Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Memories of student days at two great mining schools

It will be great to have Tim Napier-Munn with us in Falmouth in June. He will be presenting one of the keynote lectures at Physical Separation '17 (posting of 28 January) and is looking forward to visiting the old pubs of Falmouth, and particularly the field trip to the historic Camborne-Redruth tin and copper district.
The prospect of the mine visit obviously created a surge of nostalgia, and Tim sent me these fascinating photographs of his first visit to the mines of Cornwall, with the final year Mineral Technology group from the Royal School of Mines (RSM), in 1970.
One of the very few photos of the 1970 final year together.  Left to right:  Zaki,
Lai Kim Fun (ended up in Tasmania), Alan Middleton, Mick Beaumont,
Ron Dougill,  Keith Suttill, Alan Loosely, and ?.
Standing behind Keith Suttill is Dave Wellings. 
Keith sadly died in a plane crash in the Andes in 1996
while working for Engineering & Mining Journal 
Alan Loosely, Keith Suttill, Dave Wellings and Ron Dougill
As Tim was the photographer, he unfortunately does not appear in the photos, but one of the faces I immediately recognised was that of Henry Cohen, who succeeded Marston Fleming to the Chair of Mineral Technology in 1974. Prof. Cohen's research on the magnetic properties of minerals led to work on super-conducting magnets and cryogenic systems, and in later years he supervised Tim's PhD research into dense medium cyclones, the subject of his keynote lecture in June.
Henry Cohen (2nd left front) with other staff members
I knew Prof Cohen well, as for a number of years he was External Examiner to the degree course in Mineral Processing Technology at Camborne School of Mines (CSM). Being based in Cornwall, CSM had the great advantage over RSM of having the then working mines of South Crofty, Geevor, Wheal Jane, and others, on the doorstep, such that the students became very familiar with the operations and the personalities involved. One of the great features of the CSM course was the 'pilot plant run' where second year students gained experience in operating a continuous small plant over a one week period. I have already posted photos provided by 1985 graduate Gaynor Yorath (posting of 4 December 2010), but the only person to have been involved with every pilot run is former Experimental Officer Tony Clarke, who has kindly sent me these nostalgic photos taken in the 1980s:
Liam MacNamara and Nick Wilshaw in their student days in the 1980s
Liam is now Vice-President Sales, FLSmidth, UK
and Nick is owner of Grinding Solutions Ltd, UK
Great memories of a bygone era when tin mining in Cornwall was still thriving.
Twitter @barrywills

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