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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Conference Reports: ICIAM 2003

 
      

Second International Conference “Metallurgy of Nonferrous and Rare Metals”
Krasnoyarsk, Russia, 9-12 September, 2003

The Conference was organized by the Russian Academy of Sciences; Government of Krasnoyarsk Region; Ministry of Industry, Science, and Technology of the Russian Federation; Institute of Chemistry & Chemical Technology of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Norilsk Nickel, and Krasnoyarsk Nonferrous Metals Plant. It took place at the House of Sciences & Technique in Krasnoyarsk. Participants were around 300, mainly from Russia and some guests from Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, India, China, Japan, and Macedonia. About 60 papers were presented and 167 posters. A list of participants and their address was available to the delegates which was an excellent idea. The papers were divided into four sessions: Metallurgy of Nonferrous Metals, Metallurgy of Rare Metals, Environmental Problems in Industry, and Metallurgy of Radioactive Metals. The official languages were Russian and English. Translation was available during the question periods. Extended abstracts were available in two handsome bound volumes. The conference venue was at a walking distance from Krasnoyarsk Hotel in the center of town.

Krasnoyarsk means, in Russian, the beautiful place and it is indeed a pretty city of one million inhabitants. It celebrated 375th anniversary just one day before the conference started. It lies on the banks of Enissy River and connected by some elegant bridges. The city boasts an opera house, a concert hall, a large stadium, a historical museum built in form of an ancient Egyptian temple, and a large City Hall. Krasnoyarsk is also an important metallurgical center where an aluminum plant, a precious metals refinery, and machine production plants are located. There is also a large hydroelectric power station.

Krasnoyarsk is the capital of Krasnoyarsk Region, which extends from Norlisk in the north to Sayan Mountains in the south. It is one of the richest regions of Russia where the nickel deposits of Norilsk are located as well as coal, gold, and other metals. During the time of Tsars it was here that political exiles like the Decembrists were sent. It was in Krasnoyarsk that Lenin was sent for exile. For this reason, the Soviet Government built a large Lenin Museum there. Today, it became cultural museum. During World War II, military plants were located. There are still some primitive wooden houses built by the pioneers who first settled the region.

The city has also a 22-story building that was built during the Soviet era, but still incomplete and uninhabited because construction was interrupted after the Perestroika and the lack of funds. The building was supposed to be a Coal Research Institute.

The opening ceremony of the Conference included a short music concert; welcoming speeches by the governor of Krasnoyarsk Region; academician N.P. Lyakishev, chairman of the Organizing Committee; Prof. G.L. Pashkov, director of the Institute of Chemistry & Chemical Technology of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as other officials. This was followed by the plenary lectures. A very enjoyable dancing banquet was held in the evening. Next days were devoted to scientific sessions, an excursion to Stolby in Sayan Mountains–a scenic drive in the Siberian forest, and a guided tour to the Historical Museum.

The papers and posters presented give a fair idea what type of research is being conducted in the area of nonferrous and the so-called “rare metals”. In fact the term “rare metals” is not appropriate because titanium, niobium, zirconium, vanadium, chromium, and strontium are not at all rare - they are as abundant as copper, lead, and zinc. The proper terminology is “less common metals”.

Getting a visa to Russia is still a complex and tedious procedure. One must get an invitation from the host organization, which must be authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. Hotels in Siberia are still keeping the system of intimidating the guests. On each floor the guest must hand his identification card to a “guard” who gives him the key to his or her room. This happens each time a guest wants to occupy the room. West-managed hotels are not yet available in Siberia.

If going to Moscow is difficult, then going to Siberia is much more difficult. One must change from the international to the domestic airport and this takes time. If the flight schedule is inconvenient then one must spend a night at the Moscow airport hotel “Novotel” which is quite expensive. Moscow has three airports now: Sherementyevo I, Sherementyevo II, and Domodedovo. The first two, in the north west of Moscow, are old and terribly out of date while the third is one year old and is quite modern. Sherementyevo I is for domestic flights, Sherementyevo II for international flights. Domodedovo, in the south east of Moscow, is for both domestic and chartered flights. The problem is to know which airlines use which airport and there are numerous Russian airlines beside Aeroflot. It can be so that one departs for a domestic flight from Sherementyevo I and returns to Domodedovo, and to catch the international flight one has to go to Sherementyevo 2. There is no shuttle bus between these airports and a taxi costs $60 US and takes one and half hour. International flights to Russia and domestic flights in Russia are surprisingly full. One must make early reservation.

Going to Russia is still very tiresome and there is no much change since the Soviet rule. One must be terribly patient, accepts occasional intimidation by the system and must forgive a lot of foolishness. Rules are not obeyed: people smoke when no-smoking signs are. My neighor on a 5 hour local flight went at least twice to the toilets to smoke.

The secretary of the Conference, Dr. Elena Voskresenskaya and her group of young engineers and assistants are to be congratulated for a well-prepared conference. It is hoped that in future conferences the name badges will be written in Latin alphabet beside Cyrillic so that foreign delegates who do not read Russian could identify the participants.

Fathi Habashi, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada; fathi.habashi@gmn.ulaval.ca

 

 

   

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