Sunday, 31 March 2019

A great buzz about Cornwall at the CSM Annual Dinner

Around 350 Camborne School of Mines old boys and girls, current students, and a few past and present members of staff attended last night's Camborne School of Mines (CSM) Annual Dinner at the Falmouth Hotel.
I'm always amazed at how many of the alumni travel from as far away as Australia to be at this event, a testament to the pride and loyalty that they have for CSM. I wonder if alumni from other great mining schools have the same sense of allegiance? I certainly feel nothing like this for my alma mater, Leeds University. 
Last night there was a general buzz about the resurgence of the mining industry, particularly regarding the renaissance which is taking place in this great old mining province of Cornwall. The guest speaker was Vancouver-based Richard Williams, CEO of Strongbow's South Crofty Project. He spoke not only of the reopening of the old South Crofty tin mine, but also the great potential of the Redmoor Sn-W-Cu project, and Cornish Lithium's search for lithium in the hot geothermal brines lying deep within and around the Cornish granite (more in the posting of 27th February). Richard highlighted that tin has now become "the glue which holds the hi-tech world together".  He is photographed below with Nick Clarke (CSM graduate 1974), and Nick Wilshaw (1980).
Nick Clarke, Nick Wilshaw, Richard Williams and me
There are now some dynamic mineral processing companies in Cornwall, and none more so than Nick Wilshaw's rapidly expanding Grinding Solutions Ltd (GSL). Now familiar faces at all MEI Conferences - they are regular sponsors of the comminution series-  Managing Director Nick and his wife Flee, a fellow Director of GSL, are actively involved in all areas of mineral processing. In the last few months they have added to an already extensive leaching capability and commissioned a new versatile comminution rig which can be used for a range of tests including the DRA Grindmill Test. Flash flotation and further gravity separation kit are also arriving soon. Nick was recently appointed as a Director of Australian-based Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution, an industry advocate for MEI's Comminution '20 conference in Cape Town and the Cornwall-based Physical Separation '19 and Sustainable Minerals '20 conferences.
It was also great to see Peter Hackett last night. He was Principal of CSM for most of my 22 years at the School, and he is photographed below with GSL's Flee Wilshaw and past graduate Pete Taylor.
As always, a wonderful evening, and many thanks to Chris Kitchen of the CSM Association for outstanding organisation.
Twitter @barrywills

Thursday, 28 March 2019

MEI joins forces with IMFORMED

We are pleased to announce a collaborative initiative with IMFORMED, a UK company providing, like MEI, a source of information, research, and networking events for the industrial minerals business, which includes mineral processing as a major sector.
Four years ago Mike O’Driscoll, former Editor, then Global Head of Research, at Industrial Minerals magazine, launched IMFORMED with Ismene Clarke, former Head of Sales at Industrial Minerals magazine. Very much like MEI, IMFORMED also organises international conferences and the collaborative media partnership will actively promote the respective conferences.
MEI is currently acting as media partner for IMFORMED's Rendezvous 2019 conference, while IMFORMED is a media partner for Physical Separation '19, Flotation '19 and Comminution '20.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Summer and winter hiking in Switzerland's Jungfrau Region

