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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Conference Reports: Processing of Industrial Minerals '05


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Processing of Industrial Minerals '05
Falmouth, UK, June 16-17, 2005

As to be expected this conference drew subject matter from a very wide range of industrial processes, process equipment and minerals. Representatives from 16 countries representing the USA, South America, Europe, Australia, northern and southern Africa, gave presentations on processes and technologies involving among others, the following minerals; feldspar, heavy mineral sands, kaolin, marble stone, talc, calcite, carbonate, olivine and a variety of ion ores. There was even a new mineral posed named 'huntite'. Technologies discussed ranged from classic rheology and separation to more exotic technologies such as ultrasonics, microwave heating and micro grinding. Three papers were presented on the processing of marble and three on industrial mineral sands involving classification, microwave treatment and characterisation. A particularly interesting presentation on industrial screening that incorporated computer graphics, showed how detailed dynamic modelling could lead to the solving of complicated challenges associated with efficiencies. Dr. Torem presented an erudite paper on the rheology of kaolin with respect to the paper industry while at the more utilitarian side of the spectrum the performance of experimental pilot plants were discussed that processed beach sands, feldspar and other minerals.

The presentations were generally of a high quality. An interesting trend at modern conferences is the greater use of computer graphic simulations and this conference was no exception. Approximately eight presentations incorporated quality computer graphic simulations that pushed the performance of the presentation hardware to the limit. The authors of these presentations require an added vote of thanks as the increased effort, made each presentation so much more understandable and added much value.

At the end of the first days proceedings Dr. Wills hosted a most pleasant, brisk walk along the Falmouth cliffs to the west of the Hotel. Unfortunately, the day was hazy but nevertheless the breathtaking views out to sea were still evident. A return detour through a field had most of the attendees making acquaintance with a large bull that fortunately didnít protest this uninvited large body of personnel passing through his territory although I suspect that Dr. Wills held his breath.

The Falmouth Beach hotel is a most pleasant venue to hold such a conference, being just 20 meters from Falmouth beach. It also boasts sufficient parking facilities and is situated in a quaint suburb of Falmouth that is littered with B&Bís all within walking distance. These B&Bís cater for those that wish for more economical accommodation than that of the Hotel, which is most reasonable.

After the second days proceedings Dr. Wills hosted a most interesting tour of the Basset mines situated at Redruth about 20 minutes drive from Falmouth. Now no longer operational, these mines peaked in operation towards the end of the Victorian era. They were first established as copper mines and then switched to tin when the copper ran out and a tin ore was serendipitously found beneath. There greatest depth reached was a startling 3000 ft, all of which must have been achieved using manual labour.

I would like to congratulate Dr Wills and his team on an excellent conference.

Allan Nesbitt, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. Email: allan_nesbitt@yahoo.com


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