Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Flotation '19- first announcement

Last month's Flotation '17 was one of MEI's most successful conferences, thanks to an excellent technical programme and a fine mix of researchers, suppliers and operators.
Now we look towards 2019, and we are pleased to announce that the website for Flotation '19 is now live.
Once again we will be at Cape Town's Vineyard Hotel, and the conference has got off to a flying start with four of our regular sponsors supporting us as usual. We thank Axis House, FLSmidth, Maelgwyn Mineral Services and Magotteaux, and also our faithful media partner International Mining, who clearly are aware of the advantages that early sponsorship brings, in terms of pre-conference exposure on the blog, MEI Online, Twitter, LinkedIn, as well as via flyers distributed at major international conferences.
 If you would like to sponsor the conference, full details can be found on the website.
We have 23 exhibition booths in the area where delegates break out for coffee and lunch, and where two of the evening social events will be held.  Already 5 booths have been sold, so we advise that you reserve your preferred space as soon as possible. The poster displays are also in the same area. Jaisen Kohmuench, Managing Director of Eriez Australia was clearly impressed "From a presenter's perspective, it was a pleasure being able to provide a talk to an interested and engaged audience. From a booth exhibitor's perspective, we had a constant influx of visitors which made the long trip (and expense) over to Cape Town that much more worthwhile".
Evening sundowner in the exhibition area
The venue for the conference dinner is still being arranged, but I can promise that it will be somewhere special, and will supplement the other two evening sundowners which will be held in the Vineyard gardens, with the backdrop of Table Mountain.
 So, November 11-14, 2019 should be dates for your diaries if you have any involvement with this most crucial of processes. Regular updates will be posted on Twitter, via the hashtag #Flotation19.
 Twitter @barrywills

