Importance of metallurgical research on refractory gold ore processing

Wan, Rong-Yu
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
I am deeply honored and grateful to receive the prestigious Gaudin Award. Frankly, I find myself amazed to be included in the company of those outstanding individuals who have previously received this recognition. I am humbly honored to receive this award from an industrial research group. Gaudin was an internationally respected leader of mineral processing. His research contributions widely covered the whole spectrum of mineral processing science and technology, including comminution, size distribution, electrostatics, magnetics, thickening and, especially, the development of flotation theory and application. In his later career, he increased his emphasis on hydrometallurgical technology. In fact, one of his most notable practical contributions was in the development of leaching and ion exchange purification of uranium from low-grade ores. Gaudin catalyzed the trend in mineral processing toward engineering science for a better understanding of process mechanisms and kinetics. He said that those working in academic fields should have an underlying responsibility to the industry they represent. This imposed on him the objective of seeking out research areas that had some relevance to industry's problems. He said, "research without an audience cannot survive." Gaudin performed a most vital service, both in the areas of research in which he was actively involved and through his less-direct influence on current research by his many former students and their students in turn. Interestingly, Gaudin's strength has influenced Newmont Mining Corp. His favorite student was Plato Malozemoff. He had a long and distinguished career with Newmont, beginning as staff engineer in 1945, serving as Newmont's president for more than 30 years and as chairman of the company for 20 years. Newmont's greatest growth occurred during his leadership. Another one of Gaudin's graduate students from Montana School of Mines, Oscar F. Tangel, joined Newmont in 1967. He was a vice president of research and development until 1986. In their efforts, Newmont built a research group, developing the technologies of exploration, geophysics and metallurgy. The Newmont technical facility is named in honor of Malozamoff as "a leader in the development and implementation of new technologies." The mining industry is facing very difficult times, especially in the metals industry. Most metal prices have declined and are still not stable. Most domestic mining companies have largely done away with in-house research and development. Many are reluctant to invest in technology development for which there is not an immediate need. The metal mining industries are focusing on reducing operating costs to survive. Newmont is in the same situation. I appreciate that Newmont's management believes in the importance of research and technology and the impact technology has on the company's value. At Newmont, technology development involves working in the area of applied research. The connections from academic fundamental research to applied research and finally to process development and implementation are very important to develop a new technology. Fundamental research is our foundation, our guidance, giving us direction, providing the principal and mechanism and understanding why it works. Understanding the why will lead to further innovative development. Applied research needs to find the approach to reality, how it works, how to make it better and how to commercialize it. Process development and implementation needs a strong leadership, requires long-term commitment, makes improvements in practical engineering and finally develops an economically favorable process. Implementation is the most important stage in making research a reality. Each stage needs to give feedback to the other stages. Problems need to be understood and solved. Otherwise, the new technology will go nowhere. Simplicity of operation is a key of success in any plant. Necessity is the
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