Sunday, 28 March 2021

Final calls for abstracts for Biomining '21 and Sustainable Minerals '21

A final reminder that if you would like to present papers at Biomining '21 and Sustainable Minerals '21 in June, abstracts should be submitted by the end of this week.

These are the conferences originally scheduled to be held in Falmouth, and more details can be found on the blog postings of 11th March (Biomining '21) and 4th March (Sustainable Minerals '21).


Thursday, 25 March 2021

Two new editors and a new editorial structure for Minerals Engineering

It is my great pleasure to introduce two new members to the Minerals Engineering editorial team and a streamlining of the editorial structure, which will improve performance and speed of reviewing, which has been hampered somewhat during the chaos of the pandemic.

Dr. Anna Kaksonen has over 20 years’ experience in various aspects of biomining, from bio-oxidising and bioleaching low-grade ores to treating waste streams and recovering resources. In 2009 Anna joined Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia as a Team Leader of Environmental and Industrial Biotechnology. Since 2017 she had led CSIRO’s Industrial Biotechnology Group which has three teams located in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane. Anna is a keynote speaker at MEI's Biomining '21 conference in June.

Prof. Zhiyong Gao received his Ph.D in Minerals Processing Engineering from Central South University (CSU), China in 2013, and now is professor and vice dean in the School of Minerals Processing and Bioengineering at CSU. Zhiyong’s research interests embrace mineral crystal chemistry, flotation reagent design, grinding media technology, wastewater treatment and waste utilisation. He has received numerous awards and honors including the MEI Young Person’s Award, the China-Australia Young Scientist Exchange Award, and the Young Elite Scientists Award by the China Association for Science and Technology.

Anna and Zhiyong join our established editors. Drs. Pablo Brito-Parada and Kristian Waters, and our recently appointed editor, Dr. Ahmad Deniz Bas, who was promoted to editor in February, after serving as an assistant editor since 2017.

The new Minerals Engineering editorial team

The new structure obviates the need for assistant editors, and I would like to thank Martin Rudolph, Anita Parbakhar-Fox, Erin Bobicki, Grant Ballantyne and Zoltan Javor, our former assistant editors, who now join the Editorial Board of the journal.


Sunday, 21 March 2021

Memories of Comminution '01, Brisbane

MEI's first online conference, Comminution '21, begins in a month's time, but 20 years ago today, the 3rd conference in the series, Comminution '01, began at the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane, Australia. 

Organised by MEI in collaboration with the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC), Australia and sponsored by Mintek of South Africa, around 35 presentations were made during the 3 day event, which included a visit to the JKMRC.

It was fitting that the JKMRC's founding Director Professor Alban Lynch be the keynote speaker at the event. After a long and distinguished career as one of Australia's leading authorities on comminution and classification, Professor Lynch set the scene in the opening session on 'Comminution Fundamentals' with an historical overview of the problems encountered in fine grinding, from the nineteenth century to the present day.

Alban Lynch (left) with conference delegates

Starkey & Associates, of Canada, have been regular sponsors of MEI's comminution series, and on his first visit to Australia SAG mill designer John Starkey offered some practical considerations when starting and maintaining a SAG milling operation, and in particular the energy implications for SAG milling. Twenty years on, John's keynote lecture "Keys to Best Practice Comminution" will be a feature at Comminution '21.

With John Starkey at the conference dinner

Dr. Paul Cleary, of CSIRO, Australia, will also be presenting a keynote at Comminution '21 on progress towards the virtual comminution machine. Over the last 30 years he has become recognised as a world leader in the development and application of particle based computational methods for the prediction of the behaviour of physical systems, and in Brisbane he presented work on the introduction of breakage into DEM modelling.

Paul Cleary (centre) at the conference dinner

As Tim Napier-Munn said during his after dinner speech at the end of the first day, it became clear quite early in proceedings that Comminution '01 will be regarded for some time to come as an important reference point for this most important of technologies.  A selection of papers were published in Volume 14 Number 10, a special issue of Minerals Engineering, and a selection of the many photos taken are shown below.


Thursday, 18 March 2021

Tony Holland-Batt: 1937-2020

It is with great sadness that I report, very belatedly, of the death of a very respected late 20th century mineral processor, Dr. Tony Holland-Batt, who died, aged 82, in Australia in March 2020 from pneumonia, although he had suffered from Parkinson's Disease and Dementia in his later years.  

