canadian Mineral Processors (CMP), which has brought practitioners as well as researchers into the broad technical programme for the congress.
Cyril expressed his pleasure on the number of people, almost 1500, who are at the conference, remarkable during this period of depression in the mining industry. He stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum of innovation and recruitment of people into the industry, in readiness for the inevitable upturn in the industry. He felt privileged to open the conference in Canada, one of the great mining countries.
Each morning there is a 90 minute plenary session, a splendid idea as each of these is of generic interest. This morning Jan Cilliers of Imperial College, UK, moderated a panel discussion on Emerging Young Leaders, with panellists Steven Bowles, Manager, Mining Operations and Technical Services at Glencore Raglan, Jennifer Abols, Corporate Technical Services Manager, Lundin Mining UK Ltd, Scott Martin, Sales & Marketing Director, Progressive Rubber, and Pablo Brito-Parada, Research Fellow at Imperial College and Associate Editor of Minerals Engineering.
Pablo, Jennifer, Steven, Jan and Scott
Steven talked about the skills that are required for the next 20 years, particularly in automation, safety and risk assessment. Jennifer's theme was mentoring, and the mentors that she has had in her career, and she raised some key points, importantly being given the opportunity to fail and to learn from that.
Scott introduced the topic of leadership in mining, linking closely with mentoring, and he made the point that change comes from leadership, not management.
Finally, Pablo, who I work closely with on Minerals Engineering, discussed professional bodies and their impact. Pablo is now in charge of the IMPC Council's Young Leaders Group.
Each of the presentations was followed by questions from the audience and ended with open discussion. This was an excellent and stimulating start to the Congress and showed that leadership of our industry in the future is in great hands, and we must do all that we can to support and encourage them.
After a short break delegates dispersed into their respective specialist areas for technical presentations in 11 parallel sessions. I wandered over to our booth for hopefully another useful day's networking.
And it was a good day, with a regular stream of traffic around the booths, particularly during the long lunch break and the afternoon break in the Expo area.
It was good to see our old friends from the University of Lorraine, France, Lev Filippov and his wife Inna Filippova, and Saeed Farrokhpay, who are hoping to contribute four papers to Flotation '17.
Jon with Lev, Inna and Saeed
As everyone knows the two major mining schools in the world are CSMs and the photo below shows Barbara and me with two well known Colorado SOM professors, Erik Spiller and Corby Anderson. On the left, and attending her first conference, is Camilla Owens, who is working on her PhD on rare earths at Camborne SOM. Camilla will be working at Colorado with Corby for 5 weeks from November as part of the association between the two CSMs. Interestingly Corby's son, Caelen, has an MSc from Camborne and a PhD from Colorado.
Camilla, Erik, and Corby with Barbara and me
MEI hope to be very much involved with the XXIXth IMPC, which will be held in Moscow in two years time, and IMPC Council Chairman Cyril O'Connor introduced me to Svetlana Plieva and Olga Kapchinskaya, of Mako, the Russian company who will organise the Congress infrastructure.
I am sure Russian company TOMS will play an active part in the Moscow Congress, and it was good to catch up with Arkady Senchenko and his colleagues Aleksandr Aksenov and Anna Dergacheva, who were in their booth talking to Adrian Singh of Gold Ore, South Africa.
Aleksandr, Adrian, Anna and Arkady
And then a stroll around to take a look at other booths in the exhibition, before everything closed down at the 5pm deadline.
MBE Coal & Minerals Technology
Cytec Solvay Group
Starkey & Associates
Tuesday 13th September
Prior to this morning's plenary, chairman Donald Leroux paid tribute to one of Canada's great mineral processing researchers, the late Prof. Gilles Barbery, who died in October 1989. I met Gilles for the first time in 1986 when it was a natural choice to invite him to Falmouth, Cornwall, to make a presentation on processing options for complex sulphide ores at the NATO Advanced Study Institute Minerals Processing at a Crossroads.

