Thursday, 27 February 2020

Recent comments

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

Back in Cornwall after our brief visit to Leeds
Will the roaring '20s be the decade of the mineral processor?
2019 with MEI
Mining and complexity: a new look at old concepts
Are modern flotation cells too big?
Return to Nchanga: Zambia's greatest copper mine
Return to Chingola
A new way of presenting mineral processing news on MEI Online
Are these WASET conferences just a scam?
Arrived in Cape Town for Mining Indaba
Brief encounters at Mining Indaba 2020

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Monday, 24 February 2020

MEI Conferences 2020-21

Current MEI Conferences sponsors
A full listing of MEI Conferences for 2020 and 2021 is now available. The venues for these meetings will be Cape Town, South Africa and Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.
These highly acclaimed conferences bring together leading academics, researchers and industrialists from around the world, to discuss the latest developments in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy. Papers from the meetings are peer-reviewed for publication in special issues of Minerals Engineering.
There are very attractive sponsorship packages, which give your company valuable long-term exposure.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

February Mining Sundowner in Falmouth

Tonight's sundowner was the first of the year at Falmouth's Chain Locker, and was attended by around 30 regulars and a few welcome visitors.
At the recent Mining Indaba in Cape Town over 30% of the speakers were women. In what was once an almost exclusively male-dominated industry, it is good to see women taking a very active role in all aspects of the industry, and some of those attending tonight's sundowner were young women making their mark on what is the world's primary industry.
One of them, Lucy Crane, a geologist at Cornish Lithium, was recently the recipient of the award of Young Rising Star in Mining at the Outstanding Achievement Awards and Gala Dinner, hosted by Mines & Money in London. She is a great ambassador for Women in Mining and recently presented an inspirational talk on mining for a low carbon future. She began by saying "I care deeply about the environment, which is why I work in the mining industry! Does that make me a hypocrite?" Unfortunately a lot of people feel that it does, she said, and she went on to explain why mining is crucial to providing the raw materials needed to combat climate change. The talk is on YouTube and I would urge people to share as widely as possible, particularly to people outside our industry who in the main are unaware of mining's importance.
Lucy Crane (3rd left)
Mining is indeed crucial, and as ores become more complex and grades decrease, then mineral processing becomes ever more important, and the need to produce young engineering graduates to satisfy the needs of the industry increases.
In the posting of 8th April 2019 I wondered whether today's mineral processing students are getting the broad-based education which they deserve and which is necessary in the modern mining industry?
It was pointed out by John Starkey in his comment on the posting of 17th December 2018 that there isn't a mineral processing industry. There is a mining industry, and mineral processing is part of it. Also, most mine sites have a mill on the site and very few mills exist that are not on a mine site. The expert mineral processor therefore cannot do his or her job well if he or she does not understand mining, because the concentrator’s feed always comes from a mine. Very few mine General Managers are mineral processors, they are mining engineers, who have a broad knowledge of not only mining, but geology, surveying, mineral economics, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as mineral processing.
I was recruited to Camborne School of Mines in 1974 to teach mineral processing on the mining degree, but three years later we also started a mineral processing degree. Although it turned out some excellent graduates, it was always difficult to recruit sufficient students to make it viable, and in retrospect I have always felt that the best route for producing good mineral processors is probably a broad-based degree in mining, followed by an MSc in mineral processing.
Tonight I heard from good authority that CSM is to offer an exciting new path into a career in mining or mineral processing, a 4-year M.Eng course, three years of which will be spent at CSM on mining engineering, and one year in Canada at the University of British Columbia, concentrating on mineral processing. This has the potential of being an extremely attractive course, and I hope to have more information soon.
One of those excellent graduates from the old CSM course was Andrew Wilkinson, who graduated in 1991 and is now with Metso. He is pictured below with Lee Wright, of Outotec, who will soon be merged with Metso.
Lee and Andrew
Another CSM graduate is Nick Wilshaw, who graduated in 1980. He is now managing director of Cornwall based Grinding Solutions Ltd (GSL), which specialises in exploring novel approaches to help clients maximise their value and opportunities. The company is a sponsor of April's Comminution '20, as is Welsh company Maelgwyn Mineral Services Ltd (MMS) and it was great to see managing director Mike Battersby and general manager Steve Flatman in Falmouth.
Nick, Steve, Mike and BW
MMS, also a sponsor of next year's Flotation '21, manufacture and market the Imhoflot G-Cell pneumatic flotation technology, where centrifugal forces are used in the cell to quickly separate the phases after mineral collection and therefore considerably reducing the size of vessels required.
MMS recently announced that it had been awarded a contract to supply the flotation process plant for the Beyondie Sulphate of Potash project in Western Australia. Whilst MMS has supplied many potash flotation plants in Europe, particularly in Belarus, this will be its first supply outside the continent and its largest flotation plant in Australia.
Mike and Steve will be calling in at GSL tomorrow to see the only Imhoflot cell in Cornwall up and running.
This has been another excellent sundowner. The next one is Thursday March 19th at the Admiral Benbow Inn, in Penzance.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Flotation '21: first announcement