Monday, 11 December 2017

A new laboratory honours the memory of Prof. Peter King

One of the great names in mineral processing was Prof. Peter King, who sadly passed away eleven years ago, only three years after being awarded the IMPC’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 IMPC in Cape Town.
Peter and Ellen King at the 2003 IMPC in Cape Town
Peter was Professor of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah for 17 years, and prior to that was Professor of Metallurgy at Wits University, South Africa. He made major contributions to flotation modelling and liberation analysis, was the editor of International Journal of Mineral Processing, and authored a number of state of the art books.
The School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand last month held a ceremony to mark the naming of the Peter King Minerals Processing Laboratory in recognition of Prof. King's contribution to the mathematical modelling of minerals processing. The ceremony was attended by industry, Peter's former students, and guests of honour, his wife, Ellen and son, Andrew.
Ellen and Andrew at the opening ceremony
Wits Professor Sehliselo Ndlovu, President of the Southern African Institute of Mining Metallurgy, said the laboratory would ensure the continuation of Prof. King’s vision, who was passionate about capacity building and world-renowned for developing useful techniques to quantify mineral liberation.
Former students described Prof. King as a great teacher who instilled confidence and a desire for continual progress, especially among the average students.
Prof. Michael Moys spoke of his experience of Peter King:
Michael Moys
It has been a personally valuable experience for me to prepare this “view of Peter King by a past student”. Peter had a determining effect on me for most of my adult life.
I first met Peter at a conference in Johannesburg in 1971. He delivered a paper dealing with Finite Dams. (It was above me; I remember very little but I remember wondering what an Infinite Dam was!). But I was impressed with his style and depth of presentation and enjoyed meeting with him after the paper. We got round to possible postgrad studies… and the rest is history!
I went to do an MSc at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Natal – later called the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  Peter was my supervisor and I found myself a member of a large number of other students with the same fate. Peter was extremely busy and appointments were difficult to come by; but when I had them they were of great value. Peter was 100% with me for those interviews and these helped me though several hurdles over the next few years. In the end I had a PhD which I enjoyed and still value and which is still cited – with no small Gratitude to Peter at the end of it.
The Department was dominated at that time by 2 giants of South Africa Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering: Peter King and Ted Woodburn. They supported and competed intensely. Allow me to reminisce briefly about Ted. Ted would arrive in the morning in his Mini Minor. Those of you who knew Ted – a very large man- can imagine Ted extricating himself from the Mini! Ted's other idiosyncrasy was his habit of Management by Walking Around (MWA) chewing his tie. Ted also had a remarkable laugh which defies description and echoed through the building every now and then. Peter kept his cool!
In approximately 1974 Peter entrusted my with the delivery of a paper on his Magnum Opus (at that time) a paper on his simulator, FLOTE,  of flotation plants of arbitrary complexity. This was at an AIME conference in Dallas, Texas.  There were no questions after the delivery - I had obviously covered the topic in brilliant clarity! -but the main benefit of this trip for me was the purchase of a “Fly Anywhere” ticket which made possible visits to New Orleans, Washington, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. This was a wonderful experience for me made possible by Peter’s generosity.
A short word about MODSIM is valuable here. He worked continuously since the production of FLOTE to bring into being the generalized mineral processing simulator MODSIM. This was continuously refined and used extensively for teaching at both postgrad and undergrad level. I used it for at least 25 years at Wits and it is still being used. Early in its development it became the reference simulator for Mineral Processing used by several of his competitors. MODSIM is still the best simulator of comminution in existence.
On the way to this conference I visited Peter and Ellen and their family at UMIST for a few days while Peter  was there on Sabbatical, and was glad to deepen my friendship with the family, especially with their three children who entertained me enormously for a day or two while I recovered from a bout of flu.
In 2000 I attended the Rome IMPC. There I met Peter and Ellen and learnt about Peter’s illness. He assured us that he had it under control. I was shocked and saddened but also buoyed up by his optimism and undiminished vitality and zest for life.
In 2002 Denise and I were back in Salt Lake City and spent a day with Peter and Ellen. We had a memorable lunch and long discussions into the afternoon, some of it further discussions about MODSIM and its use in teaching.  Denise and I were still suffering from jet lag and were tempted to excuse ourselves; Peter would have none of it. He and Ellen took us on a walk through a nearby botanical garden specializing on plants typical of the SLC environs. Peter was  in good health  and stretched us to the full. After a short rest (tolerated by Peter) we went out to a memorable dinner. Peter’s vitality and enthusiasm  were  undimmed.
On 11th September 2006 we had the news that Peter had passed away. I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of a remarkable scholar and teacher who had a huge impact on my life. I have thought often of him as a colleague of tremendous energy, integrity and productivity, and as a friend who set a remarkable standard for his work and for his presence and friendship to those who were close to him.
The last word was penned by John Herbst, erstwhile Head of the Metallurgical Engineering  Department of the University of Utah:
The World Lost an outstanding scholar and human being on September 11, 2006, when Peter King died at the age of 68.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

89th birthday greetings to Prof. Douglas Fuerstenau

Two years ago I had the enormous privilege of interviewing Prof. Doug Fuerstenau,  P. Malozemoff Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, for the MEI blog (posting of 20 July 2015). One of the all-time greats of mineral processing, Doug is 89 years old today, and we all wish him the very best as he enters his 90th year.
I am sure, however, that he and his wife of 64 years, Peggy, will want to put 2017 well behind them, as they were very much affected by the devastating fires that struck Napa and Sonoma Counties in Northern California in early October. Doug and Peggy live in a retirement village in Sonoma County and some 2000 homes were burned in Santa Rosa, but those in the Spring Lake Village where they live were spared.
The remains of Sarah and Scott's home
Doug and Peggy's daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law Scott, were not so fortunate, however, as their house in Glen Ellen, about 10 miles away, was completely incinerated, with everything in it. Doug and Peggy lost the storage building that had been constructed on Scott’s one-acre lot to store the many things that Doug had kept, related more or less to professional work.
Doug says that despite all this, they are thankful to be alive, as 44 people died in the fires. He said "one reads about disasters, but almost always the effects do not impinge on one personally.   Peg had two or three boxes with two complete sets of her very good china tableware plus antique goblets, etc. None survived.  Reprints of all my publications are ashes, including all of the original drawings of figures for theses and papers, reports, correspondence, some data files, very old books, Kodachrome slides, cameras, antique mining lamps, etc.  Whenever I think about looking  for something, I realize that it now has been burned to ashes or melted".
We wish Doug, Peggy and their family all the good fortune for 2018, and I am sure that if any of you have copies of Doug's publications and memorabilia, he would be very pleased to hear from you.

