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This was the 3rd MEI Conference on flotation, following Flotation 2000 in Adelaide, and Flotation ’03 in Helsinki. It was also the best attended, with 195 delegates representing 18 countries (see delegate list at www.min-eng.com/flotation07/del.doc). It was held at the beautiful Vineyard Hotel, with stunning views of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak. Conference photographs can be viewed at www.min-eng.com/flotation07/photos/index.html)
Eleven major companies provided corporate support for the event:
and Anglo Platinum sponsored and organised the excellent Gala Dinner which was held on the Wednesday evening.
The conference was split into two 2-day symposia (each attended by over 160 delegates), dealing with Fundamentals and Applications (see www.min-eng.com/flotation07/prog.html for the technical programme). The first symposium was opened by Prof. Dee Bradshaw, and the latter by Prof. J-P Franzidis, both of the University of Cape Town, and consultants to MEI on the conference.
Delegates were provided with a Proceedings CD-ROM containing unrefereed papers. Authors were also invited to submit final papers to Elsevier after conference discussions, for peer-review and possible publication in a special Flotation ’07 issue of Minerals Engineering, scheduled for publication in mid-2008. This special issue will be Guest Edited by Prof. Bradshaw, and Dr. Norman Lotter of Xstrata Process Support, Canada.
Delegates were asked to submit their views and criticisms, and those comments received are listed below.
It is planned to make the MEI series of flotation conferences biennial and Flotation 09 will be held at the Vineyard Hotel from November 9-12, 2009.
Comments from Flotation 07 delegates
Well, if you weren’t there you missed out !!!
So if you did, the recommended actions for you now are to read the papers when the special edition of Minerals Engineering comes out and to make plans to attend the next one in 2009!
Flotation 07 was held at the Vineyard Hotel in the shadow of Table Mountain, Cape Town. However the beautiful surrounds did not overly distract the delegates and the sessions were very well attended and there was always plenty of intense discussion going on (perhaps the weather played a part!).
The conference was divided into two, two day symposia - the first on ‘Flotation Fundamentals’ and the second on ‘Applications and Plant’ practice. MEI conferences are characterized by attendance of a range of delegates, practioners and researchers, from across the planet, and attending with different agendas - and 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 build up through the week, drawing on aspects from various previous presentations and discussions.
There was a lot of debate about the ‘10 min’ time allocation for presentations and many felt it was too short, but personally it suited me very well and this way many more authors could be accommodated. Most presentations were very well prepared and delivered within the time allocation - conveying the essence of the work and laying the foundation for private discussions between interested parties. Thus supporting Tom Sawyer’s view that ‘If I had had more time I would have prepared a shorter letter …’ suggesting that shorted versions are always harder to prepare but better in the end.
The technical sessions were of a high standard with many leaders in the field presenting novel work. There were some exceptional presentations conveying difficult technical material to non specialist audiences, particularly notable were those involving sophisticated surface analyses of the Fundamental session on Thursday morning.
The plant practice presentations were of a very high standard covering a range of applications and new developments. It seems as though breakthroughs are not so much achieved by one ‘silver bullet’ but by combining various tools and strategies and there was plenty to be learned by all.
The extended tea and lunch breaks provided ample time for discussions and meetings and many companies used the conference to catch up with colleagues from around the world. Its not by chance that MEI Conferences have evolved to this successful formula. Between the discussions 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.
Prof. Dee Bradshaw, University of Cape Town, South Africa
I really enjoyed the conference. Very good papers, a little bit tight though. I would certainly have preferred 15 min for the presentations, even if we have to finish by 17:00. I found 15:30 a little bit too early to finish a day of conferences.
One thing you should consider next time (at least at the Vineyard), is to put a laptop on the Chair table. We could not follow the presentation, and that is a pity.
Another problem (also at the Vineyard) is the use of two screens and authors pointing at one only. I have no solution for this problem, except instructing authors to point with the mouse instead of the laser pointer. I tried to do that, but unfortunately the device provided by the AV guy did not work at all and I ended up moving my slides with the keyboard (Page up and Page down) with no way to point anyhow. It was a temporary problem that was solved for the next presentations, though.
Prof. René del Villar, Laval University, Canada
I was impressed at the attendance at the Conference. At the Centenary of Flotation Conference in Brisbane in 2005, the invitation was to come together after 10 years (and not 25) to discuss progress in our field. Not 30 months later, Flotation 2007 drew 195 attendees over four days! There was a well-balanced mix of mining/processing people, supplier/vendors and academics (over 25 universities were represented). Lots of opportunities for discussion and networking, reviewing work done and planning new initiatives. I think this is indicative of the buoyancy of the industry worldwide at the moment, and the rapid development of new ideas and projects after the state of the doldrums that had prevailed for nearly a decade previously.
In the 2-day "Flotation Applications and Plant Practice" Symposium on November 8-9, there were papers on integrating mill-float optimisation; reagents for improved recovery/selectivity; instrumentation for characterisation, measurement and control; measurement and optimisation of froth performance; and plant surveying, including sampling, mass balancing, and the interpretation of results using process mineralogy. There was an excellent vibe at the meeting, an almost palpable excitement that these were good times for the industry in terms of doing things better and also understanding better what we are doing. If business and research continue at the same pace they have since 2005, Flotation 2009 should be here before we know it, with many more innovations and insights to share and discuss.
Prof. J-P Franzidis, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Congratulations on Flotation 2007. It was an excellent meeting.
Prof. Graeme Jameson, University of Newcastle, Australia
The conference was attended by approximately 200 delegates, many of whom are very well-known and accomplished in the field of flotation. The standard of authorship and presentation did justice to an important era of change and development in flotation, and was well-balanced between academic fundamentals and industrial practice.
It was evident that the modern technologies of quantitative mineralogy and surface chemistry have developed to a position of general use in the practice of concentrator performance assessment. Further, the use of ultrafine milling in niche applications is showing good success. Also, the pursuit and assessment of larger equipment was evident. These features were the key message of the conference: new technologies, scales and approaches in flotation are finding significant industrial use.
This conference will go down in the history of flotation as a point of reference when flotation turned a new page and moved on to its next level of knowledge and best practice.
Dr. Norman Lotter, Xstrata Process Technology, Canada
Flotation 07 at Cape Town was my first MEI conference. I really enjoyed it and benefited to a great extent. The most important thing I liked was that there were no parallel sessions. So one could attend all the presentations without running from room to room. I appreciate and admire the way the conference was organized.
Many of us are spending quite a bit of money and travelling long distances just to present for 10 minutes. I feel 10 minutes is too short a period for an efficient presentation. If you could give a minimum of 20 min (15 + 5) instead of 15 min (10 + 5) that will be very nice.
Looking forward to meet you in the next MEI conference.
Dr. Ramanathan Natarajan, Lakehead University, Canada
It was in my view the best MEI Conference I've ever attended. The papers were excellent throughout. I do think though that 10 minutes was too short - by the third day the networking had been completed and we were kicking our heels during the long breaks. I think a 15 min presentation is important.
Otherwise well done to you and all the Wills’ on a top rate conference.
Prof. Cyril O’Connor, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Flotation 07 was a very enjoyable conference and the Vineyard Hotel is a fine venue. My only frustration was that the 10 min talk time for the presentations was too short. This resulted in people not having enough time to introduce the topics well enough, rushing through results at the end, going into question time and generally feeling frustrated. There seemed to be plenty of time for tea and for lunch and I think most people would appreciate the longer presentation time of 15 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions.
Dr. Lesley Parolis, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Look forward to the next one.
Sam Thong, Moly Mines Ltd, Australia
Click here to view photos from this event.
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