We are back in Cornwall after a great week hiking in Switzerland's Jungfrau Region. We have been there a number of times, skiing in winter and hiking in summer, but this was our first time hiking in winter, and ironically it was a lot harder than skiing, which we have given up due to wear and tear!
So beautiful is this region that it has inspired me to write a short travelogue for the benefit of blog readers who might wish to visit this area, a jewel in the Swiss Alps, but a very expensive one- expect to pay roughly twice the price you would pay in UK for drinks, meals etc.
We made full use of our non-ski passes, which gave us unlimited access to the major cable cars and the superb Wengernalp mountain railway, which runs between the villages of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, via Wengen and the Kleine Scheidegg, a mountain pass between the Lauberhorn and the Eiger. This must surely rank as one of the world's greatest short rail journeys, despite the train being 3 seconds late one day!
Wengen Train Station
Wengen Train Station
We were based in Wengen, famous for its views of the  4158m Jungfrau, and for the Lauberhorn, the longest of the World Cup downhill skiing events.
Wengen, Switzerland, Bernese Oberland
Wengen, with the Jungfrau on the left
If you are into hiking, then these are our favourites of the many routes available, with photos taken last week and also on our summer visits.
Mannlichen to the Kleine Scheidegg pass
The cable car in the centre of Wengen (1274m) whisked us up to Mannlichen (2343m) and the start of a wonderful 6km hike to the Kleine Scheidegg (2061m), which took us two and a half hours last week in the snow along the well-groomed walking trail. The mountain views are spectacular, and arriving at Kleine Scheidegg, a cold beer at the 19th century Hotel Bellevue des Alpes, at the foot of the north face of the Eiger, was more than welcome.
Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
Kleine Scheidegg, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
Kleine Scheidegg
Skiing, 1961
From Kleine Scheidegg you can travel by an amazing rail journey through a tunnel cut in the early 1900s through the Eiger and Monch to Jungfraujoch,  a saddle at 3466 m connecting the highest peaks in the region, the Monch and the Jungfrau. The railway station is the highest in Europe, and it was at Jungfraujoch that I firsted skied, in 1961, during my school's visit to nearby Interlaken. It would be 29 years before I skied again!
The first station en route from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch, Eigergletscher, is the beginning of the famous Eiger trail, open in the summer months, a moderately difficult 6km hike along the base of the north face of the Eiger.
Jungfraujoch train, Bernese Oberland
En route to Eigergletscher, summer 2010
Eiger trail, Bernese Oberland, Jungfrau region, Switzerland
Eiger trail, 2010
Eiger trail, Bernese Oberland, Jungfrau region, Switzerland
Eiger Trail, 2010
Although Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is not a long walk, it was quite tough in the snow, and ski poles are recommended in winter. We decided to take the train back to Wengen, rather than the long walk back which we did in the summer of 2010: 
Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen walk, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen walk, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
The Wasserstation tunnel, one of the most frightening parts of the World Cup Lauberhorn ski run,
where the racers pass under the tunnel at around 100 km/h
Above Grindelwald
Grindelwald, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
The village of Grindelwald is, at 1034m, the terminus on the train line from Lauterbrunnen. In the summer of 2010 we took the cable car to Pfingstegg, then had a gruelling 2 hour walk to Baregg, with its great views of the rapidly receding Schreckhorn glacier. 
Last week we took the long gondola ride to First (2167 m), and then the undulating 6km hike to Lake Bachalpsee, an easy walk in summer, but a bit more demanding in the winter snow, especially in the downhill sections. 
First to Lake Bachalpsee, Grindelwald
There is little evidence of a lake in winter, but in summer this is one of the most photographed lakes in the alps, with its backdrop of the sharp jagged peaks of the Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn and Finsteraarhorn.
By the shore of Lake Bachalpsee
Lake Bachalpsee, Switzerland
From the lake the path leads to the Faulhorn (2681m) and then on to Schynige Platte. Unfortunately the 16km trail from First to Schynige Platte, one of the great alpine hikes, is only open in summer as the cog railway from Schynige Platte down to Wilderswil does not operate in winter. 
Schynige Platte, Switzerland
Looking down on Lake Brienz from Schynige Platte, 2010

Lauterbrunnen and Murren
The cogs on the cog railway really come into play on the steep descent from Wengen to the little village of Lauterbrunnen, but when snow free there is also an easy 1km walk down to the village. 
Walking from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen, 2002

Lauterbrunnen, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
The Lauterbrunnen Valley is a geologists dream. Thick beds of Jurassic limestone were deposited as calcareous mud around 140 million years ago, and the Alps began to form about 35 million years ago, when the African tectonic plate forced its way into the more stable tectonic plates of Europe and Asia. These mighty tectonic forces twisted and contorted the rocks, which have been exposed in the steep walls of the valley, which were carved out by glacial action during the last ice age.
The walk through the valley to the Trummelbach falls is an easy 3km in summer and winter. It is a valley of 72 waterfalls, falling from the 450m walls, the most famous being the Trummelbach Falls, which are fed by glacial waterfalls inside the mountain. The Trummelbach drains the glaciers of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains and carries 20,200 tonnes of eroded sediment per year. Trummelbach is a series of ten waterfalls inside the mountain made accessible by a tunnel-funicular and stairs, built 1913, which is open only in the summer months. 
Walking in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, 2002
The Trummelbach Falls
Just opposite Lauterbrunnen station is the cable car up to Grutschalp, which is 6.5 km from Murren, either by a regular mountain train, or via an easy walking trail affording spectacular views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.
Grutschalp to Murren, Bernese Oberland, Swizerland

