Thursday, 26 May 2016

in brief: Chinese company latest Comminution '18 sponsor; More Copperbelt faces; Subscribe to blog updates; Recent comments

Chinese company is latest Comminution '18 sponsor
We are pleased to welcome King's Ceramics & Chemicals as the latest sponsor of Comminution '18. It has been a pleasure to get to know their team from Beijing, who also sponsored Comminution '16 and Comminution '14.
The King's booth at Comminution '16
The company is a member of the Chinalight Group, founded in 1952, and one of the renowned state owned enterprises in China. It is the largest grinding media supplier in Asia.
Current Comminution '18 sponsors are:
More Copperbelt Faces
Last month Barbara and I had lunch in Cape Town with Roger and Janet Thomas, and Rod and Kathy Whyte, reminiscing about the 1970s in Chingola (posting of 19th April).
Rod and Kathy met up with Dave and Judy Deuchar recently at ‘The Bell’ pub in Knysna, South Africa. I am sure many of you will remember Dave, who is now fully retired. He and Judy live in Knysna, but frequently travel to family and friends in Johannesburg and Australia. Dave is a regular golfer at Pezula, a lovely links course situated on the Knysna Heads. 
Rod and Kathy with Dave and Judy
Dave is not an avid internet user, but if you remember him and would like to leave a comment, I am sure that Rod, who is subscribed to blog updates, will pass the message on.

Subscribe to blog updates
And talking of blog updates, if you are a regular reader of the MEI blog, then you should subscribe to receiving blog alerts by email. Just enter your email address in the box in the right hand column to receive these free alerts. If you are a Facebook user you can also see what is happening on the blog by joining the 600 people who 'like' MEI Conferences. Or you may like to follow us on LinkedIn on the MEI Conferences page, which now has almost 800 followers. And Twitter also has all the latest blog and MEI Online updates (Twitter @barrywills).

Recent comments on blog postings
The following blog postings have received comments since the last comments update:

Prof. Laxman ("Lucky") Amaratunga 1943-2016
Controversial "invisible gold" paper published
Comminution '16 Conference Diary
Twitter @barrywills

Monday, 23 May 2016

Update on the Department of Mining and Process Engineering at the Namibia University of Science and Technology

Last year I reported how John Ralston (posting of 27 May 2014), founding Director of the Ian Wark Research Institute in Australia, has been helping the Polytechnic of Namibia to transform to University status. John is now back in Namibia at the newly formed Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and tells me that the first stage of the recruitment drive to the Department of Mining and Process Engineering (DMPE) has been very successful.
There are now sixteen academic staff working in the Department, with a further five support staff giving a complement of twenty one. John says that the Department is very well led by its energetic Head, Associate Professor Harmony Musiyarira, who has a PhD fromWitwatersrand University. Harmony is an experienced metallurgical and environmental engineer, who has a fine combination of industrial and academic experience.
I was pleased to see that recent appointments include Professor Jonas Addai-Mensah. I have known Jonas for many years, and last caught up with him at ALTA 2011 in Perth (posting of 30 May 2011). He is a highly respected international researcher with wide experience in minerals processing and was formerly Professor and Associate Director at the WARK Institute, University of South Australia.
With Jonas in Perth, 2011
Other minerals engineering appointments are Associate Professor Chris Magombedze, who has a PhD from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Associate Professor Dick Groot, whose PhD was from the University of Port Elizabeth. Chris is a very experienced Metallurgical Engineer and has held key professional, leadership and management positions during career stints with Sanyati Copper Mine, University of Zimbabwe, NTNU, BHP Billiton, Barrick Gold, Xstrata Copper and MMG Australia, and Dick is a highly experienced hydrometallurgist with extensive academic experience at the University of Pretoria preceded by a distinguished career as a Principal Scientist at Mintek.
John Ralston with Dick, Harmony, Jonas and Chris at Rosh Pinah Zinc, Namibia
John informs me that the DMPE has recently moved into a new $200MNAM building, with excellent facilities, which it shares with Civil Engineering. There has been a very substantial upgrading of equipment with more to follow in 2017 and 2018. In addition there will be another three academic staff vacancies available shortly at Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer/ Lecturer level. The support staff numbers are also being increased. Importantly a new undergraduate strand in chemical engineering is to be introduced in 2017, incorporated within the Process Engineering of DMPE.
I am sure we will hear much more of this exciting new African University, so look out for more updates!
Twitter @barrywills