Talking to Gilles Barbery (3rd right) and others at Camborne School of Mines, 1986
Energy was the subject of this morning's plenary, with two presentations, the first by Mary Stewart of Energetics, who showed that, as global commodity prices remain low and are showing limited signs of recovery, companies need to remove further costs from their operations. The presentation included observations and recommendations on how minerals processing research might better address energy cost reduction.
In the second presentation Andrew Cooper of New Gold Inc, the Association of Energy Engineers "International Energy Manager of the Year" discussed the secret of successful energy management.
Once again, after the plenaries, the sessions split into 11 parallel sessions. It's a shame that the exhibition ends today, as there was a good flow of people around the booths, which provided focal points for meetings and informal chats.
Jaako Leppinen, Courtney Young and Cyril O'Connor
With Rama Murthy Yanamandra and Sunil Kumar Tripathy of Tata Steel, India
Juan Yianatos and John Monhemius


Amanda and Jon with Chris and Liza Pickles

Jon with Johnson Matthey representatives
With Xuming Wang and Jan Miller
Cindy Herbst, Amanda, Romke Kuyvenhoven, John Herbst and Osvaldo Bascur
The high number of Chinese delegates was again in evidence, and in the booth opposite us, UCT's Dave Deglon and Aubrey Mainza were discussing collaboration with China's Central South University.
We had a pleasant chat with Colin Jiang, of China Equipment Association, Vancouver, and Candy Nan of Bao Ji Special Steel Titanium Industry, China.
There are a number of Chinese companies exhibiting, three of which are manufacturers of magnetic separation technology.
SLon Magnetic Separator Ltd is well known to us, as the company sponsors the magnetic separation pages of MEI Online.
With Zheng Heng and Chen Jinwei of SLon
It was good to meet representatives from LONGi Magnetic Co Ltd and Huate Magnet, who expressed great interest in involvement in next year's Physical Separation '17.
Nag Nagaraj (right) of Cytec at the LONGi booth
Jon with Huate representatives
Perhaps the most well known magnetic separation technology supplier in the western world is Eriez, but they do so much more than magnetic separators. Eriez's HydroFloat™ Technology” was the first fluidised-bed coarse particle flotation recovery system, patented in 2002. Its ability to recover particles up to and exceeding 3 mm has re-shaped the industrial minerals market. It is now being applied to the sulphides and base metal markets where there are numerous benefits, not just in reducing capital and operating costs, but also for improving sustainability and environmental efforts, and Mike Mankosa, Eriez Executive Vice President of Global Technology is presenting three technical papers at the congress, focused on various coarse particle flotation applications and benefits of the HydroFloat™ Separator. The greater benefit of this approach is that the amount of grinding and comminution is radically reduced. Simulations show that energy consumption can be reduced by 50-75 percent. Additionally, mill throughput capacity can be increased by at least 25 percent with an improved IRR or net present value.
Mike Mankosa (3rd left) with colleagues at the Eriez booth
Jon at the Huntsman booth
Amanda with Multotec delegates
Aminpro director Roger Amelunxen (2nd left) chatting with potential clients
Representatives form the SME's Mineral Processing Division
Amanda at the CITIC-HIC booth
Zeiss is one of the most pro-active of all the leading automated mineralogy specialists, which contributes greatly to the company's now high profile in the minerals industry. Zeiss has great exposure at all the major mineral processing conferences, including MEI Conferences, and often runs associated workshops. During today's lunch break, Mining & Geoscience Applications Specialist Shaun Graham gave a short presentation in the Zeiss booth on increasing plant performance through on-site mineralogical analysis.
Amanda with Zeiss's Shaun Graham and Stephen Wood

There was also much activity around the student poster displays during the lunch break, as judging was taking place. It was good to see the poster session chairman, Ahmet Deniz Bas, of Laval University, with his 2016 Gordon M. Ritcey Award from Metsoc, for outstanding accomplishments in the pursuit of a graduate degree in hydrometallurgy.
The final session of the day was an invitation to the IMPC Open Forum, where reports on the various commissions were presented. Unfortunately to only around 40 delegates, however, as there was a clash with the optional dinner cruise on the St. Lawrence River, and the student mixer session, where Laurence Whitby-Leveille of Laval University was presented with the best poster prize.
At the forum it was announced that bids for the 2022 IMPCs had been shortlisted to Poland, USA, London and Melbourne, and that the venue for the 2020 IMPC is Cape Town. Congratulations to Dave Deglon, who will be chairman of the XXXth IMPC, and his UCT team.
The UCT team
Immediately following the forum was a one hour cultural reception to introduce us to local Quebec products, entertainment and musicians, and a signing of copies of Mineral Processing Technology by me and Jim Finch!