Tony Holland-Batt was born in Leeds, England, in 1937. He completed his high school studies at Seaford College before joining the Royal Air Force, and subsequently graduated from the Royal School of Mines (RSM) with a PhD in metallurgical engineering. 

After meeting and marrying his wife Jennifer, he moved to Australia, and commenced work at Mineral Deposits, where he remained for 23 years, before finishing his career in the USA as the Vice-President of Hazen Research and the President of McPherson Mines in Denver, Colorado. His work enabled him to travel around the world, presenting research and consulting in places including South Africa, Canada and the USA.

Tony and his wife Jenny

I first met Tony in 1990, when he presented a paper at Gravity Separation '90. He was accompanied by his wife Jenny and daughter Sarah. The picture below was taken in Falmouth at the start of an evening conference boat trip on the River Fal. Jenny and Sarah are in the bottom right, talking to Tony's Mineral Deposits colleague Cliff Robinson. Tony is bottom left in the photo, and just behind him is his good friend Tim Napier-Munn

Tony, a lecturer in particle mechanics, was one of Tim's teachers when Tim was an undergraduate at the RSM, London, between 1967 and 1970 and a colleague when he went back there to teach and work for a PhD from 1977-1980.  

Tony lectured at the RSM for eight years prior to moving to Australia, becoming a well-known specialist with Mineral Deposits in gravity concentration and hydrocyclones. In 1995 he relocated to Denver, Colorado before retiring back to Australia in 2000. The photo below was taken at Minerals Engineering '96 in Brisbane. Barbara and I are with Tony and Jenny and Tony's fellow Hazen Research colleague John Mosher.

Tony and Jenny retired to Australia's Gold Coast where he divided his time between golf and indulging a long-standing desire to compose music. He was also a Jaguar car enthusiast, as is Tim Napier-Munn, the photo below being taken in 2009, standing by Tim's pride and joy, his vintage E-type Jaguar.

On behalf of MEI, deepest condolences to Jenny and Sarah.

Monday, 15 March 2021

2020 MEI Young Person's Award to Ahmad Hassanzadeh

I am pleased to announce that the recipient of MEI's Young Person's Award for 2020 is Dr. Ahmad Hassanzadeh, now an independent consultant in Germany. His glowing nominations come from Prof. Mehmet Sabri Çelik, of Harran University, Turkey, Dr. Tomasz Niedoba, of AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland, Prof. Nickolay Rulyov, of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Prof. Safak Gökhan, of the Turkish-German University, Turkey and Prof. John Ralston, Emeritus Laureate Professor of the University of South Australia.

Dr. Ahmad Hassanzadeh was born in 1986 in Khoy, Iran. In 2004, he completed his high school degree and attended Sahand University of Technology from where he graduated with a BSc in Mining Engineering in 2010. After completing an MSc in Mining Eng. (Mineral Processing) at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman he was granted two industrial projects in comminution, classification and flotation circuits at Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex, the largest copper beneficiation plant in Iran, from where he learnt much of all aspects of laboratory and industrial mineral processing.

Ahmad moved to Turkey in Sep. 2014 as a PhD student in the Mineral Processing Department of Istanbul Technical University under the supervision of Prof. Mehmet S. Celik. He researched the development of a functional material for use in water borne paints through the coating of calcite by TiO2. During this time he supervised several bachelor students’ projects and initiated several international joint projects between Iran, the UK, Turkey, Australia and Algeria. 

Ahmad was awarded an Erasmus Exchange Program grant in 2016 and exchanged as a PhD candidate in the Department of Mineral Resources Engineering at the Montan University of Leoben, Austria. Later, in December 2018, he successfully defended his PhD thesis on the effect of hydrodynamic parameters on particle-bubble interactions in flotation and graduated from the Mineral Processing Department of Istanbul Technical University.  He had five articles out of his thesis published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, including two in Minerals Engineering and two in Colloids & Surfaces A.

During the last year of his doctorate program, Ahmad was selected by Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany as a post-doctoral research associate and worked two years (2018-2020) in the Processing Department of Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Research and Technology. 

Over the last 5 years, Ahmad has published 30 papers in high impact journals and 25 conference articles presented in Canada, Chile, UK, Iran, Serbia, Russia, Brazil, Germany, Greece, Turkey, and Albania, including an invited keynote lecture at the 2nd International Electronic Conference on Mineral Science this year. He was made an an editor of the Physicochemical Problems of Mineral Processing journal in 2020.

