Innovation in a changing industry with IMPC 2022

The International Mineral Processing Congress has been dubbed the Olympic Games of mineral processing – and for good reason.

The International Mineral Processing Congress has been dubbed the Olympic Games of mineral processing – and for good reason. Conference chair Ralph Holmes talks to Australian Mining about what attendees can expect this year.

Since the first International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC) was held in 1952, the Congress and more recently its associated Regional Conferences have been a roaring success for attendees across the broad spectrum of the mining industry.

And after the Cape Town Congress was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IMPC Asia-Pacific 2022 is set to reignite the Congress and Conference series.

In addition to seven other exciting keynote speakers, Australia’s chief scientist Dr Cathy Foley has signed on to present a talk focusing of innovation and getting more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“I’m very much looking forward to what Dr Foley has to say,” IMPC chair Ralph Holmes told Australian Mining.

“We have so much expertise in this country. I’m excited to hear about what she has to say on cyber developments and tackling big problems for the future of Australia.”

Conference committee member Professor Robin Batterham concurred

“Innovation in a changing world and women in STEM are totally relevant to our present time,” he said.

After two years of virtual events, face-to-face social opportunities at IMPC Asia-Pacific 2022 will be a welcome change. As one of the first significant conferences of its type in a number of years, the event’s networking functions have been spread out across the three days to provide attendees with the opportunity to meet each other and share ideas.

That said, IMPC is an international event and those not able to attend in person will still have the opportunity to join the conference virtually.

“The IMPC is a great meeting place where inspiration happens and linkages form,” Batterham said.

A large range of topics will be explored at the IMPC Asia-Pacific 2022. Along with preconcentration, flotation, separations, geo and hydrometallurgy, and modelling, the conference will also shine a spotlight on big data.

The focus on big data will examine the use of massive company-owned databases to optimise operations, with a view to reducing the carbon footprint.

For Holmes, whose interests lie in energy and carbon reduction, IMPC provides an opportunity for attendees to rethink their operations and ask themselves what they can do to better help the environment.

“I’m also interested in areas that explore what the future mine could look like,” Holmes said.

“As we move toward electricity generation and storage that doesn’t use coal, thinking about what the future mine could look like is very topical.”

For Holmes and Batterham, having such an action-packed conference is a blessing and a curse. With three conference days and three parallel streams, there is almost too much to see and do.

“It’s one of those impossible times where you want to be in three places at once for much of the three days,” Batterham said.

Luckily, IMPC Asia-Pacific 2022 will also feature more than 180 full papers and extended abstracts on the themes of the conference, so those who can’t attend a speaker’s address will still be able to hear from industry professionals.

These papers and abstracts will lend themselves to the extensive technical program at IMPC Asia-Pacific 2022, which will showcase the latest in innovations and thinking in the field of mineral processing.

Holmes and Batterham are hoping for attendance of people across the whole spectrum of the industry, from research professionals to equipment manufacturers and designers. But it’s not just those directly involved in the industry that should attend. Anyone who is working to bring new ideas to the market will find the conference inspiring.

“Innovation can and does happen and is required to address the key issues we face,” Betterham said.

And this innovation cannot occur without a wide breadth of people coming together to talk about the challenges in mineral processing and the wider environment, and how to solve them.

This feature appeared in the August edition of Australian Mining.

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