Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Good news from Namibia

I have received an email from John Ralston, founding Director of the Ian Wark Research Institute in Australia (posting of 27 May 2014).  John has been helping the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) to transform to University status and he has just returned to Adelaide after his sixth visit to Namibia, which he says has been very productive and pleasant.

The PoN has just become a fully-fledged university, the Namibia University of Science and Technology. The Department of Mining and Process Engineering is growing well- six new staff have been appointed including three new Associate Professors/Professors from the Universities of Clausthal (Germany), Pretoria (South Africa) and Western Australia, all with useful practical experience, complemented by an excellent Russian materials scientist from Ekaterinburg and two engineers from industry [ both with master degrees]. A new building has just been completed, equipment is coming and lots of new plans are afoot. Expect to hear much more of this new University in future.

Meanwhile in neighbouring South Africa, the temperature today in the Winelands was a much more pleasant 30C, and we drove north east of Wellington, stopping off at the picturesque Doolhof Wine Estate, nestling under the Bainskloof Pass, before driving over the impressive pass for lunch in the small town of Tulbagh.


Bainskloof Pass
This was our second visit to Tulbagh (posting of 22nd April 2010) and we spent some time on Church Street, which has an 18th and 19th century streetscape perfectly restored after the devastation of an earthquake in September 1969.

Church Street, Tulbagh

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Paarl Mountain- a geological wonder

An interesting day in intense- 37C - heat in the Paarl region. After calling in at the beautiful Rhebokskloof wine estate for coffee, we took the dirt road which climbs into the Paarl Mountain Reserve.

The three rounded outcrops that make up Paarl Mountain is the second largest granite outcrop in the world and forms part of the Nature Reserve for which Paarl is well known. Paarl Granite belongs to a group of granites known as the Cape Granite, known to have intruded into the crust of the earth between about 548 million years ago, up to the last events at about 488 million years ago; most of the intrusive action seems to have been in the time period 525-501 million years ago, and the cooling period must have taken many millions of years.

On top of Paarl Rock

The outcrops are certainly impressive, and after a few sort walks we returned to Paarl for a late lunch at La Grande Roche Hotel with its stunning view across the Paarl Valley.
The view from La Grande Roche

Monday, 23 November 2015

Normal Minerals Engineering services will resume next week

Both my associate editor, Pablo, and I were involved with Flotation '15 last week, and I am now in a very hot Cape Winelands, armed only with my iPad, which is unfortunately incompatible with the Elsevier online system.

So I ask authors to be patient for another week, after which I will hopefully rapidly erode the backlog.

Thirty two centigrade today, compared with eleven back home in Falmouth, so we sought the shade of the oak trees in the two wine estates that we visited, Fairview and Delheim.

Fairview, Paarl
Approaching Delheim, Stellenbosch wine route

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Post-conference tours

Only two days ago we were freezing at the top of Table mountain, but today Barbara and I met up with Elsevier's Dean Eastbury for lunch in a hot and sunny Franschhoek. Dean is in the wine lands for a few days before flying off to Kosi Bay, the most northerly resort on the KwaZulu-Natal coast. It will be interesting to hear how his trip goes - in fact it would be interesting to hear from all Flotation '15 delegates who stayed on after the conference to experience the delights of this beautiful country.

We are in the wine lands for 6 nights, based in Wellington. Jon, Kathryn and Josephine are at the Cape Town Waterfront, while poor old Amanda is already back in the UK.  Not all leisure though- I will be working on my report on Flotation '15 this week, which I hope to publish a week tomorrow.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Flotation '15's cold hike up Table Mountain

After yesterday's heat, cool and showery conditions made the regular MEI Conferences'  hike up Table Mountain relatively easy,  and for the first time a cup of hot chocolate, rather than 2 large glasses of ice cold beer, was a  welcoming experience at the summit.

Only 10 conference delegates braved this afternoon's walk in the rain, but I am sure it was an experience that they will always remember.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Happy hours at Flotation '15

We are now into the final session of Flotation '15 and the feedback is that this has been a fine conference with some outstanding presentations.

It has also been a great networking event, due in no small way to the end of sessions 'happy hours', where, over a few glasses of wine, we have shared anecdotes in the magnificent Vineyard gardens at the foot of Table Mountain.