Monday, 4 December 2017

The rapidly evolving world of comminution is reflected in the Comminution '18 programme

Comminution '18 is the 11th in MEI's series of comminution conferences, and how the field has changed over the years. Prof. Alban Lynch, the first Director of Australia's JKMRC, said in 2003: "Comminution must be the key mineral processing technology during the next 50 years," and so it is without doubt. Last month at Flotation '17 in Cape Town I emphasised the crucial importance of flotation, "the world's most important technology", but flotation could not function without efficient comminution, which has had to evolve rapidly with the need to grind ores finer, and to do so with the minimum expenditure of energy. Worldwide the mining industry consumes around 2% of all electrical energy, and comminution is the major consumer, so great efforts are now made to reduce energy consumption, as well as water consumption, which is also critical.
Over 90 papers have been accepted for presentation at Comminution '18, and the provisional timetable is now available.
At the final panel discussion at Comminution '14 (posting of 5 May 2014), Prof. Tim Napier-Munn said that in terms of the future of comminution "we really have to get rid of tumbling mills". Four years on, there is no mention of rod mills in the programme- are these now finally obsolete? Ball mills would have dominated comminution conferences little over a decade ago, but they are mentioned only 5 times in the programme. SAG mills are still of major importance, but in his keynote lecture, Holger Lieberwirth, of TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany, will ask whether SAG mills will still be relevant in 50 years time.
The programme highlights that there are many new ideas out there,  new crusher developments, HPGRs, fine grinding devices and circuits, all offering new approaches and much hope for the future.
So, the Vineyard Hotel, in Cape Town's quiet suburb of Claremont, will be the place to be in April, not only for the fine, state-of-the-art technical programme, but for the many networking opportunities that will be available.
As always, lunches and coffee breaks will be in the exhibition and poster display area. If you are interested in exhibiting, you can view the display area here. Two of the cocktail functions, the Sunday welcoming pre-registration, and one of the afternoon 'sundowners' will be held in the exhibition area, the two other sundowners in the magnificent Vineyard gardens. The informal conference dinner will be at Lagoon Beach, with its iconic view of Table Mountain across the bay.
Vineyard scenes at Comminution '16
My report on Comminution '16 will give you some idea of what to expect. We expect more people next year, as the industry begins to pull itself out of the trough, and hopefully an increasing number of operators, which was good to see at last month's Flotation '17.
Finally, many thanks to our sponsors- we really do appreciate your support.
Current sponsors
Congratulations on a great conference [Comminution '16]. Good papers, made more powerful by a single stream which meant high attendance at each session, and good long breaks for informal discussions throughout the day, and meals in a spacious vendors area to encourage circulation. A great formula for a conference - quality over quantity, and time for discussion and networking and to keep the energy levels high. I wish all conferences could manage this balance so well."
Joe Pease, Mineralis Consulting, Chairman CEEC
More testimonials, and regular conference updates at #comminution18.
Twitter @barrywills

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Christmas is a-coming

Only a week after our last Camborne School of Mines Association event we were in Redruth today for the annual CSMA Christmas lunch.
Although fewer people than usual, it was really good to see Penda Diallo, the only current CSM staff member in attendance, who took up her duties at the School only 3 months ago. This was her second CSMA outing, and she tells me that she is really enjoying her new life in Cornwall. Below are a few photos taken at the Penventon Hotel today:
With Nick Wilshaw and Penda Diallo

Barbara with John Eyre, Steve Wilson and Nick Slade

Barbara with Phil and Joan Oliver and John Hills