Grutschalp to Murren, Bernese Oberland, Swizerland
Grutschalp to Murren
Murren, Bernese Oberland, Swizerland
The tiny village of Murren is within touching distance of the Jungfrau, but is famous for being at the foot of the Schilthorn (2970m), the location for the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. If you are a Bond fan then you may wish to join the long queues for the two cable cars which take you up to the summit, and Piz Gloria, the revolving restaurant which, during its construction in 1968 was used as the HQ of the evil SPECTRE organisation in the movie.
Piz Gloria, Schilthorn
Apart from the spectacular views there is also an exhibition of the making of the movie, and the impact that it had on the small Murren community.
Schilthorn, Murren, Switzerland
Panoramic views from the Schilthorn
The town of Interlaken is the gateway to the Jungfrau region, and it is worth spending a few hours in this town of elegant Victorian hotels, situated between two large lakes, Thun to the west and Brienz in the east. On our final afternoon last Friday, we took the train from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken Ost, and then strolled along the bank of the River Aare, which separates the two lakes. 
And then back to Wengen to enjoy the last view of sunset on the Jungfrau. 
In summary, although the winter hiking is good it does not compare with that in summer, where there are more options available, such as walking down wide alpine meadows, many of which are winter ski runs. 
So for any MEI Conference delegate wishing to do something special in Europe after, hopefully, spending some time in Cornwall, I would thoroughly recommend June or July in Switzerland's Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland.
There are many tour operators who can help you travel to the region. We chose the excellent Inghams. We travelled by train from Falmouth to Bristol (Temple Meads) and flew from Bristol to Geneva, where the Inghams coach transferred us to Lauterbrunnen, and the short train journey to Wengen. Our accommodation in Wengen was at the impressive Beauside Park Hotel, looking down on the village and the backdrop of the Jungfrau. Returning to Bristol, the train to Taunton will take you to the main line back to London.
If this posting persuades you to visit this wonderful German speaking area of Switzerland, please share your experiences via comments on this posting. Enjoy your visit. I'm sure you will.
Twitter @barrywills

Friday, 22 March 2019

Recent comments

There have been comments on the following postings since the last update:

The importance of mineral processing: the message just isn't getting through
Should journal reviewers be rewarded for their efforts?
Ying Gu, 1956-2019
The MEI Blog: 10 years old today
Chris Rule to present keynote lecture at Comminution '20
SME Annual Meeting 2019, Denver: mineral processing aspects
Cornwall's submarine mines
Prof. Frances Wall receives prestigious award
Froth Flotation. Why is it still so intensively researched?
In conversation with IMPC chairman Cyril O'Connor

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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Wanted: Anecdotes and photos- Janusz Laskowski

It's been a while since I last conducted an interview in the In Conversation With series, but at the SME Conference in Denver Prof. Janusz Laskowski, one of the most well known figures in flotation, agreed to be my next interviewee.
Many of you will have worked with Janusz during his long and distinguished career, and if you would like to share your experiences I would be very grateful if you could contact me. Photos would particularly be appreciated.


Sunday, 17 March 2019

A break in the Swiss Alps

Barbara and I are taking a break this week in one of the loveliest areas on earth, the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland, which I would highly recommend to any MEI Conference delegate planning to visit Europe after a Falmouth conference.
We are staying in the car-free village of Wengen, which is a winter wonderland at the moment, but is equally magical in summer (postings of 25 June 2010 and 1 July 2010). Wengen is famous for its  view of the 4158 m high Jungfrau, and the longest World Cup downhill skiing run, the Lauberhorn, and we have skied in this area a couple of times. But our skiing days are now over, so this week, as we did in the summer of 2010, we will be hiking and making use of the fabulous Wengernalp mountain railway, which runs between the villages of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, via Wengen and the Kleine Scheidegg, a mountain pass between the Lauberhorn and the mighty Jungfrau and Eiger.

This was the view of the Jungfrau yesterday evening from the window of our hotel room.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Memories of Gravity '99, Amsterdam

Physical Separation '19, the 5th in the series, begins in Falmouth in 3 months time. Twenty years ago today the first physical separation conference organised by MEI began in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
This two day event was Gravity '99, held at the Renaissance Hotel, in the centre of Amsterdam. Sponsored by Knelson Concentrators and Holman-Wilfley UK Ltd, the symposium was attended by 30 high profile gravity separation specialists from 12 countries, representing Australia, Africa, Asia, North America and Europe.
Unfortunately I have only a couple of photos from the event. Below, Mike Hallewell, then with Holman-Wilfley, is at the Wilfley booth with Amanda Wills. Sorry, I can't remember the name of the man 3rd left, but on the far right is Richard Burt, of Cabot Mineral Development, Canada, who reviewed the role of gravity concentration in modern mineral processing plants in his keynote lecture. I would love to know where Richard is now, as it has been a while since we last met. Mike Hallewell, I am pleased to say, will be at Physical Separation '19, representing MPH Mineral Consultants, UK. Holman-Wilfley is a sponsor of the Falmouth conference.
Richard's keynote was followed by 18 papers dealing with Plant Practice, Classification and Dewatering, Gravity Concentrators and Optimisation and Control, describing the utilisation of gravity techniques not only in mainstream mineral processing, but also in diverse areas such as soil remediation and the recovery of gold from jewellery waste.
In the picture below Peter Davies explains the S-W Minerals Spiral to Hylke Glass (2nd left) and others (names unknown).
It would be great to hear from any of you who were there so many years ago.
Twitter @barrywills

