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The inaugural Physical Separation meeting was held June 2009 in the sunny seaside town of Falmouth, England. This year the topics of Gravity Separation and Magnetic and Electrical Separation were covered within the one conference. With a relatively small international research community, the event brought together a gathering of 34 delegates from 13 different countries. Presentations covered a good mix of experimental investigation, computational and analytical modelling, including an impressive account of the method of discrete element modelling by Professor Aibing Yu.
The first session, Chaired by Professor Nick Miles from the University of Nottingham, commenced with a Keynote address by myself on the need and the potential for major innovation within the industry, especially in the field of physical separation. A recent and significant advance in the performance of the Reflux Classifier was reported. Two additional technologies, concerned with Enhanced Gravity separation in the Falcon and Knelson concentrators were also given.
The second session, chaired by Professor Hakkinen from Finland, covered additional methods of gravity separation, including fine coal recovery using the Multi-Gravity Separator, the In-line Pressure Jig, and the application of a spiral separator in a phosphate plant to remove slimes from the feed to the grinding circuit. The incorporation of radioactive waste into a porous glass melt was also included in the session.
After lunch I assumed the Chairmen’s role, and listened with interest to a range of very different presentations. One in particular, involved the location of a gravity circuit based on the In-Line Pressure Jig underground and hence close to the mining operation, thus reducing the cost of haulage. Other presentations were concerned with ceramic disc filters, gravity separation of lignite, iron removal from a nickel concentrate sourced from Nickel Laterite, and finally the application of the Meyar curve in coal preparation.
The afternoon involved a very pleasant walk along the Falmouth coastal area, passing the Pendennis Headland and a 16th Century Castle, followed by refreshments at a seaside tavern.
Professor Aibing Yu from Australia Chaired the session of the second morning. An interesting configuration based on the Ferrohydrostatic separator was presented, allowing multiple density fractions to be obtained from the one device. A similar, electrical approach based on Dielectrophoresis was then outlined, followed by two presentations on optical sorting. Work was presented on the calcination of low grade laterite ores, using magnetic forces for Nickel recovery, and an interesting analytical investigation of the “fish-hook” phenomenon of hydrocyclones given just before lunch.
Dr Dodbiba from Tokyo chaired the final session on cyclones, covering an experimental and theoretical study of water injection to reduce fines entrainment, application for grit removal in waste water treatment, and discrete element modelling of a dense medium cyclone. A new dry separation method for early gangue removal was also described, the objective being to reduce the tonnage that needs to be transported to alternative locations where water based processing can be applied.
The final afternoon was a little wet and unsettled, so the tour of the local copper and tin mining district was only attended by a few, Barry of course included!
The conference featured some important innovations, especially the need to better integrate mining and processing to reduce mine haulage costs or overcome limitations in local water supply. There was a good balance on work across the different methods of physical separation, including coverage of more traditional methods and more novel methods of separation. The format of Physical Separation will no doubt be continued.
Kevin Galvin, University of New South Wales, Australia
It was a great pleasure to meet you at Physical Separation '09 in Falmouth, a nicely organized event that I enjoyed very much indeed. Please convey my best regards and many thanks also to other MEI members, who were very helpful and supportive. I also must thank you for the Cornish pewter pen, a very thoughtful (chairman’s) gift indeed.
Being able to discuss with other colleagues our interests at a greater length, I should also say that Physical Separation '09 was a great occasion.
G. Dodbiba, University of Tokyo, Japan
Physical Separation 09 was my first professional international conference which was held in a very unique friendly atmosphere. In amazing sessions, I got a great amount of important insights and useful information. I impatiently look forward to take part in another MEI conference next year.
Golnaz Jozanikohan, University of Tehran, Iran
Conference photographs can be viewed at www.min-eng.com/physicalseparation09/photos/index.html
On-the-spot reports and photos can be found on the 16-17 June 2009 postings in the MEI Blog: http://min-eng.blogspot.com/search/label/MEI Conferences
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