Thursday, 7 October 2021

The CSM Annual Dinner is back after a long enforced break

After a Coronavirus break of two and a half years (posting of 31 March 2019), the Camborne School of Mines Annual Dinner bounced back last Saturday with a surprisingly good turnout at the Falmouth Hotel, considering that many of the usual alumni from overseas were unable to travel, and the current fuel shortage prevented some travelling from up-country.

Good to be back at the Falmouth Hotel
Photo: Silje Lovstad

One past student who made it all the way from Canada was 1980 mining graduate John Sammut, one of my diving 'buddies' from the late 1970s. John now teaches mineral processing as an Industrial Professor of Mining Engineering at the University of Alberta and he is pictured below with me and his contemporary, mineral processing graduate Nick Wilshaw, managing director and founder of Cornwall-based Grinding Solutions Ltd.

Me, Nick and John

It was planned to have two alumni present a pre-recorded after-dinner speech from Ghana, but unfortunately one of them developed Covid a few days before the dinner, so everyone was grateful to 87-year old Dr. Peter Hackett for stepping in to talk about how CSM has changed since his days as Principal from 1970-1994. This very well received talk was followed by a look to the future from the recently appointed head of school Prof. Stephen Hesselbo, and current Student Union President Alice Burdett presented her own overview of recent developments at CSM.

Peter, Alice and Stephen

Peter Hackett was Principal for all but two of my 22 years at CSM, and neither of us could have envisaged the remarkable gender diversity which developed over the following years, and which I remarked on at some length when describing the 2018 Annual Dinner. Back in our time women weren't even allowed underground, but now the Student Union President is a woman and a mining engineer! Alice has just completed her 2nd year in Mining Engineering. She is passionate about pursuing a future career in mining and is currently an intern with British Fluorpar Ltd in Derbyshire.

And also great to see that the Union Vice-President is Alexandra (Lexi) Clarke, a 3rd year geology student currently working as an intern for GemFair and the DeBeers Group for a placement regarding artisanal diamond mining in Sierra Leone. 

Alice and Lexi are photographed below with previous Union Presidents, Mark Whitfield (2013-14), Luc Phillips (2018-19) and Freddie Foster (2020-21).

Mark, Luc, Alice, Lexi and Freddie
Photo: Silje Lovstad

Considering that Annual Dinners in the past were all-male affairs, it is great to see how the mining world is changing.

Photos: Silje Lovstad

Last Saturday's dinner was a wonderful event and we don't have to wait too long for the next one, which is planned for March 2022. The CSM Association, and its student committee, deserve hearty congratulations for organising this event under difficult circumstances, and a special thanks must go to Dr. Carol Richards who has worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition. A big thanks also to the staff of the Falmouth Hotel, for providing great food and exemplary friendly service.



  1. Good to see so many happy faces on a Land Mark Day--such bonding amongst professionals belonging to Mineral Industry had been the tradition and I am happy that it is being continued at CSM--
    Yes, so many of the other gender are taking the Centre stage--augurs well to all areas of mineral industry; takes me back to the first girl student we had in our B.Tech in Mineral Engineering program at Indian School of Mines in early'80s
    Wish you all the best and happy reunion in the New Year

  2. A very nice write up on the Dinner, thanks for promoting and reviewing it to MEI followers, with a very timely commentary on the gender balance.
    Patrick Foster, CSM, Cornwall

    1. Thanks Pat. Look forward to seeing you at the next sundowner at the Chain Locker

  3. Great to see the dnner back in action - had planned to go March 2020 to catch up, but to no avail, hopefully see you all next March!

  4. Thanks for the write-up Barry. It's the first Annual Dinner I've missed for 30 years! Sam Wood

  5. barbara and barry you are always on top.God bless you.

  6. So proud of my dad, Dr Peter Hackett …small correction. 87 years, 88 in a few weeks time. Quite an achievement
    Cathie Clarke, Oakstedge Property Limited, UK

    1. Hi Cathie, you should be proud. He did amazing things at CSM and in no small way shaped my career. Sorry about the error, which I have corrected


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