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Computational Modelling '19 and Physical Separation '19: provisional programmes now available

The National Maritime Museum, overlooking Falmouth's large natural harbour, will be the venue for Computational Modelling '19 and Physical Separation '19, which run back to back beginning on June 11th, a great time to be in beautiful Cornwall.
Falmouth's National Maritime Museum (photo Bob Berry)
Computational Modelling is one of MEI's smaller, highly specialised conferences, and the provisional timetable includes a keynote lecture by Dr. Paul Cleary, of CSIRO, Australia, a renowned international expert on modelling of mineral processing systems.
There has been a record number of papers submitted to Physical Separation '19, the 5th in this series, and the very full technical programme reflects the increasing interest and use of physical separation methods in the mining industry.
For almost 40 years engineers have explored opportunities for using microwave energy to improve the efficiency of mineral and metallurgical processes, but while the mechanistic principles are well established, the scientific and engineering challenges of developing a commercial scale system have been immense. However, recent work has shown for the first time that microwave technology can be used in commercial mineral processing plants and that it can be used at significant scale with several of the largest microwave processing plants ever built being applied. We are fortunate to have the team leader, Prof. Sam Kingman, of the University of Nottingham, UK, give a keynote lecture which will draw conclusions as to the steps required to see this technology in daily use across our industry - a time which he feels may be sooner than some workers may have previously thought!
This is a conference not to be missed if you are interested in microwave applications, ore sorting, gravity and magnetic separation, sizing and classification, and dewatering. There will be well over 40 papers presented, with authors from over 20 countries. The strong corporate support reflects the interest in this event.
At the end of the first day of each conference there will be a guided 3 mile walk along Falmouth's beautiful coast line, passing the great Tudor Pendennis Castle and the Falmouth Docks, to welcome real Cornish ale in the famous 17th century Chain Locker Inn.
Physical Separation '17 delegates at the Fal estuary
Relaxing at the Chain Locker
At the end of Physical Separation '19 there will be an optional visit to the ruins of the 19th century tin and copper mine at Wheal Peevor, and on the Saturday delegates are invited to a Walking with Poldark tour along the north Cornwall tin mining coast, organised by Cornish Lithium Ltd.
The popular Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival also begins on the final day of Physical Separation '19, so the town will be busy that week, so we recommend that you reserve your accommodation early.
See #ComputationalModelling 19 and #PhysicalSeparation19 for the latest updates. We look forward to seeing you in Falmouth in June.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Prof. Frances Wall receives prestigious award

Appropriately on International Women's Day, I would like to offer, on behalf of MEI, many congratulations to Frances Wall, a Professor of Applied Mineralogy at the Camborne School of Mines, and a former Director of CSM, who has been awarded the Geological Society of London’s William Smith Medal for 2019, the first ever female recipient.
Frances was a keynote speaker at last year's Process Mineralogy '18 in Cape Town, and the award recognises her distinguished achievement in the field of applied geology.
Frances Wall (left) at Process Mineralogy '18
The William Smith Medal is given for international excellence in contributions to applied and economic aspects of geoscience. Professor Wall said: “The award is a testament to the dedication and inventive work carried out by colleagues at the Camborne School of Mines and collaborating national and international partners. Our recent work on responsible supply of raw materials for clean technologies has been an exciting journey combining geology skills with other research disciplines and working with industry partners."
Professor Wall will receive the award at a special ceremony to mark the Society’s President’s Day on June 6th.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Magotteaux and FLSmidth are the latest Comminution '20 sponsors

It is good to have Magotteaux and FLSmidth with us once more for the comminution series of conferences.
Both companies are also sponsors of Flotation '19, which is particularly useful in promoting the essential link between comminution and flotation. Dr. Chris Greet, Manager Metallurgy-Minerals Processing Research at Magotteaux Australia, has presented papers at most of the flotation conferences, and in recent years the comminution conferences, highlighting this intimate link between flotation and comminution, not only in regard to the size and liberation of particles, but also to pulp chemistry.
There is currently calls for abstracts for Flotation '19 and Comminution '20 and I would like to encourage more papers which bridge the gap between these two crucial mineral processing operations.
For the latest updates see #Flotation19 and #Comminution20.
Twitter @barrywills