Wednesday 14th September
The plenary began with a tribute to the late Prof. Roberto Villas-Boas (obituary of 16th June 2016), who shortly before his death was informed that he would be presented with the IMPC's coveted Distinguished Service Award. In a ceremony in Rio de Janeiro this week, the tribute scroll was passed to his daughter, Hariessa. The photo below, taken in front of the recently named Roberto Villas-Boas auditorium, shows Dr. Francisco Hollanda, Dr. Carlos Peiter, Hariessa Villas-Bôas and Professor Fernando Lins, current director of CETEM.
The theme of the plenary was Innovations and Breakthroughs, with two presentations, the first by Barun Gorain of Barrick Gold, who was actually a student at Indian School of Mines when I taught a course in mineral processing way back in 1989! Barun reviewed the innovations and breakthroughs in mineral processing that have shaped the existing mining industry. Much of the waste that is currently generated in mining operations is intrinsically valuable and could be used to extract subsidiary values, be used as material for building construction etc, and Barun concluded by emphasising that we need a paradigm shift in thinking, towards a circular economy. Which of course is one of the main themes of MEI's Sustainable Minerals '18.
In the second presentation Donald Sadoway of Massachusetts Institute of Technology discussed electrochemical pathways towards sustainability. He showed how the road to sustainability is paved with electrochemical technology. Whether it be the problem of intermittency in the generation of electricity by renewable sources such as wind or solar or the problem of the carbon intensity associated with metals production, e.g., iron making in the blast furnace and aluminium smelting in the Hall-Héroult cell, electrochemical technologies can enable radical innovation in concert with sustainable development.
Following the short break it was back to 11 parallel sessions, but due to closing of the exhibition yesterday much of the focus for networking was lost, a great shame as many of the exhibitors felt that the Expo was building up momentum towards its close. In all my many years of attending IMPCs this is the first time that I have known the exhibition to close at the end of the 2nd day, leaving a void for the final two days. It would be interesting to know what the reasoning was behind this.
I decided to take a look at the session Adapting Curriculum in the Face of Change, as I felt that there would be a sizeable audience to hear what the always impressive Diana Drinkwater had to say about the IMPC's Education Commission study on guidelines for mineral processing curricula in the 21st century. There were 10 presentations in this all day session, which ended with Diana moderating a panel discussion, with panelists Hu Yuehua of Central South University, China, Pradip of Tata Steel, India, Barun Gorain of Barrick Gold, Bern Klein of University of British Columbia, Robin Batterham of University of Melbourne and Aubrey Mainza of University of Cape Town.
I will not try to report on this all day event, as an IMPC Symposium Volume will be published next year and details will be announced on the IMPC website.
The Banquet and Awards Ceremony was also held in the Convention Centre and this excellent evening of good food and great company gave us the chance to get back into networking mode. Among the people that we caught up with during the pre-drinks reception were John Goode, of JR Goode and Associates, Canada, and his wife Evelyn. John is chairman of the rare earths symposium, and was very interested in our planned Rare Earths '19 in Namibia.
BW, Evelyn and John Goode, Barbara, Kathryn Hadler and Jon

With students from USA
Kathryn Hadler, Courtney Young and Camilla Owens
The highlight of the banquet of course was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Awards to Profs. Graeme Jameson and Ponisseril Somasundaran (full details on posting of 15th September), and to the 10 young people selected for the IMPC Young Authors Awards.
Flanked by Profs. Jim Finch and Cyril O'Connor are (right to left) Thomas Leibner, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany; Ryan Maclver, The University of British Columbia, Canada; Riddhika Jain, Outotec USA Inc., USA; Sebastien Humphrey, Cameco Corporation, Canada; Gde Pandhe Wisnu, Kyushu University, Japan; Jestos Taguta, Centre for Minerals Research, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Xingrong Zhang, Beijing General Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, China; Julian Heizmann, CRONIMET Mining Processing, Germany; Charlotte Gibson, Queen's University, Canada;
Laura Sinclair; Cornell University (USA)