Friday, 20 May 2016

The Summer Season of Cornish Mining Sundowners commences

The mining sundowner was back at Falmouth's Chain Locker pub last night for the summer months. However, the dozen or so who turned up were confined indoors due to the wet and cool conditions outside. Much of the conversation concerned the state of the mining industry, and the effect that it is having on members of the newly formed Cornwall Mining Alliance (posting of 19th May).
I was pleased to see CSM biohydrometallurgists Chris Bryan and Paul Norris. Chris is one of MEI's three consultants to next months Biohydromet '16, and both he and Paul will be presenting papers. We discussed progress of the event with Bentley Orchard, formerly of Weir Minerals, who is a member of a Cornish male-voice choir which will be entertaining us at the conference dinner at Hartlands, in the centre of the old Camborne-Redruth mining district.
Chris, Bentley, me and Paul

There was also talk of the forthcoming EU Referendum, with everyone I talked to in favour of staying in the EU. The referendum takes place on June 23rd, the date of the next sundowner at the Chain Locker, where we will be joined by delegates from Sustainable Minerals '16, thirsty after completing their late afternoon coastal path walk.
There was also some very sad news last night, of Richard Osman, a geologist who graduated from Camborne School of Mines with an MSc in Geology in 1998. He was the only British passenger on the EgyptAir plane which crashed yesterday en route to Cairo from Paris. Richard was travelling to do work for Centamin, a gold mining exploration and development company. Richard's second child was born only three weeks ago, and our thoughts are with his family and all who knew him.

Twitter @barrywills

Thursday, 19 May 2016

In brief: Metso best supplier to Chile; Introducing Cornwall Mining Alliance; Recent comments on blog postings

Metso best supplier to Chilean mining industry
Good to hear that regular MEI Conferences sponsor Metso has been awarded first place in the Best Performance Supplier category in the Mineral Processing segment, according to the results of the fifth "Ranking of Suppliers of the Mining Industry" made by Phibrand, a company specializing in industry marketing.
According to this survey, Metso was awarded first place as the company with the Best Performance in the past year in all sub-segments associated with the Minerals Processing category and thus received all the prizes: Best company in crushing solutions, Best company in mill solutions, Best Company in plant maintenance.

Introducing the Cornwall Mining Alliance
Cornwall is well known as the birthplace of modern mining, once being the world's largest producer of copper and tin. Now these mines no longer remain, although there is still a thriving industry in the mining of china clay. The Camborne School of Mines, established in 1888, is a lasting legacy of the importance of this area.
Mining and mineral processing are still active, however, in this remote and beautiful area of England, which is now home to a unique concentration of innovative businesses, organisations and experienced professionals providing services to all aspects of mining and related industries in the UK and around the world. The recently formed Cornwall Mining Alliance connects these experts and provides the right people for specific jobs. The impressive array of members can be seen in the Alliance Directory. Expect to hear much more of this organisation in the future.
Recent comments on blog postings
As the Recent Comments widget has, for no apparent reason, ceased to function, this is to advise that the following blog postings have received comments this month:
Twitter @barrywills

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Prof. Laxman ("Lucky") Amaratunga 1943-2016