Monday, 4 March 2019

SME Annual Meeting 2019, Denver: mineral processing aspects

Last year's Annual SME Meeting in Minneapolis was a fairly low-key SME event, with 5083 delegates. Many people forsook Minneapolis for various reasons, but last year I felt that the mining industry was waking from its long slumber, so that we might expect a record turnout this year in Denver, the home of the SME.  I may have been a little premature, however, as the prices of base metals over the past 12 months attests (source InfoMine).
In 2017 there were 6300 delegates in Denver and in 2015 a record 7800. I looked forward to a larger than usual mineral processing presence this year due to the associated International Symposium to celebrate the 90th birthday of Prof. Douglas Fuerstenau. Because of this I did have a bit of an agenda this time, but for the most part I just wandered round the huge convention centre and exhibition, bumping into whoever appeared on the horizon.
It is impossible for an individual to produce a comprehensive report on an SME Annual Meeting, so the following is my diary of this major international minerals industry networking event, which took place February 24th to 27th at the Colorado Convention Centre, merely random snapshots of the many things taking place.
Sunday February 24th
Although various courses and committee meetings have been taking place since yesterday morning, the SME Meeting really began in earnest late afternoon today, when the exhibition hall was opened for a couple of hours. First impressions were encouraging, as there seems to be more people wandering around the huge number of booths than on previous Sunday afternoons.
Although Prof. Alban Lynch has been involved with hydrocyclones for very many years, in his conversation with me he said that "the way they are used now is an absolute nonsense, with circulating loads in some cases of well above 200%. The future is high frequency is very clear that these screens are so much better than hydrocyclones."
By classifying by size-only, screens, compared to hydrocyclones, give a sharper separation with multidensity feeds and reduce overgrinding of the dense minerals. Derrick Corporation is the leader in this field and will be sponsoring an MEI Conference for the first time at Comminution '20, so it was good to drop by their booth to meet the USA team.
Baojie Zhang, David Perkins and Andrew Cavender, of Derrick Corporation,
with Eric Ballinger of CSN, Brazil
Canadian company Starkey & Associates is also a Comminution '20 sponsor, and John Starkey and his colleague, Spencer Reeves, are familiar faces at SME Meetings. Starkey & Associates Inc. is well known in the minerals industry, being a world leader in SAG mill design. Sacré-Davey Engineering is perhaps not so well known, the company having a high profile in mine design, but last year Sacré-Davey announced the expansion of its engineering and project management services by joining forces with Starkey & Associates, the Sacré-Davey team from Toronto moving to the Starkey & Associates Offices in Oakville, with John Starkey heading the office group as Chief Metallurgist for Sacré-Davey Engineering. I was pleased to call in at their booth to be introduced to Sacré-Davey representatives Alan Humber and James Scobbie, who were talking to Steven Bergounhon, of Lincoln Strategic, Canada.
Steven, Spencer, Alan, John and James
Nice to catch up with 5 delegates from UK, who were on the same BA flight as me yesterday. International Mining is a media partner for all MEI Conferences, and editor Paul Moore and his colleague Phil Playle are regulars at SME. This year they were joined for the first time by fellow editor Daniel Gleeson. I photographed them in the International Mining booth with Carly Leonida and Mike O'Driscoll.
Carly is currently Editor-in-Chief of Mining Magazine, but is leaving in April to go solo as a free-lance mining journalist. I look forward to following her progress on her blog, The Intelligent Miner.  
Mike O’Driscoll was former Editor, then Global Head of Research, at Industrial Minerals magazine, and 4 years ago he and Ismene Clarke, former Head of Sales, at Industrial Minerals magazine, launched IMFORMED, a new source of information, research, and networking events for the industrial minerals business, which includes mineral processing as a major sector. Very much like MEI, they also organise international conferences and MEI is pleased to have entered into a collaborative media partnership with IMFORMED, where we actively promote the respective conferences.
Mike, Carly, Daniel, Paul and Phil
Moving on, I was lucky to catch the Eriez team. Long time Eriez veteran, Jose Marin (3rd right) was in attendance and showcasing Eriez’ high-gradient dry vibrating magnetic filters, which are used extensively throughout the industry to generate high-purity mineral products such as silica or lithium. Also Mike Mankosa (2nd left) and Jaisen Kohmuench (left) were present and discussing the successful deployment of EriezStackCell flotation technology into the non-coal mineral markets. Recently, a full-scale StackCell was installed in Western Australia for the recovery of nickel while another unit will be commissioned later this year for the recovery of rare earths. I look forward to hearing more on this in Cape Town in November, as Eriez Flotation Division is a sponsor of Flotation '19.
It was great to hear that Jaisen, Senior Director of Asia-Pacific Operations and Strategy, will be presented with the Frank F. Aplan Award at the SME banquet on Wednesday. Established in 1989, the Frank F. Aplan Award recognizes engineering or scientific contributions that further the understanding of the technology of coal and/or minerals engineering. According to SME Executive Director David L. Kanagy, Jaisen was selected as the 2018 recipient of this prestigious award based, in part, on his exceptional contributions to applied research, engineering development and commercial deployment of advanced flotation technologies.

