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JKMRC International Student Conference
Delegates from 7 countries attended this highly successful international meeting dedicated to student research within the mining and mineral community, with 26 scheduled to present. The meeting was the fist international version of an identical but domestic conference held annually for the previous 12 years by the JK Mineral Research Centre in Brisbane, Australia. The meeting took place in the spectacular Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, a world class centre that has accommodated meetings for visiting foreign dignitaries.
The meeting was split over 2 days into 4 consecutive sessions. The conference was opened by a keynote lecture, delivered by Professor E. T Brown, who gave a riveting talk on the state of the industry today, and the need for research. The first of these was ‘Applied Research - Meeting today's industry needs’, with topics including High Pressure Grinding Rolls Applications in the Cement Industry from researchers at Hacettepe University Turkey, and 2 appealing talks on bubble size distribution from Helsinki University of Technology and McGill University Canada. This served to highlight the global nature of the research in the minerals industry, and also the industrial requirements.
The second session, ‘Blue Sky Research - Meeting tomorrow's sustainable needs’ was focused on modelling and imaging, and included a talk on Multispectral Image Processing of Flotation Froth by a local researcher, and an excellent talk on The Ventilation of an Underground Crushing Plant by Steve Silvester from the University of Nottingham. Also incorporated into this session was the first Leeds speaker, Mark Pegden, presenting his research on Accountable Blast Vibration, which ended the day’s proceedings.
The evening was pleasantly spent at Quilpie Opals, culminating in a rock cracking session.
The next day began with the penultimate session, ‘Occupational Research - Meeting society's needs’. There was a strong complement of UK researchers in this session, with very interesting talks by John Engels on Tailings Disposal, again from Leeds, and notably a fascinating talk on Intelligent Clothing for Monitoring Health and Safety in the Work Place by Mark Grubb from Nottingham University.
The final session, ‘Specialist Niche Research - Meeting the individual's needs’ incorporated slightly more specialised research which leant more towards mineral processing, as opposed to the previous sessions, focused more on mining. The talks ranged from a stimulating talk on A New Method of Determination of Preg-Robbing in Gold Ores by a Melbourne University student, Will Goodall, to my research on Process Tomography for Analysis of Heap and Column Leaching, which finished the day’s presentations.
Professor Tim Napier-Munn, Chairman of the JKMRC then gave a brief closing talk, before we all headed off to dinner and the awards for the best presentation. The top prize was won by Steve Silvester of Nottingham University.
For the following 2 days, I participated on tours arranged by the organisers of the conference, the first being to the sand dredging operation by CRC Mining on North Stradbroke Island. It was essentially a simple process, where the sand dredger does the bulk of the mining. The mined sand is then shipped to mainland Australia where it is processed to separate the desirable minerals, most notably titanium, from the Rutile (TiO2) present in the sand. The activities here demonstrated a balance between mining the sands while respecting Aboriginal rights. The next day, a tour to the JKMRC took place, hosted by Dr Mike Daniel, chairman of the conference. It was a very interesting visit, allowing one to appreciate the magnitude of research in the minerals industry, both in Australia and globally. This visit was followed by a trip to CSIRO Minerals, whose expertise covers many aspects of mineral processing. I was particularly interested by the levels of automation achieved, in rescue vehicles and dump trucks to name two.
In my opinion, the conference was excellent, and I imagine many of the delegates will make the next meeting a main concern given that the technical and social recipe was appealing to all. Selected papers and reviews will be published in the future, mineral processing papers in a special issue of Minerals Engineering.
Ravyn Hurry, PhD Student, Institute of Particle Science and Engineering, The University of Leeds. firstname.lastname@example.org
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