Last year's Flotation '19 was MEI's most successful conference ever, highlighting the importance of flotation and how the flotation series is now firmly established, bringing together all the leading scientists and practitioners from around the world. Papers from the conference are currently being peer-reviewed for the special issue of Minerals Engineering.
We are pleased to announce that the next conference in the series, Flotation '21, will be held at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town from November 8-11, 2021.
Regular sponsors recognise the marketing value of early sponsorship, and we welcome our first sponsors Promet 101, Maelgwyn Mineral Services, Magotteaux, Gold Ore and CiDRA and our trusted media partner International Mining.
The first keynote lecture will be given by Prof. James Finch, Emeritus Professor of McGill University, Canada. Entitled "A Mineral Processor’s Journey" it will be an appreciation of the life and work of Prof. Graeme Jameson, of the University of Newcastle, Australia, who has attended all but one of the MEI flotation series.
Few can claim a process or equipment that carries their name. The Jameson Cell is a rare example: an industrial endorsement of Professor Jameson’s already secured academic reputation that sets him apart. Taking the Cell as the unifying theme, this talk will assess Graeme’s contributions to the technology of flotation, from fundamental models and innovative experiments to his continuing quest for the universal flotation machine.
Graeme Jameson and Jim Finch (3rd and 4th left) with fellow recipients of the SME Gaudin Memorial Award,
Janusz Laskowski and Nag Nagaraj, at Flotation '15
Virginia Lawson, of Glencore Technology, and Graeme Jameson,
cut the 30th Anniversary Jameson Cell cake at Flotation '19
It's not too early to think about presenting a paper at the conference, the deadline for abstract submission being the end of June 2021.
We look forward to seeing you in Cape Town next year. Updates on the conference are at #Flotation21.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Hoping to see you at the SME Meeting in Phoenix

The Annual Meeting of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) is just over a week away, and I will be there as usual reporting on mineral processing innovations and people.
The SME Annual Meeting is a huge event. It was last held in Phoenix four years ago, and last year in Denver there were over 6,600 delegates so it is a great opportunity for meeting people, and I will spend most of my time strolling around the huge exhibition, with no set agenda.
I hope to publish a report on 2nd March, and I will also be tweeting during the meeting, using the hashtag #MineXchange2020.
If you will be in Phoenix and have interesting news to share, please contact me in advance and we will arrange to meet up.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Brief encounters at Mining Indaba 2020