Finally, on leaving the hall, I was pleased to be greeted by 5 delegates from the China University of Mining & Technology.
Monday February 25th
Judging by the long queue at Registration this morning, this could well be a record attendance this year, and the exhibition area was also a hive of activity.
Many of the exhibitors have large teams this year, including Clariant, one of the sponsors of Flotation '19. Clariant has developed HOSTAFLOT collectors, as alternatives to conventional xanthates, with safer handling and disposal, as they are delivered in bulk liquid form, eliminating the need to dispose of contaminated packaging.
It was great to spot Cyril O'Connor, President of the International Mineral Processing Council (IMPC), who was with President-Elect Ralph Holmes, of CSIRO, Australia, and Janine Herzig, President of the AusIMM, and one of only two women to ever be AusIMM President since its formation in 1893. Ralph takes over from Cyril at next year's IMPC Congress in Cape Town.
Ralph, Janine and Cyril
I then had a quick chat with Steve Fiscor, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Engineering & Mining Journal, and Regional Sales Manager Vic Matteucci.
Steve and Vic
It's always good to call in at the RSG Inc booth, to talk to my old friend and fellow northerner Chris Martin, who was with Chris Bean of The Quartz Corp, USA.
Chris's RSG Inc is an Alabama based manufacturer of milling and classification equipment, which closed 2018 with record sales. Projects include ultrafine calcium carbonate, fly ash, zinc metal powder and wet quartz milling in a 90kW wet ball mill rated for 5 tph at 150 microns. Chis tells me that 2019 has started well, with orders for hydrated lime, kaolin clay and fly ash ultrafine products.
Chris Martin and Chris Bean
Nouryon may be an unfamiliar name, but the well-known former AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals was relaunched as Nouryon a few months ago. The move follows the acquisition of the business by The Carlyle Group and marks the company’s transition to becoming an independent, global specialty chemicals leader. We are pleased to have Nouryon as a sponsor of Flotation '19, and I called by their booth, where representatives were talking to Joshua Werner (3rd left) of the University of Kentucky, Osvaldo Bascur, of OSIsoft, USA and Hamid Manouchehri, of Sandvik, Sweden.
FLSmidth, a regular sponsor of MEI Conferences, recently entered into an agreement with AuTec Innovative Extractive Solutions, a subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corporation, for the purchase of the hydrometallurgical and mineral processing capabilities of AuTech by FLSmidth (MEI Online). Peter Flanagan of FLSmidth made a special announcement and presentation from the FLSmidth stand, aided by his colleague Kallen Konen, and Noelene Ahem of AuTec, Canada.
Kallen, Peter and Noelene
In the large audience I spotted two well known mineralogists, Hanna Horsch, of Hazen Research, USA, and Paul Gottlieb, of Tescan USA Inc.
And then I headed straight for the Press Room for the official launch of the  new SME journal Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, which replaces and broadens the scope of the original Minerals & Metallurgical Processing (MMP). The new journal will be published by Springer Nature, and the first issue is dedicated to Prof. Douglas Fuerstenau on the occasion of his 90th birthday. 
The new journal's Editorial team with Prof. Fuerstenau. L to R: Jim Gebhardt, Ronel Kappes, Douglas Fuerstenau,
Barb Arnold (SME President), Mary Poulton, Chee Theng, Jurgen Brune, Virginia McLemore
SME President Barb Arnold presents a commemorative plaque to Jim Gebhardt,
the first edition guest editor
The afternoon Mineral Processing Division (MPD) session was devoted to prestigious awards. For the first time in my memory there was no Antoine Gaudin Award winner this year.
Dr. Jaime Sepúlveda was the recipient of the Robert H. Richards Award, which was established in 1948 to recognise achievement in any form that unmistakably furthers the art of mineral beneficiation in any of its branches.
In 1986, Jaime joined Moly-Cop, where after 28 years, he reached the position of Global Technical Leader. In 2014, he created J-Consultants Ltd., specialising in the design and optimization of mineral comminution and concentration processes. Jaime’s award citation reads: “For contributions to the advancement of comminution, support of research and education, and development of open-access, industrially accepted simulation tools (Moly-Cop Tools) for improving and optimizing grinding circuit efficiency.”  
