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Flotation '09, Cape Town, South Africa, November 9-12, 2009

Following on from the success of Flotation 07, Flotation '09 was again held at the Vineyard Hotel in the shadow of Table Mountain, Cape Town. However, just as for the previous conference, the stormy weather made sure that the beautiful surrounds did not overly distract the delegates, and the sessions were very well-attended!

The conference was divided into two, 2-day symposia 'the first on 'Flotation Fundamentals' and the second on 'Applications and Plant Practice'. MEI Conferences are characterised by attendance of a range of delegates, practitioners and researchers, from across the world, and attending with different agendas. 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 built up through the week, drawing on aspects from various previous presentations and discussions. Between the discussions during coffee and lunch breaks, 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.

A new innovation was the introduction of keynote presentations at commencement of both symposia Professor Cyril O' Connor of The University of Cape Town opened the first. Cyril's keynote highlighted the complexity of flotation showing that the chemical reactions are still not fully understood, and are influenced by many factors. Graeme Jameson of the University of Newcastle, Australia opened the second. Graeme's keynote lecture highlighted recent advances in flotation technology, with a focus on scalping or flash flotation, improving the flotation rate of ultrafines, extending the upper limit for coarse particle flotation, and reducing the energy consumed in the flotation process.

The conference was attended by 193 delegates, and, with a record number of 13 exhibitors and 12 sponsors the Vineyard was full to capacity. There were 78 oral presentations and 20 poster presentations. The standard of authorship and presentation did justice to an important era of change and development in flotation, and was wellbalanced between academic fundamentals and industrial practice.

We would like to thank the sponsors of the conference for their support and the authors for their valuable contributions, and our many reviewers, who have assisted us in the post conference editing process ' now resulting in a special issue of Minerals Engineering. They have both drawn on their specialist experience to bring this set of conference papers to the well known standard of this journal.

Prof. Dee Bradshaw, JKMRC, Australia
Prof. J-P Franzidis, University of Cape Town, South Africa
MEI Conference Consultants

Comments from Conference Delegates:

I learned two important lessons about presenting at a conference. During a short presentation, a contents slide is superfluous, especially if you follow the standard order of "Introduction", "Method", "Results and Discussion" and "Conclusion". Also presentation practice is fundamental. It was obvious those that had fully prepared and their presentations had the greatest impact.
I particularly enjoyed the "Overview of Chemical Interactions" keynote lecture by Prof Cyril O'Connor, and I thought the "Unlock the Value" idea was a brilliant way to utilise worldwide scientific knowledge with the internet! It was a great conference for a PhD student like myself: as there were no parallel sessions I could see all of the presentations; I learned lots more about the Flotation industry, and it was a great opportunity for my first academic presentation!
Thanks for letting me attend!
Kathryn Cole, Imperial College, UK

Even though the minerals industry has been hit by an economic downturn, the conference was as well attended (around 200 participants) as the last conference in 2007. The MEI Flotation conferences now seem to have a firm foothold in the international calendar and the variety of papers was just as good as in 2007. Apart from the papers, networking is all-important and I was glad to see that long coffee breaks are still part of the conference structure. On presenting, I found the large screen placed for the presenter on the floor in front of the first row of tables and chairs was more of a hindrance as one had to peer over the lectern to see the whole screen. I think the 'old' way of having a laptop screen by the presenter is more efficient. Also, it would help if the presenter could operate a mouse so that what ever needs to be highlighted via a pointer is projected onto both audience screens, which would save the presenter in having to turn away from the microphone.
Martyn Hay, Eurus Mineral Consultants, South Africa

I really enjoyed the conference - if the weather had been better and warmer it would have been wonderful, but I guess something like this is out of your control - or is it?
I liked staying at the hotel (the service was very good and the rooms comfortable) and having the conference venue right there makes planning the day so much easier. I assume that the problem with the wireless connection in the rooms was unfortunate (also out of your control).
The conference venue was a bit cramped and the chairs were not the most comfortable. One thing that I would have liked to see would have been more standing tables during lunch. Eating was, at times, a balancing act. Having a finger lunch does promote talking to people but sometimes having the opportunity to sit down is also nice. The quality of papers was mixed but being fairly inexperienced in the flotation field I should reserve comment. In any case, I took a lot (information and ideas) with me.
Thanks again for "putting up the show" and providing us an opportunity to visit South Africa. Please send my regards to your team.
Dr. Hanna Horsch, Hazen Research, Inc., USA

' I'm happy to have attended the conference. It has helped me obtain a better understanding of developing technology. The posters and demos were very interesting.
' The conference was good and informative. Overall organization was also good. Themes were appropriate and interesting. The speakers were very knowledgeable and energetic in their presentations.
' Food and refreshments were excellent!
' Great information and speakers.
' I wish there was more time for each speaker to talk. The conference was superb!
' More use of microphones during questions and answers would allow more people to hear the questions and the answers.
' This was an excellent learning opportunity...Job Well Done!
John Kabuba, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Despite the most severe global recession since the Great Depression, the turnout and technical presentations at Flotation '09 implied several key points. For approximately 200 delegates from 23 countries, and being a balanced mix of academics, operations and project managers, and technical service agents, excellent value was delivered. A key feature of this conference over the years has been that the technical sessions offer as much in the practical field as they do in the theoretical. Platinum and copper seemed to dominate in the material presented. The presentations were better than in Flotation '07, partly because the presentation time had been increased from 15 to 20 minutes. Also, some new work, for example by Prof. Jan Cilliers and his team on air recovery across flotation cells, has gained a foothold in our domain, and offers an interesting and useful model for optimization. I thought that the paper by Chris Greet on improving PGE recovery at Two Rivers by moving the grinding strategy from forged balls to high-chrome not only offered generic opportunity for other UG2 operations, but also demonstrated practical ability to deliver value. The copper papers, for example on copper oxide flotation by Greg Hope, and on the use of sodium hydrosulphide at Kansanshi, were useful works. And of course the venue was ideal (although the weather once again did not co-operate'.). Congratulations to the MEI team and to the advisors.
Dr. Norm Lotter, Xstrata Process Support, Canada

It was my second time in such a big event. The event was really amazing although I am not in a level to put my comments on the papers but some of the papers presented over there had really helped me in understanding my development of my present research work.
Jitendra Mishra, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Overall, the conference was well organised, however, 4 days is a bit long. 3 days would be ideal. The breaks between sessions were ideal for networking.
The majority of the presentations were of good quality and were delivered professionally.
Anon., South Africa



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