Sad news in today from Canada of Lucky Amaratunga, who passed away at home in Sudbury on the morning of May 16th.
 Lucky graduated from the Camborne School of Mines in 1974, the year that I commenced my duties as a lecturer, so we missed each other by a few months. I first met him and his wife Nandanie ("Nan") at Minerals Engineering '91 in Singapore (posting of 20th February 2011), and was immediately captured by his enthusiasm and friendliness, and his infectious cheerfulness.
Lucky (right) with CSM alumni and staff in Singapore, 1991
We kept in touch ever since, and the last time I saw him was at the MetSoc Conference of Metallurgists in 2011, where I attended a luncheon celebrating his life (posting of 5th October 2011). In 2005 Lucky was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which forced him to use a motorised wheel chair for mobility. He refused to be defeated by the handicap and at that time was carrying on with his full teaching load and research.
With Lucky and Laurentian colleague Louis Mercier in Montreal, 2011
Laxman ("Lucky") Mahendra Amaratunga was born in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, on April 8th, 1943 and graduated in Physical Science at the University of Ceylon in 1969. He and his wife Nan then moved to the UK where he graduated at the Camborne School of Mines in 1974 with a first class honours degree in Mining Engineering. He then moved to the University of Birmingham where he obtained a PhD in mineral procesing in 1978. He then became a research fellow at Birmingham from 1978 to 1980, after which he and Nan emigrated to Canada, where he was a research associate at the University of Toronto. In 1984 he joined Laurentian University and became a full professor in 1993.
He was an active member of CIM and in 1997 was awarded the prestigious CIM Fellowship for his outstanding contributions to the CIM and CMP, and was awarded the CIM Distinguished Lecturer for 1999-2000. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Canadian Mineral Processors’ Lifetime Achievement Award, a recognition of his demonstrated excellence in the science of mineral beneficiation and ongoing contribution to the CMP.
Lucky's full and productive life and career have made him a role model for the young students and researchers who will follow him in the years to come. On behalf of MEI I would like to express my sincere condolences to Nan and their daughter Amanda and son Ruwan, and I would like to invite all the many people who knew Lucky to share their memories on this posting.
Twitter @barrywills

Monday, 16 May 2016

Innovations in Crushing Technology

Last month's Comminution '16 highlighted the many innovations that are taking place in comminution, the most important, yet the most energy intensive, area of the mineral processing flowsheet.
Grinding is evolving and changing fast, with innovations in high pressure grinding rolls and stirred mills threatening to make the tumbling mill, which has been a stalwart for well over a century, obsolete.
But innovation in crushing has not been so rapid, and most of the developments reported in this area have been in control, simulation and optimisation of crushing circuits, rather than in new developments in the machines themselves. Indeed only two years ago, at Comminution '14, Tim Napier-Munn in his keynote lecture observed that in the 1970s Professor Klaus Schonert showed that the most energy-efficient way to break a rock was to place it between two opposed platens and load it until it fractured in tension, this simple mechanism seriously limiting the options regarding real innovation in the comminution process. To support this view he showed a slide of one of today’s cone crushers showing that in all material respects it is identical to a cone crusher manufactured in the 1930s.
So it was good to see new developments in crushers on display last month. South African company Crush Force was promoting a radically new energy efficient and cost effective development in cone crusher design, departing from the traditional stationary concave and moving mantle. They claim that the new development removes the complex drive systems entering the machine from the bottom, and offers a simpler more robust solution, and due to the higher pressures and greater range of movement possible in the crushing chamber of this design many options are opened up that are not available on traditional designs. Reduction ratios are much higher which opens up a vast field of applications that could never be achieved with cone crushers before.
Demonstration of the new Crush Force cone crusher
Also on display was the EDS multi-shaft mill, a novel device combining a series of rotating shafts with attached flingers which impact gravity fed material. Currently the mill is at pilot plant scale operating with a F80 below 40 mm and milling up to 80 tph, depending on ore type. A 1:4 scale model of the 10 shaft mill was on view, showing how the milling action combines a number of processes to provide an output product to match various specifications.
The EDS pilot scale mill
I am sure that we will hear and see more of these and other innovative devices at Comminution '18. It would also be good to hear more of a novel device, which I had not heard of before I saw a recent article in Australian Mining.
The IMPTEC Super Fine Crusher, invented by Chris Kelsey of IMP Technology, is claimed to be able to produce fine particles under dramatically reduced energy use. Apparently the crusher can crush materials of almost any hardness including zircon, quartz or garnet, in the range D50 of 5 microns, media free, in a wet or dry environment, making it unique and highly desirable for industrial mineral industries across the globe.
The crusher has gone through a number of adaptations to be scaled up and tested in trials at Hallett Concrete in South Australia. Supporters of the project include the South Australian government’s Mining Industry Participation Office and several mining and quarrying companies operating in South Australia, who agree the technology is set to change the industry across the globe with huge implications on costs and productivity, if it proves successful in a commercial setting. IMP Technology managing director and CEO John Doherty said the team was passionately dedicated to the project and excited about the prospect of exporting their technology to the world. Comminution '18 would be an ideal place to showcase it!
Twitter @barrywills