Dr. Kathryn Sole was recipient of the Milton E. Wadsworth Award, which was established in 1992 to recognise distinguished contributions that advance our understanding of the science and technology of nonferrous chemical metallurgy. Kathy’s award citation reads: “Dr. Sole has made a significant impact on the development and practice of solvent extraction. Her academic contributions at the University of Arizona significantly improved the fundamental understanding of SX processes, and resulted in high impact publications.” 
After gaining much valuable experience at Mintek and Anglo American in South Africa, Kathy now consults independently, mainly in the areas of solvent extraction, ion exchange, and electrowinning of base and precious metals for hydrometallurgical applications. She currently chairs the SAIMM's Copper Cobalt Africa conference series and serves on the editorial boards of two journals.  
Kathy and Jaime
After Jaime and Kathy had presented their awards lectures, Dr. Seyed Hassan Amini was presented with the Rong Yu Wan Dissertation Award, by Nick Gow, a member of the MPD Scholarship Award Committee. Hassan is a postdoctoral associate at Virginia Tech, and the award was for his dissertation on "Optimisation of mineral processing circuit design under uncertaincy." 
Nick and Hassan
Prof. Douglas W. Fuerstenau then presented a fascinating keynote lecture, as a prelude to the Special International Symposium to Honour his 90th Birthday, describing his “Seven Decades as a Mineral Engineer: From the Black Hills to Butte, Boston, Berkeley and Beyond,” and Barb Arnold, SME President, then presented him with a special plaque from SME and the International Mineral Processing Council to commemorate this event. Prof. Fuerstenau is one of the great names in mineral processing, and I had the pleasure of interviewing him in 2015 for MEI. 
Prof. Cyril O’Connor, President of the IMPC, thanked the SME for giving him the opportunity to present personally award trophies and scrolls that the IMPC announced at the time of the 29th International Congress in Moscow last September, at which time unfortunately the recipients of these prestigious awards were unable to be in attendance due to problems associated with long-distance travel. These awards represent the very highest achievements that the IMPC recognises in terms of contributions to mineral processing. 
The 2018 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) was presented to Prof. Douglas Fuerstenau. It is also noteworthy that he becomes the first person in the history of the IMPC Congresses, which go back to London in 1952, to be awarded both the Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the DSA. After the presentation I was honoured to be invited to join Cyril and Doug for a photo of the present and former recipients of this Award. Humbling to think that Doug and I are the only living recipients of the award. 
Prof Fuerstenau and me, with IMPC President-Elect Ralph Holmes, and Cyril O'Connor
The second award,  the Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA), recognises a lifetime of distinguished achievement and outstanding contribution to the advancement of the art, science and industrial practice of mineral processing, together with participation in and contribution to IMPC Congresses. The 2018 LAA was presented to Prof. Jan Miller, of the University of Utah. His research achievements include outstanding contributions in the field of flotation and the surface chemistry associated with this process, particle/particle interactions and particle/bubble interactions, fine particle flotation, grinding/liberation analysis, the flotation chemistry of non-sulfide and fossil energy minerals, the application of X-ray microtomography to mineral liberation analysis, atomic force microscopy, the development of lithium-ion batteries, just to highlight a few aspects of his broad spectrum of research interests. Following the presentation there was another photo-call with former recipients of the LAA. 
Ponisseril Somasundaran (2016), Graeme Jameson (2016), Cyril O'Connor (IMPC Chairman), Doug Fuerstenau (1995), R.-H. Yoon (2014), Jan Miller, Janusz Laskowski (2008) and Ralph Holmes (IMPC President-Elect)

