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MEI Online: MEI Conferences: MMME 06: Introduction

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This, the 1st International Symposium on Material, Minerals, & Metal Ecology (MMME 06), was held in Cape Town, South Africa on the 14 and 15 November 2006, and was organised by Minerals Engineering International in consultation with Markus Reuter and sponsored by Arecelor Research, Umicor, CSense Systems, Boliden Mineral AB and Hatch.

This conference was a must for individuals that have an interest in developing sustainable technology and systems in the complex ‘Web of Metals’ on a fundamental and technological basis, with a focus to the minerals, metals and manufacturing industries. In this inter-, intra- and transdisciplinary environment the material/metal cycle was central, addressing both the technological and sustainability issues within the primary mineral and metal producing cycle as well connecting to the secondary consumer product material cycle as depicted below (see topics in figure).

Papers for this two day conference focused on the following major topics (not exclusive) but should relate to the disciplines in the figure above:

  • Industrial ecology: Industrial ecology from a Material and Metal Ecology perspective.
  • System engineering concepts: including process optimization, and process control to simulate and optimize the material system from mining, metallurgy, product design/manufacture, product recycling, end-of-pipe technology, waste management and waste abatement.
  • Development of future breakthrough technology as well optimization of present technology: that will close the cycle of future complex products and evaluate the use of these in future dynamic material cycles. This also includes waste processing and clean technology for present residue problems but also for future wastes that will be created by present and futuristic products. Applicable new and innovative high temperature reactors (incinerators, pyrometallurgy) and separation technology (shredders, magnetic, electrostatic, eddy current, flotation, automatic sorting etc.) in the above figure for the closure of material cycles. Also included here are quality control of the complete system, sensors and environmental control.
  • Process fundamentals: such as thermodynamics, exergy, LCA, transport phenomena, separation physics, population balance modelling, CFD, reactor design, separation science, process control, dynamic modelling etc. to quantify and provide metrics for sustainability also as a function of time. Discuss the use of tools to calculate the metrics for sustainability. It is also discussed how these fundamentals can be used to improve LCA’s.
  • Product design: i.e. the effect of product design on the closure of the material cycle i.e. design for recycling, design for metallurgy and design for environment.
  • Environmental legislation: environmental issues, environmental control and waste abatement around mines, and metallurgical, minerals processing, waste processing plants etc.

Before the conference a one day course block on Metrics of Metal and Material Ecology* complemented the conference.

* Reuter, Heiskanen, Boin, Van Schaik and Verhoef (2005): Metrics of Metal and Material Ecology, Elsevier, 774p. (to be published).




The conference was organized by Minerals Engineering International (MEI) in consultation with Markus Reuter, a professor of Resource Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Markus received his B. Ing. at the Department of Chemical Engineering, M.Eng. and PhD. at the Department of Metallurgical Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

In 1994 he obtained his Dr. habil. at the Aachen University of Technology (RWTH-Aachen, Germany). He has worked as a senior lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch, manager in the Measurement and Control Division, Mintek, Randburg, South Africa, also for Anglo American Corporation in South Africa.

Markus Reuter
Markus Reuter

He has over 100 publications in refereed international journals and over 130 publications in International Conference Proceedings. He has also co-authored 11 Chapters in encyclopaedias (Ullmann’s Encyclopaedia of Industrial Chemistry, Winnacker and Küchler) and books in chemical and metallurgical engineering as well as in Smithells Metal Reference Book (8th Edition). He is registered Professional Engineer (PE) in Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). Main areas of interest are process control in extractive metallurgy as well as associated environmental control; and system and design engineering. He is registered professional engineer in South Africa.

At University Melbourne he takes up the Chair of Sustainable Technology from July 2005, a joint chair between civil and chemical engineering, with the objective also to introduce a sustainability and industrial ecology course that extends further than the boundaries of engineering. For this he has with Kari Heiskanen and others written a book “Metrics of Material and Metal Ecology” to be published by Elsevier.



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