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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Latest News: January 26th 2004

:: P9N Project Extension Prepares for a Good Start  

Industry sponsorship in excess of AU$3 million has already been secured for the latest extension of the world's longest running mineral processing project P9, with a further $4 million anticipated in the first three months of 2004.

Defining the scope and objectives of site work at locations chosen by major sponsors is also underway.

Commenced on January 1, 2004, the P9N extension will ensure this AMIRA International project continues delivering benefits to the Mineral Industry, and confirms the project as one of the most important mineral processing projects of the past four decades. The two major technology areas researched in this project are flotation and comminution.

The economic drivers of the mineral industry are evolving rapidly. The globalisation of the industry, the inexorable decline of most commodity prices, the increasing difficulty involved in treating complex ores and the need to operate 'sustainably' are placing unprecedented demands on mining companies to improve efficiency and achieve best practice in all aspects of their operations.

It is therefore a major challenge to continuously improve unit operations, provide the tools and know-how to design new equipment, develop cost effective and innovative new flowsheets and to provide a nucleus of a resource that will act as the critical mass for R&D in this field on a worldwide basis. The P9N project will tackle these issues and deliver significant value to the sponsors of this long running program

The aims of P9N include:-

  • Assist sponsors in achieving "best practice" in the design and operation of their (or their clients') mineral processing operations.
  • Development and demonstration of a range of modelling and simulation techniques and measurement tools
  • Validating and further enhancing previous research outcomes to ensure maximum value is achieved.
  • investigating several new breakthrough technologies.

Coordinator of P9 at AMIRA, David Stribley, said the focus is on providing defined benefits to sponsors. "In essence, it is delivering a more complete product to industry. Rather than just being incremental, this project will look at breakthrough technologies. We will look outside the Mining Industry to see what technologies can be brought over from other sectors," he said.

The latest extension will further enhance this project as a true international collaboration, with companies and research providers from South Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Indonesia and Australia involved.

The participation of research institutions such as McGill University in Montreal and University of Cape Town, in addition to the long running involvement of the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, University of Queensland, will continue to form an important component of the project. Other collaborative arrangements are also being explored if this adds further value to the sponsors of this project.

"Students are critical to the project because they are the arms and legs of site research," said Mr Stribley. "It is a more effective way of getting research done, and allows students to obtain postgraduate PhD's or MSc's for future engineering resources in Industry." Many past P9 students are now key industry representatives.

The P9 project continues to expand the operational knowledge of mineral processing circuits and delivers value to sponsors via a large range of benefits and products. This is all accessed via one project which offers extremely high funding leverage to tackle a large multi-disciplined project, and an extensive network of the world's leading mineral processing companies and researchers.



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