Thursday 15th September
The final plenary began with John Monhemius of Imperial College, UK, giving a brief history of the struggle of hydrometallurgists with iron, reviewing the history of modern iron control processes in hydrometallurgy. He argued that any attempt to create a "hydrometallurgical copper smelter" is doomed to ultimate failure, unless and until methods are developed that can recover iron from solution in a form that can be directly utilised by the steel or pigment industries.
This was followed by presentations by last night's Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Prof. Somasundaran's theme was Water water every mine, but not a drop to waste, emphasising that the number one problem in mining is water, its consumption, waste and pollution.
Prof. Jameson's talk, Flotation - a fable for the future, featured reduction of costs by floating coarse particles in his patented NovaCell fluidised bed flotation cell. These machines could reduce energy and grinding media costs by around 30% if placed between SAG and ball mills in a comminution circuit.
This highlighted the need for mineral processors of all disciplines to work together, but ironically after his talk the programme split into parallel sessions again, only 5 today, but nevertheless confining specialists to their respective enclaves for the rest of the day, reducing interdisciplinary interaction.
Parallel sessions are always a major concern and criticism of IMPCs (and SMEs), but in fairness they are an inevitable consequence of large numbers. Over the years the Congresses have grown in size, with each one trying to outdo the previous in terms of overall numbers. Fine, as the more the merrier, as first and foremost the IMPCs are the premier networking events, bringing mineral processors of all disciplines together to encourage debate and some lateral thinking. It is good, for instance, for comminution and flotation specialists to meet, as problems in either of these areas often affects the other.
But here is the great IMPC dilemma. Many people, particularly academics, can only receive funding to attend events such as these if they are presenting a paper, so in order to attain high numbers, many papers must be accepted, some it has to be said of rather dubious quality. At this Congress over 600 papers were accepted, and in order to accommodate them, many parallel sessions were timetabled, sometimes with up to 11 sessions. What this means is that mineral processors of all disciplines are being brought together and then being segregated again into their specialties. Comminution for instance was run in parallel with flotation, and even flotation scientists were often split into fundamentals and applications. I doubt whether many comminution experts attended the flotation sessions, or vice-versa.
There is no easy answer to this, but here is a suggestion, some food for thought. There were about 100 poster presentations at this IMPC, many fewer than oral presentations. I know from experience that, just as many people cannot obtain funding without a presentation, in many cases the presentation is required to be oral. But what if all presentations were by poster? Why not have only plenary sessions each day, along the lines of the generic presentations and panel discussions we have had this week, and then split the poster presentations into around 150 each day? Delegates could then mingle and view the posters and talk to the authors at leisure, and authors would have 3 free days to do likewise. Would it work? Maybe not, but let's have your views, authors.
As there was no lunch provided today, we, and many others, took the opportunity of exploring the beautiful old city and eating at one of the many restaurants.
Back at the Congress, the late afternoon closing ceremony provided a last chance to mingle and say our goodbyes. But this session was mainly about looking forward to Russia, and the XXIXth IMPC, which will be held in Moscow from September 18-21, 2018.
Delegates of Russian origin pictured with Jim Finch and Cyril O'Connor, and Alexander Dorchiev,
Russian Ambassador to Canada (3rd left front row)
Finally, to wind up the Quebec IMPC, there was the symbolic handing over of the baton from Jim Finch to Valentine Chanturiya, the Chairman of the Moscow IMPC.
Jim and Valentina with Svetlana Plieva of organising company Mako
Putting a conference of this size together is a mammoth task so I thank and congratulate Jim Finch, the CIM and the whole team for their efforts, and we now look forward to Moscow in two years time.
IMPC Council Chairman Cyril O'Connor congratulates Jim Finch and
CIM Director of Events, Lise Bujold on the success of the XXVIIIth IMPC
So once again, if you attended the event, we would very much appreciate your views, highlights and any criticisms which could help in the organisation of future Congresses.
Twitter @barrywills