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MEI Online: People News: North America: February 5th 2004


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:: Bert Huls CMP Mineral Processor of the Year

The prestigious CMP Mineral Processor of the Year Award is made from time to time to recognize meritorious service or an outstanding contribution to CMP or industry. This year Marc Grondin of Metso Minerals presented the award to Bert Huls at the CMP Annual Meeting in Ottawa.

Bert Huls could describe him as a tireless worker with high standards for achievement, committed to professional development, and passionate about the mineral processing discipline. He continually pushes the technical frontiers in the pursuit of advancements that deliver cost, revenue, and environmental benefits to operations. He is one of those rare characters who are equally at home in the theory or practice. Having elected to work mainly with operating companies, he has become a powerful channel for technology transfer from the research lab to the plant floor.

Bert Huls
Bert Huls with his Mineral Processor of the Year Award

Bert's career clearly shows that he is very comfortable with the principles of mineral processing and related disciplines. He has worked at the highest technical levels in process and plant design involving copper, oil sands, diamonds, iron ore, industrial minerals, nickel, platinum, and many others. Along the way he has always demonstrated high technical and managerial leadership. He has been awarded a patent for his work in bio-processing of oil sands, and in an unprecedented move, Falconbridge awarded him their two major corporate awards for achievement and leadership, even though he was with the company a short six years. By virtually any measure, Bert is the complete professional. He is quite at home in the science and the art of mineral processing, but conscious of the issues related to the development of staff including the importance of teamwork and networks, and focused on bringing financial reward to his company through the application of technology. In short, he is an exemplary role model for any young mineral processing engineer.

Bert has consistently demonstrated an ability to assess new technologies, and to successfully migrate them into operations. Examples would include: (a) his early work with plant-wide automation and unique control algorithms for process optimization; (b) the early adoption of horizontal cycloning to improve comminution efficiency; (c) development of a novel magnetic separation device for diamond processing; and, (d) development of a novel pilot plant for bitumen treatment. However, the best example may be his work on column flotation, where he has an impressive publication record documenting novel methods in process analysis and control, as well as in design.

Bert has also assumed a leadership position with regard to the mineral processing profession.

For example, during his time with Falconbridge in the late 1980's and early 1990's, he made major contributions to the profession and to the CMP. In the former role, working with Gordon Agar he helped organize an international conference on column flotation, which brought together the leading theorists and practitioners to document the state-of-the-art for the benefit of the industry as a whole. True to form, Bert ensured there was a very strong emphasis on industrial practice. In addition to his organizational efforts, he was a co-editor of the Column '91 Proceedings, and chaired numerous sessions. As his involvement in Column '91 was winding down Bert accepted an invitation to get involved in CMP, and bring some of his organizational capabilities, enthusiasm around technology and professional development, and vision to this organization. He moved through the CMP hierarchy ultimately assuming the Chairmanís role in 1993-1994.

Bert's career in mineral processing has spanned some 25 years. He has established his credentials as a technical innovator, as a proponent for technological advancement, as a committed champion of professional development, and in his usual understated way, he continues to be a strong force for change in our industry.




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