Ahmad is without doubt a very accomplished minerals engineer and his international links are impressive. Based in Germany for the past three years, he has developed joint projects with institutions in Poland, Germany, Iran and Turkey. 

Ahmad is a very worthy winner of the MEI Award, and I look forward to presenting it to him some time in the near future when international travel once more becomes possible.

Congratulations from all of us at MEI.


Thursday, 11 March 2021

A final call for abstracts for Biomining '21

Biomining '21, originally scheduled to be held in Falmouth, will now be held as a virtual event from June 7th to 8th. This, MEI's 10th International Symposium on Biomining, is the postponed Biomining '20, which was affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. It is organised by MEI with Prof. Sue Harrison and Dr. Chris Bryan and is sponsored by AFX Mixing & Pumping Technologies and Newmont. Media sponsor is International Mining, and Industry Associates are the Cornwall Mining Alliance and the Critical Minerals Association.

We are pleased to advise that the online website is now live, and you can submit your abstracts to this and register for the event. The deadline for abstract submission is the end of March.

We have two well known biohydrometallurgy experts presenting keynote lectures. Dr. Anna Kaksonen, of CSIRO, Australia, will present "Environmental applications of biotechnology in mining" and Dr. Chris Bryan, of BRGM, France "Bridging the gaps in biomining research and application".

All presenters will be invited to submit papers after the conference. These will be peer-reviewed and, if accepted, published immediately in the first available regular issue of Minerals Engineering, and included in the Virtual Special Issue of the conference on ScienceDirect. This is an ideal opportunity to present your work to an international audience and have your paper published in a refereed journal of high repute, the conference itself providing initial peer-review via discussion.

The latest updates are at #Biomining21.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Top SME Awards to three well-known mineral processors

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Annual Meeting was held last week, for the first time virtually. Originally scheduled for Denver, I would have been enjoying my usual saunters around the large exhibition and photographing the recipients of the Mineral Processing Division's major award winners. It would have been all the more enjoyable this year, as the award winners were three good friends to all of us at MEI.

I catch up with Prof. Courtney Young each year at the SME meeting, and in 2019 he presented papers at MEI's Physical Separation '19 and Flotation '19 conferences.

Courtney with Barbara Wills at Flotation '19

I was really pleased to see that he was the recipient of the MPD's most prestigious award, the  Antoine M. Gaudin Award, for his contributions in advancing the understanding of mineral processing technology through problem-solving research in partnership with industry and for his passionate dedication to students and their careers.  Prof. Young is the Lewis S. Prater Distinguished Professor in the Metallurgical & Materials Engineering Department of Montana Technical University, where he teaches and conducts research in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy. We look forward to hearing more of his research at Flotation '21 in November.

The Milton E. Wadsworth Metallurgy Award recognizes distinguished contributions that advance our understanding of the science and technology of non-ferrous chemical metallurgy.  Dr. Frank Crundwell I have known for many years. Frank is Director of a metallurgical laboratory, CM Solutions Pty Ltd, in Johannesburg. The Wadsworth Award acknowledges distinguishing contributions to science and technology of non-ferrous chemical metallurgy and Frank was nominated on the basis of his work in hydrometallurgy, leaching and the development of the theory of dissolution. The citation reads: "for innovative, rigorous contributions that have enhanced fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of oxidative and non-oxidative leaching of non-ferrous minerals, including sulfides, oxides and silicates”.

Frank with his award

The Robert H. Richards Award recognises achievement in any form which unmistakably furthers the art of mineral beneficiation in any of its branches. The award goes deservedly to Dr. Michael Mankosa, the Executive Vice President of Global Technologies for Eriez Magnetics located in Erie, PA.  He is the inventor of Eriez's HydroFloat Cell for flotation at coarse particle sizes, and the StackCell, both of which were featured at Flotation '19

With Mike at the 2017 SME Meeting in Denver

The HydroFloat technology combines fluidised-bed separation and flotation and has been successfully demonstrated in sulfide applications for recovering coarse values from concentrator tailings. Mike tells me that he feels the mining world is finally waking up to the benefits of a coarser grind and the associated benefits of increased capacity and better water recovery. Newcrest in Australia is expanding their coarse particle recovery (CPR) circuit to the full plant and Pinto Valley in Arizona has put out press releases speaking of the success of the Eriez pilot test program and their intent to implement CPR.

