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This conference was organised by Minerals Engineering International in collaboration with Australia's CSIRO, and dealt with all aspects of the effects of mineralogy on the processing of ores, analytical and diagnostic techniques, control and instrumentation, etc..
The Hilton Hotel in Brisbane was the venue for MEI's inaugural Applied Mineralogy '01 meeting. A new speciality conference which was organised with the aim of bringing together mineralogists and metallurgists from all around the world to discuss aspects of applied mineralogy within the mining industry. The meeting, which attracted over fifty delegates from ten different countries, was organised by MEI in collaboration with CSIRO Australia and the International Council for Applied Mineralogy (ICAM). Prof RB Heimann, the chairman of ICAM, opened the conference.
The technical papers covered many aspects of applied mineralogy, and were presented under three main topics: Analytical Techniques; Bio- and Hydrometallurgy; and Process Mineralogy; the latter being spread across three technical sessions.
In the first technical session on Monday morning the topic of Analytical Techniques was covered. Here the latest developments in a number of areas were presented: on-line mineralogy XRD analysis of cement slurries (N. Scarlett, CSIRO); automated mineralogy using the JKMRC MLA system (Y. Gu and P. Guerney, JKMRC), CSIRO's QemSCAN (P. Gottlieb, CSIRO), and AARL's ASCAN (H. Horsch, AARL); and Raman microprobe (G. Hope, Griffith University). Papers covering the effects of stereological correction were given by S. Gay (JKMRC) and D. Latti (Rio Tinto Technical Services), and C. Schneider concluded the session with a paper on the comprehensive analysis of coal by SEM-based image analysis methods.
The Monday afternoon technical session covered the Bio- and Hydrometallurgy topic: E. Louwrens (Billiton) gave a paper on how knowledge of mineralogy has helped with the development of bioleaching processes for copper, nickel and zinc from sulphide ores; M. Valix (University of Sydney) covered the effects of mineralogy on the biological leaching of nickel laterite ore; C. Torrisi (BHP) presented results from the leaching of fluorine-containing minerals from lead and zinc concentrates; A Adair (Rio Tinto Technical Services) covered the results from a QemSCAN study of pressure leach products from a gold circuit, this work related mineralogy to periods of low and high lime consumption; and D. Feng (University of Melbourne) concluded the session with a paper on the role of mineralogy in preg-robbing in gold ores during thiosulphate leaching.
Process Mineralogy began with the Tuesday morning technical session. This covered talks on: fluorine minerals and their affects on the flotation of copper minerals in the Ok Tedi deposit (L. Pangum, PNG University of Technology, Papua New Guinea); prediction of monazite liberation from a rare earth ore from Catalao I, in Brazil (R. Neumann); ore characterisation of problem phosphatic ores from Araxa, Brasil (P. Brandao, UFMG); process mineralogy of REE ore from Corrego do Garimpo, Brazil; ore characterisation of phosphate ore as a mine planning tool (L. Sant'Agostino, University of Sao Paulo). L. Reyneke (ISCOR) gave a paper on how practical mineralogical data can be of use in the beneficiation of Indian heavy mineral beach sands; and R. Trautman (ANSTO) covered how manganese has been found to complicate the recovery of rare earth elements from a carbonatite ore.
On Tuesday afternoon, all the delegates travelled to the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT) in Pullenvale some 15 kms SW of Brisbane city centre. QCAT is home to elements of four CSIRO Divisions, including CSIRO Minerals. Here delegates were given an overview of current mineralogical-biased activities by a selection of QCAT staff. Topics covered included: Coal Characterisation by Low Cost Optical Imaging (Graham O'Brien); Mineralogical Face Mapping at Woodlawn via Spectroscopy (Steve Fraser); Automation Research in Mining (Jonathan Roberts) and Mine Safety (Patrick Glynn). Over tea and coffee, delegates were given the opportunity to view the QemSCAN laboratory.
On Wednesday morning the topic of Process Mineralogy continued in the next technical session and concerned papers on: Sudbury Ni-Cu ore mineralogy (A. Lee, INCO); mine-tailings contaminated estuarine sediments (A. Butcher on behalf of D. Pirrie, CSM); iron ore characterisation by XRF (P. Brandao, UFMG); the mineralogy of thermally sprayed protective coverings (R. Heinmann, Freiberg University of Mining and Technology); analysis of cement clinker by QemSCAN (E. Ho-Tun, CSIRO); mineralogy of chrome spinels and their flotation behaviour (W. Bruckard, CSIRO); PGM mineralisation within the Scottish Hebrides (A. Butcher on behalf of D. Pirrie, CSM); the effects of mesotextures and microtextures on the processing of George Fisher silver-lead-zinc ores (W. Johnson, University of Queensland); digital imaging of colemanite ore to delineate arsenic-bearing minerals (A. Manni on behalf of G. Bonifazi, University of Rome).
The final technical session brought both the topic of Process Mineralogy and the conference itself to a close. This session comprised papers from: A. Manni (University of Rome) on the characterisation of gold particles from a recoverable waste matrix; two papers by M. Valix (University of Sydney), one on the phase transformation of lateritic ores at high temperature and the other on the effects of sulphur on the mineral phases of lateritic ores at high temperature; and a final contribution from H. Horsch (on behalf of C. van Alphen, Eskom) on the characterisation of coal and fly-ash, and the development of a slagging index, by ASCAN_CCSEM.
All papers presented at this conference will be incorporated into a special Applied Mineralogy issue of Minerals Engineering, to be published in December 2001 as Volume 14 Number 12.
The meeting was clearly successful in bringing together many of the key players in applied mineralogy from all over the world. Delegates commented very favourably on the organisation of the conference, its technical content, and the venue. The Hilton Hotel, and Brisbane with its wonderful scenery, proved to be an excellent venue for the conference: MEI are to be congratulated for a wonderful three days. Given the response to this meeting, a second one is planned for Helsinki in 2003. Details of this conference will be published on MEI Online (www.min-eng.com).
Alan R Butcher, CSIRO Minerals, Australia
Volume 14 Number 12 (Special Issue)
Raman microprobe mineral identification
The effects of mineralogy on the biological leaching of nickel laterite ores
Prediction of monazite liberation from the silexitic rare earth ore of Catalão I
Characterisation of a heavy mineral-bearing sample from india and the relevance of intrinsic mineralogical features to mineral beneficiation
Leaching of fluorine bearing minerals from lead and zinc concentrates
An assessment of stereological adjustment procedures
A QEM*SEM study of a suite of pressure leach products from a gold circuit
Process mineralogy studies of Corrego Do Garimpo REE ore, Catalao-I alkaline complex, Goias, Brazil
Process mineralogy of fluorosilicate minerals in Ok Tedi ores
Applied mineralogy as a tool for mine planning of phosphate rock
Characterization of gold particles in recoverable waste matrix
Statistical validation of standardless and standard-based analysis by x-ray fluorescence spectrometry in iron ores characterisation
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