Monday, 7 September 2020

The Crucial Importance of Mineral Processing

A few weeks ago I was approached by Prof. Jan Cilliers, of Imperial College, UK, with a request to provide a short video on the importance of mineral processing to modern society. Jan is CFO of the Governance team for Metcelerate, the other members being Diana Drinkwater (CEO), Australia, Brian Flintoff (Consultant), Canada and Robert Seitz (Director) USA.

Metcelerate is a two year Professional Formation programme for mineral processing engineers. It is online and requires a few hours of learning each week.

I was pleased to comply with Jan's request to have my video included in the introduction to the programme as I have always felt that many universities, while providing a good grounding in the science and technology of mineral processing, cannot deliver the practical experience that allows graduates  to translate theoretical knowledge and skills in to professional practice, and nor do they highlight how crucial it is, and will be in the quest for a circular economy.

Having prepared a 10 minute PowerPoint video, it is now available for viewing on YouTube. If you feel that you can make use of this for educational purposes, I would greatly appreciate you doing so.



  1. Barry, I watched and very nice--hope it is shown in many Schools at Primary Education level.
    I recall myself and Dr. Lynch going to Schools in Brisbane in early '60s with a flotation cell etc to demonstrate those bubbles and minerals getting floated--a mission to enthuse young generation to take EARTH SCIENCES as a future professional course.
    My compliments to one and all you mentioned and it all augurs well to our profession.
    Such innovations in those earlier years in mineral processing make me wonder whether we really made any path breaking innovations to serve from exploration to exploitation (circular economy).
    Realizing the importance of mineral processing, we started a B. Tech programme in Mineral Engineering at Indian School of Mines in India in late'70s --
    I am fully convinced that if that circular economy has to take place with deep roots, we need basic degree courses with close interaction with industry--no two opinions as far as I am concerned.
    Ii is still a mystery to me why top institutes across the globe, who worked on various aspects of mineral processing,never thought of basic course--I know we need good teachers to teach at basic level(take this with good spirit).
    Mineral profession also should know more on telling society on our profession-i.e. P.R. job--we completely lack this.
    We should show that exploitation of minerals without damaging society can be done by innovations; maybe we have to go back to fully underground mining and processing--someone will immediately say "too expensive"--that is where we have to make the circular system economically profitable by innovations across all aspects. Tinkering and theorizing days are over to sustain our profession.
    May be carried away--but that is me.

  2. Hi T.C. agree in general with your comments about the importance of minerals education to the general public. Here in the U.S. we have the SME Mineral Education Coalition which provides educational materials about mining and minerals to K-12 educators. It's a good start to the PR problem you mention.

  3. I really enjoyed watching the video Barry, and will make use of it among my circle of relevant contacts. In fact, I watched it twice: once for the content, then for its pedagogical construction. It is well designed and delivered, presenting selected information in a simple manner, interesting and effective from beginning to end. It can be viewed with benefit across a wide range of age and educational levels: watchers will inject their own knowledge and thoughts as you walk them through the story. I particularly enjoyed how you linked history with the future across the several industrial revolutions. The key concepts will appeal to those considering potential career paths. I also checked out the Metcelerate site, and am impressed by the distributed learning model as presented. If I were younger and an engineer (neither of which apply) I would seriously consider this online offering :)!

    1. Many thanks Franklin. Yes please distribute it as widely as you can- we need to get the message out!


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