The recent IOM3 (UK Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) Geometallurgy 2014 Conference held in London, UK on the 9-10th June was well attended by nearly 60 delegates from all over the world. It was great to see many familiar faces from Australia, North and South America, as well as making some new contacts. In terms of attendee demographic, consultants and service providers made up the largest group, with researchers, students and miners making up the bulk of the rest. It is a reflection of the growing recognition of the importance of geometallurgy and mineral engineering that such dedicated conferences are springing up around the world, and that people come so far to be a part of them. This was the first such event held by the IOM3, but the support and the quality of presentations will undoubtedly see the event grow in subsequent years.
David Meadows, the Global Director Process Technology for FLSmidth gave the keynote on the first day, leading in to a morning of “Geology and Geometallurgy”.
MinAssist presented a paper written in partnership with Anita Parbhakar-Fox of CODES (University of Tasmania) and Kathryn Hadler of Imperial Collage London on “Geology and the Geometallurgical Model: An early-stage matrix linking lithology to likely behaviour-based domain boundaries”. Essentially this was aimed taking some of the knowledge held by those who work in the cross-disciplinary field of geometallurgy and highlighting potential ways that this might be applied earlier in the mining lifecycle in a type of coarse pre-geomet geometallurgy. Significant decisions and investments are being made fairly early on in the mining lifecycle – often at a point where the geometallurgical model is either still under development, or potentially even yet to be started (Fig 1). Identifying early-stage indicators of key rock parameters that may influence downstream processing (either in comminution, recovery or environmental management) can help reduce this risk, and be used to guide and optimise subsequent geometallurgical programs. Using fundamental geometallurgical knowledge, tools and guides can be developed as tools to help early-stage workers (e.g. exploration geologists developing the geological model) to keep an eye open for such indicators (Fig 2). Please contact us for a copy of the presentation.
The afternoon session was dedicated to “Integrated Process Modelling”, with a particularly interesting presentation by Caroline Johnson on “The importance of ore characterisation for the design of geometallurgical test programs incorporating mineral processing and extraction practices” – including extolling the value of integrating process mineralogical data from multiple instruments at multiple scales to characterise complex ores. Day two saw sessions on “Geometallurgy in Practice” where both core logging and micro-CT techniques were discussed, and “Developments in Geometallurgy” with presentations covering subjects from sampling, high voltage comminution and geostatistical simulation.
Many thanks to the organising committee for such a great event, and we very much look forward to the next one.