Aug 19, 2018

Conference line-up goes beyond run of the mill

Conference line-up goes beyond run of the mill

‘Back to basics or back to future?’ is the theme for chemical engineer Jean-Paul Franzidis’ keynote presentation at AusIMM’s 14th Mill Operators’ Conference.

But he is keeping some cards up his sleeve regarding what delegates will take away from his session.

“They’ll have something to think about. I’m a bit reluctant to expand on my answer – I think it will give the game away!” he said.

The conference will be hosted in Brisbane, August 29-31 – 40 years after the first AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference was held in in Mount Isa.

Conference chair Katie Barns said the organising committee had developed a program with an emphasis on best practice in all areas of plant operations, doing the basics well, operating updates, newly commissioned operations and information on emerging technologies in line with the conference themes.

Professor Franzidis studied chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town and has been involved in flotation research for more than 30 years, including leading the AMIRA P9 project at the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre at the University of Queensland.

He was founding director of University of Cape Town’s Minerals to Metals Signature Theme and its inaugural South African National Research Chair in Mineral Beneficiation, as well as establishing the university’s Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree specialising in Sustainable Mineral Resource Development.

Keynote speaker Jean-Paul Franzidis.

Professor Franzidis answered a few quick questions in the lead-up to the AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2018:

What are you looking forward to at Millops this year?

“Meeting old friends and colleagues and former students (sometimes the same people), finding out what’s new and exciting in their world, and sharing my experiences of the past decade, looking at mining from a different perspective.”

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the industry?

“Retiring from it—I think it’s got into my blood! While working, it was always a challenge getting money to fund large collaborative research projects. However, my biggest challenge has not been in the mining industry – it has been in defending it to people who believe mining is an unethical business that has no place on the surface of the planet.”

What advice would you give to a professional or graduate starting out in the industry?

“They should get as broad an education as possible and never stop learning. I would recommend them to get as much experience in a variety of operations as possible, meet as many people from as many different backgrounds as possible, and try to see the world from their perspective.”

What emerging technologies are you excited about?

“The emerging technology I am most excited (and nervous) about is Artificial Intelligence—and the 4th Industrial Revolution in general. I think this will have an effect on our industry beyond anything that anyone can imagine. I will expand on this in my presentation.”

For more information on the AusIMM Mill Operators’ Conference 2018 visit

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