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On-the-spot reports and photos can be found on the MEI Blog: http://min-eng.blogspot.com/search/label/MEI Conferences
Flotation ’09, Cape Town, South Africa, November 9-12, 2009
Following on from the success of Flotation 07, Flotation ‘09 was again held at the Vineyard Hotel in the shadow of Table Mountain, Cape Town. However, just as for the previous conference, the stormy weather made sure that the beautiful surrounds did not overly distract the delegates, and the sessions were very well-attended!
The conference was divided into two, 2-day symposia – the first on ‘Flotation Fundamentals’ and the second on ‘Applications and Plant Practice’. MEI Conferences are characterised by attendance of a range of delegates, practitioners and researchers, from across the world, and attending with different agendas. This was no exception with plenty of sharing and debating from various perspectives.
As expected, best value was obtained by those who attended both symposia, as discussion certainly built up through the week, drawing on aspects from various previous presentations and discussions. Between the discussions during coffee and lunch breaks, and the technical sessions, the purpose of the conference was fulfilled in providing a forum for new insights and contacts with the flotation industry for all those who attended.
A new innovation was the introduction of keynote presentations at commencement of both symposia Professor Cyril O’ Connor of The University of Cape Town opened the first. Cyril's keynote highlighted the complexity of flotation showing that the chemical reactions are still not fully understood, and are influenced by many factors. Graeme Jameson of the University of Newcastle, Australia opened the second. Graeme’s keynote lecture highlighted recent advances in flotation technology, with a focus on scalping or flash flotation, improving the flotation rate of ultrafines, extending the upper limit for coarse particle flotation, and reducing the energy consumed in the flotation process.
The conference was attended by 193 delegates, and, with a record number of 13 exhibitors and 12 sponsors the Vineyard was full to capacity. There were 78 oral presentations and 20 poster presentations. The standard of authorship and presentation did justice to an important era of change and development in flotation, and was wellbalanced between academic fundamentals and industrial practice.
We would like to thank the sponsors of the conference for their support and the authors for their valuable contributions, and our many reviewers, who have assisted us in the post conference editing process – now resulting in a special issue of Minerals Engineering. They have both drawn on their specialist experience to bring this set of conference papers to the well known standard of this journal.
Prof. Dee Bradshaw, JKMRC, Australia
Comments from Conference Delegates:
I learned two important lessons about presenting at a conference. During a short presentation, a contents slide is
superfluous, especially if you follow the standard order of "Introduction", "Method", "Results and Discussion" and
"Conclusion". Also presentation practice is fundamental. It was obvious those that had fully prepared and their
presentations had the greatest impact.
Even though the minerals industry has been hit by an economic downturn, the conference was as well attended
(around 200 participants) as the last conference in 2007. The MEI Flotation conferences now seem to have a firm
foothold in the international calendar and the variety of papers was just as good as in 2007. Apart from the papers,
networking is all-important and I was glad to see that long coffee breaks are still part of the conference structure.
On presenting, I found the large screen placed for the presenter on the floor in front of the first row of tables and
chairs was more of a hindrance as one had to peer over the lectern to see the whole screen. I think the “old” way of
having a laptop screen by the presenter is more efficient. Also, it would help if the presenter could operate a mouse
so that what ever needs to be highlighted via a pointer is projected onto both audience screens, which would save the
presenter in having to turn away from the microphone.
I really enjoyed the conference - if the weather had been better and warmer it would have been wonderful, but I
guess something like this is out of your control - or is it?
· I'm happy to have attended the conference. It has helped me obtain a better understanding of
developing technology. The posters and demos were very interesting.
Despite the most severe global recession since the Great Depression, the turnout and technical presentations at
Flotation ’09 implied several key points. For approximately 200 delegates from 23 countries, and being a balanced
mix of academics, operations and project managers, and technical service agents, excellent value was delivered. A
key feature of this conference over the years has been that the technical sessions offer as much in the practical field
as they do in the theoretical. Platinum and copper seemed to dominate in the material presented. The presentations
were better than in Flotation ’07, partly because the presentation time had been increased from 15 to 20 minutes.
Also, some new work, for example by Prof. Jan Cilliers and his team on air recovery across flotation cells, has
gained a foothold in our domain, and offers an interesting and useful model for optimization. I thought that the
paper by Chris Greet on improving PGE recovery at Two Rivers by moving the grinding strategy from forged balls
to high-chrome not only offered generic opportunity for other UG2 operations, but also demonstrated practical
ability to deliver value. The copper papers, for example on copper oxide flotation by Greg Hope, and on the use of
sodium hydrosulphide at Kansanshi, were useful works. And of course the venue was ideal (although the weather
once again did not co-operate….). Congratulations to the MEI team and to the advisors.
It was my second time in such a big event. The event was really amazing although I am not in a level to put my
comments on the papers but some of the papers presented over there had really helped me in understanding my
development of my present research work.
Overall, the conference was well organised, however, 4 days is a bit long. 3 days would be ideal. The breaks
between sessions were ideal for networking.
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