Investing in African Mining Indaba is dedicated to the successful capitalisation and development of mining interests in Africa and to supporting education, career development, sustainable development and other important causes in Africa. As I soon found out, however, many of the topics for discussion were relevant not only to Africa but had truly global significance. In this respect it was a shame that there was little, if any, representation from the major mining publications outside Africa.
Mining Indaba is held every year at the Cape Town Convention Centre, and I have attended every few years, the last time being 4 years ago (posting of 13th February 2016).
MEI was a media partner and although investment conferences are not high on our agenda the event often springs a few surprises due to the sheer weight of numbers, around 7000 this year, and my aim was to forge new contacts and hopefully catch up with a few friends from around the world, some of them occasionally from the distant past.
So rather than sitting in the conference rooms over the four days, I spent my time wandering around the exhibition seeing what transpired. I also caught snippets of the many speeches, panel discussions and discussions which took place, by spending some time in the excellent press lounge, where events on the main stages were live streamed.
This is my personal diary which I hope will be supplemented by the experiences of others. 
Monday 3rd February
The exhibition at Indaba is large, and  entering the  hall this morning I was pleased to see a familiar face, Pauline Choshane of Comminution '20 sponsor Metso, who, with her colleague Charles Ntsele (2nd left)  was talking to delegates from Bilboes Gold, Zimbabwe.
Mark Cutifani
On the press lounge screens I caught part of the presentation by Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American, talking of connecting mining with next-generation values. His message was that we must dispel the myth that mining takes more than it gives. It contributes around 45% to the global economy. He said "the mining industry enables life as we know it, and it’s the cornerstone of energy transition with PGMs and the development of the hydrogen economy."
His words were echoed by Samson Gwede Mantashe, South Africa's Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, in his opening address. He said that the mining and energy portfolio is critical to economic growth and development.  "South Africa and the African continent are important to global mining and its development and should be the destination of choice for the investment community."
Mr. Mantashe (left) visiting the exhibition
Back in the exhibition hall I was pleased to see two delegates from Cornwall, John Eyre and Kim-Marie Clothier, of North Coast Consulting, UK.
John and I had a few drinks together last night at a waterfront sundowner,  where we also met Chris Bryan, one of our Biomining '20 consultants. Formerly with Camborne School of Mines, Cornwall, Chris is now with BRGM, France and it was good to meet some of his colleagues in the BRGM booth.
With Chris Bryan (centre)
At the large Germany booth I talked to Kai Bartram of Steinert, a leading manufacturer of electronic sorting machines, and a regular sponsor of MEI's Physical Separation conferences. Kai was with John Knouwds, an expert on control and instrumentation. Based in Namibia, this was John's first day with Steinert so we wish him well and hope to see more of him in the future.
John and Kai
Tuesday 4th February
It is very noticeable that there are many more women in attendance at Indaba this year than on my previous visit in 2016.  Although mining is still one of the most male dominated industries, positive steps have been made in recent years to integrate women into the industry, and the number of female speakers at Indaba has been increasing over the past few years, this year 30.4% of the speakers being women. Today saw Indaba's first all female panel discussion, focussing on climate change and other issues.
The mining industry is one of the major weapons in the fight against climate change. The UN Paris Agreement requires humanity to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of this century but there are doubts as to whether this is attainable, as to attain these goals will put enormous demands on what are very finite resources of raw materials (Is zero carbon by 2050 attainable?).
In supplying the raw materials to build electric vehicles and renewable energy sources, as well as providing suitable alternatives to oil and gas for heating home and offices, the importance of mining cannot be over-emphasised  (posting of 5th January). Ironically, however, the mining industry is one of the most energy intensive industries, and, according to a recent report, the world’s biggest mining companies are failing to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord and need to consider more aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Consultant McKinsey said the mining industry was taking insufficient action and putting underwhelming plans in place to tackle global warming, risking a backlash from investors and society. Mining groups have only just begun to set targets that range between a zero and 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, falling well short of the level required under the Paris accord, the report said.
The majority of the mining industry’s on-site emissions, which are as much as 5.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent a year, largely come from methane released during coal mining, while power consumption is the second-biggest contributor. As other sectors reduce their carbon emissions and introduce low-carbon technologies, such as wind turbines and electric vehicles, mining companies should diversify their portfolios to meet the demand for metals underpinning those technologies, despite being unable to replace revenue from coal and iron ore, the report added.
The past two days at Indaba have seen many discussions around the role of mining in addressing climate change and the fact that it must do much more to address these issues.
Today's panel discussion included contributions from representatives from Anglo American, Bushveld Minerals, Rio Tinto and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani said that he had no plans for Anglo to exit its coking coal business completely, but he is keen to reduce the organisation's carbon footprint with the help of suppliers, peers and customers. He said that he believed that mines can, and will, be carbon neutral and will use less water as well as delivering positive biodiversity outcomes. It will be interesting to see if his ambitions of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency by 30% this year will be attained, as will Canada's Teck Resources pledge to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Wednesday 5th February
Faces familiar to me are very thin on the ground, so it was really nice to talk to Elizma Ford and Aphelele Sithole of Mintek, South Africa this morning. Aphelele is a pyrometallurgist, and Elizma heads Mintek's comminution section. She looks forward to being back in Cape Town in April for Comminution '20.
Elizma and Aphelele of Mintek
Also good to catch up with Jules Aupiais, of Senmin, South Africa. I first met Jules at Reagents '91 in Cornwall, and Senmin has been a regular sponsor of all MEI's Flotation conferences. Senmin, a business of AECI Mining Solutions, is a manufacturer and supplier of mining chemicals used in the beneficiation of a wide range of ores such as platinum, copper, zinc, coal etc as well as polyacrylamides used for tailings treatment. Jules is photographed below with two of his AECI colleagues. 
Jules Aupiais (right) and colleagues

