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.



  1. Barry, thanks for the kind words. I was stunned when I received the announcement and am still stunned. Sent you some pics by email. Feel free to use them. Wish we would have been face to face and I will do everything I can to make it to Flotation '21. Tell Barb hello. Loved the pic of her and me. God Bless! Courtney

    1. Thanks Courtney. Hope to catch up soon. Shame I could not see you, Frank and Mike collect your awards in Denver as originally scheduled

  2. Congratulations to all awardees and hope new technologies will help mankind


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