Guest Blogger- Camilla Owens

IMPC 2016 11th September – 15th September

Between the 11th and 15th of September I attended the International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC) in Quebec City, Canada representing SoS Rare. A bi-annual congress the IMPC is a meeting of over 1000 mineral processers who are based in both industry and academia, topics range from anything from flotation to grinding. This year there were was a session on rare earth elements (REE) with talks relating to all aspects of processing REE deposits.

I presented a poster on my research “Recovery of REE’s from a mixed apatite- synchysite ore” in the student poster session that was well received. The congress was also a good opportunity to meet up with collaborators Dr Martin Rudolph of the Helmholtz Institute of Resource Technology Freiberg and Professor Corby Anderson of Colorado School of Mines. It was a superb opportunity to see some of the outstanding research conducted on both REE’s and flotation around the world.

Although most of the congress was based in the conference centre we were encouraged to wander around the old city during breaks and Quebec Old city was suitably stunning. Special thanks to SoS Rare, NERC, IOM3 and Mkango Resources for supporting my visit to Quebec City.

Photo of Chateau Frontenac in Quebec CityCamilla Owens at IMPC with her poster

SoS RARE, HIF collaboration

Between the 1st and 28th of October I visited Helmholtz Institute of Resource Technology Freiberg, HIF (a SoS Rare international research partner), in Germany to collaborate on a short term research placement. My visit was organised by Dr Martin Rudolph (the head of the Mineral Processing department at HIF) and I was lucky enough to collaborate with Edgar Schach who has just finished his Master’s at HIF.

My research was focused on the fundamentals of froth flotation, which is used to process rare earth deposits. In particular we researched the effects nanobubbles, tiny bubbles hundreds of times thinner than the width of a human hair, have on flotation. Nanobubbles were only discovered in the 1990’s and are an exciting area of fundamental science that is slowly being applied to industrial research. The placement was highly successful with data analysis ongoing both at HIF and at CSM.

During my time in Germany I had time to visit the local Terra Mineralia Museum in Freiberg which hosts one of the world’s best mineral collections. It was a superb visit and the gallery of luminescent minerals was particularly stunning. During one of the weekends I also had time to pop to Dresden to visit the Zwinger palace and see the amazing architecture.

This visit could not have gone ahead without the fantastic support of Dr Martin Rudolph and the Helmholtz Institute of Resource Technology, Freiberg. Special thanks to Will Dawes of Mkango Resources Ltd for his support of this placement. I would also like to thank Nathalie Sterbik, Bent Babel and Lisa Ditscherlein for their invaluable help whilst at HIF.

Milly Owens, Friday 28th October 2016.

Dresden Zwinger- Copyright Camilla Owens