Thursday 6th February
Despite this being the final half day of the meeting, the exhibition hall was still buzzing this morning. 
I was pleased to see that students interested in careers in mining were invited to attend Mining Indaba’s Young Leaders Programme today
Now in its 5th year, the Young Leaders in Mining, a collaboration between Mining Indaba and Brunswick, a critical issues advisory firm, creates a forum for the next generation of miners – students at university and young professionals already working in the industry - to meet and engage with senior leaders in mining, government and civil society. 
Pupils from Simon's Town School talk to Mintek's head of Biotechnology Mariekie Gericke
Tom Quin, Head of Content for Mining Indaba said: “...mining needs to attract top talent just as much as it needs to attract investment and community support if it is going to thrive."
This is very true, but young people are only going to be attracted to the industry if it is perceived to be sustainable and responsibly managed. The message that mining is crucial, and that if we cannot grow it, it must be mined, must come across strongly.
Thankfully this has been the pervasive message at Indaba 2020 and congratulations must be given to all involved with this great event. Ministers, mining CEOs and relevant stakeholders have been joined for some progressive conversations about working collaboratively to move the industry forward. It was particularly good to see the mining majors really promoting Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) protocol, but as cautioned by Bady Blade, Director of EITI International Secretariat  "we cannot just rely on the most responsible companies. Governments have a critical role to play in reducing mining’s carbon footprint and bringing all the actors to the same standard."
ESG has often not been too important an issue for the global mining industry, mainly because there were no hard and fast rules on how to develop and implement ESG policies, nor any penalties for failing to do so. Many companies felt they could legitimately ignore calls to ensure operations were carried out ethically and sustainably.
But in an industry with a checkered history of accidents, environmental disasters and corruption scandals, it seems that the balance is finally starting to tip in favour of "good" ESG, and this was strongly felt at Indaba.  As John Welborn, CEO of Resolute Mining said "ESG investing is not just a moral case, it’s a good investment case and an absolute necessity for our business".
Let's continue to hammer home this message.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

A pleasant break at beautiful Newlands

We took a break from Indaba yesterday afternoon to watch the one-day international cricket match between South Africa and England, at Newlands, surely one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world, with its stunning view of Table Mountain.

After the match, which South Africa won by a crushing 7 wickets, we took a 10 minute walk to the nearby Vineyard Hotel, surely one of the most beautiful conference venues in the world, with its stunning view of Table Mountain! You can savour this view by joining us for this year's MEI Conferences in Cape Town.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Sundowner on the Cape Town waterfront with old friends

After a hard first day at Mining Indaba it was good to relax yesterday evening at the Ferrymans Tavern, the waterfront's oldest pub, with a few old friends. Two of them, John and Roselyne Eyre, are also based in Cornwall. John's company is North Coast Consulting, involved with minerals and environmental management. Both John and I spent our first years in Cornwall as colleagues at Camborne School of Mines.
Chris Bryan, formerly with Camborne School of Mines, is now with BRGM in France, and a consultant to MEI's Biomining '20, which will be held in Cornwall in June.
Alos joining us was University of Cape Town's Cyril O'Connor, who is chairman of the International Mineral Processing Council. I have known Cyril for 38 years, since my visiting lecturer stint at UCT in 1982.
It is many years since I last caught up with Russell Heins, who left Gekko Systems in 2007 and is now based in Johannesburg with The Minerals Corporation. It was great to talk to Russell after all these years, and to his fellow Director Jon Murphy.
Cyril, BW, Chris, Russell, Jon and John, with Roselyne and Barbara

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Arrived in Cape Town for Mining Indaba

Barbara and I arrived in hot and sunny Cape Town this afternoon, and called in at the Convention Centre to register for the Mining Indaba, which starts tomorrow. I will be tweeting during the 4 days of the conference and hope to publish a short report of happenings a week on Tuesday.
Indaba is not the only major event taking place in Cape Town this week. On the other side of the mountain, at Newlands, South Africa meet England on Tuesday in a one-day cricket international.
I will be sneaking away from the conference as we have tickets for the match, so it was a pleasure to chat with two ex-England stars at the immigration queue at the airport this morning. 
Those of you who follow cricket will recognise Robert Key and David Lloyd. Those of you who don't won't! Robert Key played for England from 2002-2005, and David Lloyd from 1973-75. They are now part of the Sky Sports team who will be commentating on the match on Tuesday. And the lucky pair will be staying close to the ground at the Vineyard Hotel, MEI's Cape Town conference venue.

After a short rest we stolled down to the Waterfront for a meal at the excellent Greek Fisherman restaurant with its stunning view of Table Mountain.

The Waterfront and Cape Town never fail to impress and we look forward to our next few days at Indaba, the first of the 'big five' mining conferences in this stunning city this year.

#Comminution20 #HiTechMetals20 #Processmineralogy20 #IMPC2020