In-person events are back and better than ever. Australian Mining chats with IMPC conference chair Ralph Holmes about what to expect from IMPC Asia Pacific 2022.
AusIMM and the CSIRO will come together to present IMPC Asia Pacific 2022 in August. Held in Melbourne and online, the conference brings together global delegates to share best practice and knowledge in mineral processing.
The conference is a great chance for people to attend an in-person event, with 300-plus attendees keen to re-connect and share their wisdom.
“We would encourage people to attend the conference in-person if they are able to. It’s a great opportunity for networking,” conference chair Ralph Holmes told Australian Mining.
The theme of this year’s conference, ‘From Ideas to Implementation’, will see keynote speakers and approved papers examine topics such as reducing waste and energy consumption.
But the main conversation will surround the mineral processing industry.
“There’s an ongoing challenge for the mineral industry, which is pretty important to society,” Holmes said. “It’s an appropriate topic as we face global warming and the prospect of net-zero.”
To tackle such a complex topic, the IMPC (International Minerals Processing Council) committee asked for submissions from the global community that focused on industry challenges, future operations, and advances in mineral processing.
This will enable IMPC attendees to benefit from the knowledge of more than 350 fully refereed papers and extended abstracts, multiple keynote speakers and a technical program showcasing the latest innovations and thinking in mineral processing.
“There’s a big focus on the environmental aspect,” Holmes said.
“We need to minimise environmental impact, which is an industry challenge, and we need people with the right sort of skills to mine in an environmentally friendly way for future operations.
“We also need new ideas and developments for mineral processing.”
Mineral processing professionals including plant, operations and delivery managers, metallurgists, geologists, academics, and decision-makers will be in attendance to discuss the latest in technologies and innovations.
Holmes expressed his excitement to be able to explore the different exhibits in-person, and his particular interest in pre-concentration and sorting. Rather than crushing everything that is dug up and trying to extract minerals from it, this process involves sorting occur from the outset. This sees waste rock or low-grade minerals rejected before the expensive and timely process of grinding and extraction begins.
“Anything along the lines of pre-concentration is interesting to me,” Holmes said. “And anything to do with energy reduction is also important. Crushing and grinding are huge consumers of energy and so I’m excited to discuss opportunities to reduce this.”
Those who want a more formal opportunity to learn more about these issues can look forward to hearing from the first of esteemed industry experts in their keynote addresses: Ausenco chief technical officer Greg Lane; Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane; BHP head of sustainability innovation Ingrid Oyarzún Olave; BHP Olympic Dam’s superintendent geometallurgy Kathy Ehrig; and WA School of Mines head Professor Michael Hitch.
Each speaker brings a wealth of knowledge from different parts of the industry, such as the future of Queensland mining from Macfarlane, industry sustainability from Olave, and zero discharge and reducing the mining footprint from Hitch.
Bringing together research bodies and industry was an important consideration for the conference committee, especially when it leads to the development and implementation of new mineral processing technologies.
Collaboration could come in the form of industry funding or research into industry needs, which is why the conference focuses on research papers along with industry talks and exhibits. It enables the research and industry sectors to come together to discuss what is needed and how each can help the other.
“Collaboration is critical, and it helps us to focus on what we actually do,” Holmes said. “You’ve got a customer already lined up and the research is useful and focused.”
The IMPC Asia-Pacific 2022 will be held from August 22–24 at Crown Promenade Melbourne. The conference will also be streamed online, but those who can attend in person are encouraged to do so.
“It’s a great opportunity to network,” Holmes said. “We’re encouraging people to toss off the shackles and come and see us in Melbourne at the end of August.”
This feature appeared in the July issue of Australian Mining.