With around 675 papers presented in 17 themed symposia, and an associated exhibition, this report can only scratch the surface of the week's activities. MEI's involvement was mainly with the exhibition, so I invite all those who attended the Congress to submit their comments at the end of this posting.
Sunday September 23rd
Registration opened this morning and we were hoping to set up the MEI booth in the afternoon, but build-up of the booths in the large marquee in front of the Ashok was a long way from completion, so we relaxed before the evening welcoming session. This was an enjoyable event attended by a good number of delegates and accompanying guests, and where we had our first taste of the Indian cuisine which would be provided for us over the next five days.
|With Jan Drzymala (2nd right) and colleagues|
Monday September 24th
After the formal ceremony welcoming over 1000 delegates to the IMPC, Prof. Samirk Brahmachari, Director General of CSIR gave an excellent inaugural address, starting with an overview of India's glorious past in mining and metallurgy and the future aims of CSIR. Due to India's high population density, the challenge is to protect people while exploiting mineral deposits, and clearly new technology is needed to reduce the effect of mining on the population and the environment. There is a need to change our mind-set in realising that we are dealing with finite resources, and technology which is energy efficient and reduces water consumption is required, as well as an increase in the amount of recycling.
Following the opening, delegates were welcomed to the exhibition, which was held in a large marquee in the Ashtok grounds, and the transformation of the interior after a day was reminiscent of the concern a couple of years ago regarding completion of the Commonwealth Games venue in India.
|With VSK University students|
|Orissa School of Mining Engineering students|
|Biju Pattnaik University of Technology|
Following lunch in the hotel grounds, the sessions split into seven parallel sessions dealing with all aspects of mineral processing.
Tuesday September 25th
Seven parallel sessions today, including the start of the Processing of Precious Metals Symposium. This contained presentations on the flotation and leaching of PGM ores, which created a few dilemmas, as running in parallel were sessions on flotation and hydrometallurgy. These clashes have become a feature of IMPCs, and the only way to avoid them is to reduce the number of parallel sessions, which means reducing the number of papers. Is quality sustainable if, every two years, around 650 papers are accepted for presentation? I would like to hear views on this, particularly as it is claimed that each paper has been reviewed by at least two referees, a truly mammoth task.
Barun Gorain, of Barrick Gold, Canada, opened the Precious Metals symposium, noting that it was appropriate to hold this in India, consumer of over half the world's gold. The first keynote speaker, Andrew Logan, remarked that he had just been to a conference where it was proposed that gold be treated as a currency, and not as a commodity, in these turbulent times.
There was much confusion regarding the three plenary lectures this morning. The first two speakers had to withdraw, so the organisers partly filled the gap by moving one of the Friday keynotes, not a good thing to do when people have already set their agendas. I particularly wanted to hear the keynote by Prof. T.C. Rao on an holistic approach for sustainable growth of mineral processing industries. However when I arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled start, his presentation was almost over, due to another unannounced timetable change.
The day's technical sessions finished with afternoon tea, and a very good display of the 270 poster presentations, which was very well attended.
Overall a pretty good day, despite a few hiccups, which was rounded off nicely by the cultural evening where we were entertained by classical Indian dance recitals, followed by a buffet meal in the hotel grounds.
|With Pat and Ian Townsend (UK) and Jim Finch (Canada)|
The day started with 6 interesting keynotes, unfortunately all running concurrently. So I opted for Prof. Jan Cilliers, of Imperial College, UK, who presented his final report on the global survey of the supply and demand of minerals engineers, the culmination of work first presented at the Brisbane IMPC, and then at SRCR '11 in Falmouth. Among the interesting facts presented was that China produces 51% of the world's minerals engineering graduates, South America next with 20%, and very surprisingly, India and Australia only 2% and 1% respectively.
China is obviously going to play a major role in the future of minerals engineering, and this is reflected by the high number of delegates at the congress, a trend which has also been apparent at MEI Conferences.
Seven out of the 70 exhibitors at the IMPC are from China. Florrea Mining Reagents is a manufacturer of flotation reagents, there are two ceramic grinding media manufacturers, King's Ceramics, who are sponsors of Comminution '14, and Chemco. Magnetic separators are manufactured by SLon Magnetic Separator Ltd, Shandong Huate Magnetic Technology and Longi Magnet Co, Ltd, and hydrocyclones by Weihai Haiwang Hydrocyclone Co. Ltd.
Thursday 27th September
Today was the final exhibition day and traffic was noticeably thin. Jon and I manned the booth while Amanda took the day off to visit the Taj Mahal at Agra.
Tomography was the subject of one of this morning's plenary lectures, given by Prof. Jan Miller of the University of Utah, who will also present a keynote at Process Mineralogy '12. He discussed the advances that have been made in X-ray tomography for the processing of mineral resources. Resource characterisation is a critical component for optimisation of the mine to mill process, including innovative processing for sustainable growth. Such characterisation is now referred to as geometallurgy, with advanced instrumentation being used, including high resolution X-ray tomography. The geometallurgical information obtained is important for mine planning, design and analysis of separation processes, etc.
guest as a visiting lecturer at the Indian School of Mines. He was then Head of the Department of Fuel and Minerals Engineering, after which he was Director of the Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR) at Bhopal. He is now an independent consultant advising various industries.
Following lunch I had a meeting with Gecamin, one of the organisers of the 2014 IMPC, which will be held in Santiago, Chile. So I unfortunately missed what was apparently an excellent panel discussion on Leveraging Information and Communication Technology in Mining and Mineral Processing. If anyone can fill in any details I would be grateful.
The conference banquet was held at the India Expo Centre, an hour's coach drive away. This was a glittering occasion that I enjoyed, in no small part due to the interesting and sociable people on my table.
A very popular feature introduced at the Brisbane IMPC is the presentation of awards to the authors of the 10 best papers presented by authors under 35 years of age, who are pictured below. I wonder if anyone can put names to faces?
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of mineral processing's most prestigious award, the IMPC Lifetime Achievement Award. The recipient was Prof. P.C. Kapur, and more details on this can be found on the posting of 27th September.
|Prof. Kapur (2nd left) with Prof. Jan Laskowski, Prof. Eric Forssberg,|
Prof. Cyril O'Connor and Dr. Pradip
Friday 28th September
Presenting a paper on the last day of a 5-day conference is a thankless task, but there was a very good attendance this morning for the sessions, which reflects on the quality of the week's presentations, which people say has been generally high.
The first of the two final plenary lectures was given by Andrew Lane of The Monitor Group, South Africa. Entitled The Promise of Africa he highlighted that 95% of the world's chromium, 88% of platinum and 66% of phosphates are mined in Africa, so there are great opportunities, but he also pointed out the great risks on this turbulent continent.
Lifetime achievement award recipient P.C. Kapur presented the final plenary, a philosophical ramble through mineral processing and its problems, showing that mineral processing is complex and has evolved empirically and very slowly over many decades.
The Proceedings of the congress was issued to all delegates on memory stick, and I am hoping to hear whether this is generally available, for the purpose of citation of papers in journal articles. The sessions on Human Resources is to be published as a monograph, and more information on this will be published on MEI Online when available.
On behalf of MEI I would like to thank Dr. Pradip and Prof. B.K. Mishra, the Chairman of the Organising Committee, and their team for all their work in bringing the IMPC to India. Organisation of an event as big as this is a monumental task, and it is inevitable that there will be flaws and frustrations. Nevertheless this has been an interesting and productive week, and MEI is immensely proud to have been associated with the congress as a media sponsor. We have enjoyed our week at the IMPC and invite the comments of all those who attended. How was it for you?