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MEI Online: People News: North America: March 10th 2003


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:: Peter Frederick Wells - CMP's Mineral Processor of the Year

The winner of the Mineral Processor of the Year Award was announced at the Canadian Mineral Processors 35th Annual Operators Conference in January as Peter Frederick Wells, Mineral Dressing Section Head at Inco’s Sheridan Park Research Laboratories. Peter has had a long career, full of innovative contributions to the mineral processing industry in Canada. His technical expertise has significantly impacted both the potash and nickel industries at both the research and operational areas.

Peter graduated from the University of London in Chemistry in 1966. From London he came to Canada to do his M.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan, completing this in 1969 and completing his PhD here in Chemistry in 1972. Following a year of post doctoral studies at UBC he began his career at Inco’s Research Centre in 1974. Here he carried out major projects on the separation of pyrrhotite/pentlandite and copper/nickel with patents granted on both. In 1960, Peter moved into operations where he was the Clarabelle Mill Section Leader and Chief Metallurgist at the Frood Stobie mill. In 1981, Peter decided it was time for a change. From 1981 to 1986 he worked for Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan as a senior scientist, on many expansion and improvement projects. From 1986 to 1989, Peter was at Denison Potocan in New Brunswick, where his role as Technical Services Coordinator helped to improve recovery from 78 to 92%. From 1989 to 1991 Peter was at East West Caribou, New Brunswick, where one of his achievements was to increase SAG mill throughput from 90 to 120 tph.

Peter Wells
Peter Wells (right) accepting Mineral Processor of The Year Award from Daryl Macnamara


Peter was now ready to return to his roots in nickel. In 1991 he joined Falconbridge as Superintendent of Mineral Processing at the Falconbridge Technology Centre. His responsibilities included research and development as well as support for the Strathcona mill.

At Strathcona, Peter had many accomplishments, including building of a pilot plant, upgrading of the regrind circuit to achieve fine grinding, installation of magnetic separators for pyrrhotite separation and regrind and installation of a pyrrhotite rejection circuit. During this time the rejection of pyrrhotite increased from 60% to over 75% while maintaining nickel recovery. Concentrate grade increased from 8% to 12%. From 1997 to 2001, Peter joined the Strathcona mill team where he continued work on improving selectivity. Also, throughout the period 1994-2001 Peter was Adjunct Professor at Laurentian University, teaching Mineral dressing and supervising graduate students.

In June 2001, Peter returned to Inco where he has held his present position as Mineral Dressing Section Head. Here he is responsible for research and development for all Inco operations and projects. So far in his brief time there he has been responsible for the construction of a mini-plant, the successful evaluation of the TETA/sulfite technology for Voisey Bay nickel ore, rejection of MgO from Thompson Birchtree ore and a flowsheet for the Cu/Ni separation of Sudbury ore.

Peter is also a dedicated family man. He and his wife Susan live in Oakville with their five children, Jessica, Heather, Jane, Sophie and John.




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