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.


  1. It is a fitting tribute to Tony Holland-Batt and I join you in expressing my sadness and express my sympathies and condolences to his family.
    Though I never met Tony, reading your Blog with attention brings a thought to me--" what a full life they lived"The academic career,the basic degree. the range of jobs they did, their contribution of significance to whichever organisation they worked for. the travels,the large range of persons they must  have met and interacted--getting a mention on MEI Blg -- galaxy of that generation like Tony.Your Blog has a subtle message to all in any profession--more in need to our  young Mineral Engineering students--do a job to the best of your ability(apart from the salary}, enjoy and get happiness from the profession etc.

  2. Thank you Barry, for the tribute you have created for Tony. He will be forever missed by his family and friends, and I know that he valued you as one of the latter. Tony had an insatiable appetite for new knowledge, whether it be in Science, Music or the Arts and that continued to his death. He was always working and carried a lifelong passion for sizing particles and their movement in fluids. His mantra was 'work is only work if you'd rather be doing something else' and he used this as an excuse for being in his study most evenings and again on the weekends. Living with him for fifty years gave me the opportunity for travel and adventure which I enjoyed so much.

    Jenny Holland-Batt

    1. Thanks Jenny. I only wish that I had got to know Tony better, but being separated by 12,000 miles didn't help. We had a lot in common, including his mantra 'work is only work if you'd rather be doing something else'.
      On behalf of Barbara and me, fond regards to you and Sarah.


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