Anglo American has recently announced approval of the construction of a CPR plant at its in-development Quellaveco copper project in Peru. CPR, Anglo says, is one of many significant breakthrough technology initiatives that has the potential to increase throughput and productivity, while simultaneously reducing environmental footprint, through rejection of coarse gangue, dry stacking of sand waste, minimising the production of traditional tailings and reducing overall water consumption.

The CPR plant signoff at Quellaveco follows a full-scale demo plant installation at the company’s El Soldado mine in Chile – which is ramping up to full capacity by mid-2021 – and the decision to construct a full-scale system at the Mogalakwena North PGM concentrator in South Africa. The El Soldado plant uses a single 5m diameter HydroFloat cell, the largest in the world, treating 100% of mill throughput, with the objective of proving the waste rejection process at full scale.

We will no doubt hear more of all these developments in November, as Eriez is one of the sponsors of Flotation '21, but in the meantime many congratulations to Courtney, Frank and Mike for their richly deserved awards.


Thursday, 4 March 2021

A final call for abstracts for Sustainable Minerals '21

Sustainable Minerals '21, originally scheduled to be held in Falmouth, will now be held as a virtual event from June 21st to 23rd. This, MEI's 6th International Symposium on Sustainable Minerals, is the postponed Sustainable Minerals '20, which was affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. It is organised by MEI in consultation with Prof Markus Reuter and is sponsored by FLSmidth. Media sponsor is International Mining, and the Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution (CEEC), the Cornwall Mining Alliance and the Critical Minerals Association are Industry Associates.

We are pleased to advise that the online website is now live, and you can submit your abstracts to this and register for the event. The deadline for abstract submission is the end of March.

We have three well known experts presenting keynote lectures.  "Mining and complexity: a new look at old concepts" will be presented by Prof. Anna Littleboy, of the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia. Prof. Luis Marcelo Tavares, of the University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will present "Process simulation for improving life cycle assessment in the minerals industry" and "The war on waste’ How could the mining industry respond?" will be presented by Dr. Anita Parbhakar-Fox, of the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland.

All presenters will be invited to submit papers after the conference. These will be peer-reviewed and, if accepted, published immediately in the first available regular issue of Minerals Engineering, and included in the Virtual Special Issue of the conference on ScienceDirect. This is an ideal opportunity to present your work to an international audience and have your paper published in a refereed journal of high repute, the conference itself providing initial peer-review via discussion.

The latest updates are at #SustainableMinerals21.

Monday, 1 March 2021

February: the first steps to normality?

A sad start to the month with the news that Sir Tom Moore (posting of 1st May 2020) had died of Covid in hospital. He was an inspirational figure who walked 100 lengths of his garden just before his 100th birthday, with the ambitious aim of raising £1000 for the NHS and ended up raising more than £32 million!

On the 4th of the month 10 million people in UK had been given the first vaccine jab, and the chief medical officer declared that we were now past the peak of the 2nd Covid wave. On the 14th of the month more than 15 million people in the UK had had their first coronavirus vaccine, an extraordinary feat by the NHS, reached just over two months after the first jab was given on 8 December. On the 22nd Boris Johnson announced his "road map" out of the pandemic, saying "the crocus of hope is poking through the frost and spring is on its way..."

Like many regular travellers it is now over 12 months since I last boarded a plane. That was on February 26th 2020, a flight from Phoenix to London Heathrow. On that afternoon I had just left the SME Annual Meeting where I had visited the exhibition for the last time and called in to see one of our Comminution '20 sponsors, ME Elecmetal, who were looking forward to attending the conference in Cape Town two months later. Not to be, of course, and that postponed event will now take place online two months from now, this year's SME Meeting, planned for Denver, now beginning today online.

ME Elecmetal delegates on the last day of SME 2020

Covid infection rates have fallen markedly in the UK and down here in Cornwall the infection rate is now very low, but with foreign travel looking risky this year, we are expecting a huge influx of visitors when the summer arrives. Cornwall is one of the most attractive holiday destinations, but have you ever wondered why Cornwall is also the best place in the UK for geothermal projects? Two excellent short videos, one for the younger people who might be interested, explain it all.

The Geothermal Explainer video shows why Cornwall is such a good resource for geothermal energy, and looks at the geology and the history of the rocks, showing how the United Downs Deep Geothermal Project targets a fault structure and aims to intersect it to produce heat.

Miss Molecules Geothermal Mission, aimed at the youngsters, looks at the environment, global warming and renewable energy sources. The 6 minute animation follows Miss Molecule (a H2O water molecule) through the geothermal system at the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project to learn how it works.