Profs. Miller and Fuerstenau with the beautiful awards
donated by the Moscow IMPC Congress Committee
It was good to see so many well known mineral processors from around the world in the audience, including Profs. Kari Heiskanen (Finland), Zhenghe Xu (China) and Jim Finch (Canada). 
But it was particularly good to see Doug Fuerstenau with his wife Peggy and son Stephen
And if all that wasn't enough excitement for one day, I then rushed off to the Hyatt Regency Hotel for the official launch of the new SME Mineral Processing Handbook.
This is the result of the endeavours of six years of intense work by the authors, reviewers, editors, and SME book publishing team, photographed below.
Komar Kawatra, Jane Olivier, John Marsden, Diane Serafin, Rob Dunne, Karen Ehrmann, Terese Platten, Courtney Young
It is a truly mammoth effort, as the work is in two volumes of 2,312 pages, with 128 chapters. Each chapter is authored by an acknowledged expert, recruited by the editors, and each made an invaluable contribution. It was nice to know that two of my old Camborne School of Mines students contributed chapters. Dave Meadows, of Bechtel Mining & Metals, USA, I see at every SME, but Ted and Claire Bearman, of Bear Rock Solutions, Australia, I have not seen since Comminution '12, where Ted presented a keynote paper. He contributed three chapters on crushing to the new book.
Ted, me, Claire and Dave
Tuesday February 26th
A relaxing day planned today, with no agenda other than to stroll around the exhibits and see what transpires. As always I will avoid the technical sessions. The Fuerstenau Symposium starts this morning but is in parallel with other MPD sessions, on Physical Separation, Plant Design, Hydrometallurgy and Flotation Chemistry. So it would be unfair of me to comment on any individual papers, but invite comments if you feel that any particular paper is worthy of note.
Adam Johnston, Chief Metallurgist at cancha, Peru, regularly contributes to discussions on the blog, so it was good to talk to him about cancha's geometallurgy software, an integrated solution for geomet sample selection, result interpretation, prediction modelling and reporting (MEI Online). We are photographed below with Stuart Smith of Metifex, Australia.
Moving on I stopped to say hello to Nikhil Gupta and Serhat Keles, of Virginia Tech.
Nikhil and Serhat
I have known Paul Gottlieb for many years. He is one of the pioneers of automated mineralogy and is now with Tescan USA. TIMA-X is Tescan's integrated mineral analyser, an automated mineralogy system for fast quantitative analysis of samples such as rocks, ores, concentrates, tailings, leach residues or smelter products. It was good to talk to Paul (centre) and Regional Sales Manager Mike Craig.
I was pleased to see Swadhin Saurabh, recipient of the 2016 MEI Young Person's Award. Swadhin is Project Manager with Millcreek Engineering, USA, and is photographed with his colleagues Eric Morrison and Steven Kerr.
Eric, Swadhin and Steven
I have known Steve Hearn, of Huntsman, for many years. Huntsman is a supply partner to Quadra, a privately held distributor of speciality and commodity reagents. Steve is pictured 2nd right with Quadra representatives in their booth, talking to Deepak Malhotra, President of Prosolv Consulting, USA.
I last saw Bill Weldon two years ago in Falmouth at Physical Separation '17. Bill is a consultant with the IMSC Group, USA. IMSC (International Minerals Separation Components) Group is the exclusive service provider and manufacturer of Outotec Physical Separation product lines and parts. Founded in 2018, IMSC Group is dedicated to providing customer service, technical support, and proactive solutions that promote customer success.
Bill is pictured left on the photo below, with his colleagues Steve Stewart (2nd left) and Pat Cleaves (right). 3rd left is Peter Jansson, Technology Manager for Magnetic and Gravity Equipment at Outotec, USA. Outotec is a sponsor of Physical Separation '19, as well as Flotation '19.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing Doug Fuerstenau, an IMPC Award recipient, with his wife Peggy, and son Stephen. Today it was an equally great pleasure to meet Pam Hoffmann, daughter of the other award recipient Jan Miller. Pam is Administrative Manager at University of Utah, and is pictured in the University booth with her father Jan, and Mike Nelson, Chair of the Mining Department.
After a great day I was back at the Hyatt Regency in the evening for the International Reception for all non-USA delegates. This was much better attended than in recent years, and was a very enjoyable couple of hours, despite having to queue for over 20 minutes for the one complimentary drink. 
Wednesday February 27th
Time for another short stroll around the exhibition, which closes at mid-day, before my flight back to London. It was vey quiet, as expected, but I did manage to catch up with a few people to say farewell, including the redoubtable Jane Oliver in the SME Bookstore.
Also good to see Nick Hazen, President of Hazen Research, USA, and some of his team. Hazen is an industrial research and development company, specialising in the mining, chemical, energy and environmental industries worldwide. The core business is performing and interpreting experimental work to provide design criteria and other technical information for new and existing processes. I'll bet that Nick doesn't remember that Hazen was the sole sponsor of Minerals Engineering '94 in Lake Tahoe a quarter of a century ago!
Nick Hazen (2nd left) with some of his team
Last, but not least, I had a pleasant chat with Mining Engineering students from the "other CSM". Colorado School of Mines, situated in nearby Golden, was last year ranked world number 1 by the QS Rankings of Minerals & Mining Universities.
I have had an excellent few days in Denver, and the SME has once more lived up to its reputation as one of the great networking events. I look forward to being back in USA next year for the meeting in Phoenix. Congratulations, as always, to all involved with the organisation of this mammoth event.
Last year there was optimism of a resurgence in the mining industry, but unfortunately it did not happen. This year there has been a strong general feeling that we are at the beginning of a revival, and recent base metal prices do indicate some signs of recovery, but only time will tell.
Last month's base metals prices (InfoMine)
There has been some concern, however, that if the industry does bounce back, supply might find it hard to cope with demand. Manpower in the industry is critical and there is a great need to attract young and talented scientists and engineers, as I highlighted in the posting of 17th December 2018. The perception that mining is a dirty industry run by capitalists must be dispelled, and the public educated that mining is crucial to society, and that mineral processing is mining's, and society's, most important technology.
Twitter @barrywills