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Minerals Engineering 02
Perth, Australia, September 25-27, 2002

If anything, the recent Minerals Engineering ’02 conference held in Western Australia highlighted the need for continued research and development funding across the global mining sector.

Organised by the UK-based Minerals Engineering International (MEI) in association with Australia’s CSIRO, the three-day event attracted an array of delegates from the international engineering and metallurgical communities, all of whom, it seemed, had one common goal. Basically, that was to reduce mineral production costs (through increased operating efficiencies) in an environmentally acceptable manner.

Rubbing shoulders with PhD students completing cutting edge research, university academics from campuses world-wide and representatives from various R&D-orientated groups were industry professionals from the likes of Finland’s Outokumpu Oy (a co-sponsor of the conference), Australian diversified mining house WMC Resources Ltd, WA-based junior copper and coal miner Straits Resources Ltd, New South Wales gold producer Newcrest Mining Ltd and leading Canadian ore processor Lakefield Oretest.

Given this broad cross section of delegates, the organisers were particularly mindful that all of the speakers received equal limelight. In his opening address, MEI’s Barry Wills said the number of papers were limited so there would be no parallel sessions or keynote addresses. “All of our speakers are keynote speakers, delivering in plenary sessions," he explained. “Secondly, I have always taken the view that, although the technical sessions are of prime importance, delegates interacting and socialising in a relaxed, informal atmosphere is also vital."

Part of this strategy involved long morning coffee breaks and lunches in which attendees were encouraged to network. However, following the amount of information crammed into the opening five minute poster presentations, it became apparent that the extra time was also useful in assisting with the mental digestion of the many details mentioned during the short talks.

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