Geology & GeoMetallurgy

Geology & GeoMetallurgy 2017-04-04T06:58:01+00:00
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Studying to become a Geometallurgist (15 replies and 4 comments)

Victor Bergman
2 years ago
Victor Bergman 2 years ago

Can we define the skills and field of study of a "Geometallurgist"? Are we able to define a specific undergraduate program in Geometallurgy?

I would like to hear what is your ideas on this topic. How prepared should an engineer or geologist be to cover what is today the concept of a geometallurgist.

Tony Verdeschi
2 years ago
Tony Verdeschi 2 years ago

There should be an undergraduate program in GeoMet.
However - should remember - Geomet is a specific area - not generalized and students need mineralogy, petrology, economic-geology and mineral processing (mineras deposit formation) education (classes) before steeping into this program.

this is a discipline that requires a solid base, involving mineralogy, geology and mineral processing knowledge. I reckon, geometallurgy is more a specialization rather than a degree. That is why, it is quite easy to find certificates, diplomas and even masters related with geomet.

It is always welcome that universities can be able to track the needs facing by the industry. From that point of view, the need exists and is getting a really exciting area of study. Yes Geometallurgy is a specific area; nevertheless something that distinguishes it from other specialisations is its more holistic study of the mining process. Offering a Geomet degree is something not evident yet, but a strong focus on this discipline is a must to be taught in current metallurgy/mineral processing undergraduate programs.

I reckon that should be the institution that has a clear understanding of what geometallurgy stands for. Rather than having a specialized Lab, is important to know how the information is going to be analysed and what you want to get from it. However, mainly in long term Geomet approach, more sophisticated tools are required, for instance :core scanning techniques, in that case you would have to end up working with a Lab whith characteristcs as you are mentioning.

David
2 years ago
Emerald coordinator
7 months ago

I'm contacting you from the University of Liège (Belgium) to let you know that we are currently coordinating together with the University of Lorraine (France), Lulea University of Technology (Sweden) and TU Bergakademie Freiberg ( Germany) a master program in geometallurgy http://www.em-georesources.eu

Also see the European Research and Metallurgical hub in geometallurgy http://www.geometallurgy.eu/

Alan Carter
2 years ago
Alan Carter 2 years ago

I am not sure the word 'geometallurgy' is clearly defined in this context. Also you are defining a 'program' rather than just a course.

A simple search in a major Australian career link (Seek) indicates only 4 positions identified with the keyword 'Geometallurgy'; only 1 of which would really suit a geometallurgist. To me, a geometallurgy program would largely be of value as a series of lectures.

My opinion is that a 2 to 4 week professional development course would be most suitable; but as people would be aware, 2-4 week professional development courses are not that popular.

I do not think it needs to be directly linked to a lab. In fact I am becoming increasingly supportive of internet-based courses.

Helena Russell
2 years ago
Helena Russell 2 years ago

I think the real Geometallurgist is the professional earth sciences of the future; it must be a master engineer geology, resource estimation, statistics and geostatistics, mining, metallurgy, evaluation of mining projects, the environment, in order to be a comprehensive specialist.
Years ago, talking to my wife who is also a geologist will talk of that future engineer, because I believe that ultimately the knowledge should be integrated to keep pace with the exponential advances of science and technology in the rational exploitation of mineral resources our land.
I am also a teacher and I think the day is not far when we have to think about integrating all the knowledge of all specialties listed and form a new type of engineer that could be called Geometallurgist Engineer.

Alan Carter
2 years ago
Alan Carter 2 years ago

You have annunciated the critical issue on the definition of geometallurgy. From your viewpoint it is extension of geology (to understand more the link with other professional activities).

But the other perspective is the extension of metallurgy. I have worked with metallurgists, whom to a large extent, have had great difficulty understanding geostatistics. I have also worked with geologists who had great difficultly with understanding metallurgy. My particular view is that metallurgy (particularly mathematical modelling) is not sufficiently advanced that it is easily explainable to geologists. There is a separate discussion about the subject of whether courses of mathematical modeling for mineral processing are available.

So my perspective is that it would be great if there were a general program linking people from the different groups (mining, geology, metallurgy, geostatistics, mathematics, mineralogy). Yet I also think fundamental issues such as data-handling are also important. Finally, any true geometallurgy can only be successful with effective communication skills, particularly dealing with the cross-spectrum of professions involved. But the whole downside of this is the lack of positions available.

Helena Russell
2 years ago
Helena Russell 2 years ago

I agree with you in terms of what are today separate specialties having to do with the rational use of the resources of our abused planet. It is true that at this time and in most of the mine sites there are only islands of professionals rarely communicate effectively to solve the biggest problem, getting the rock to extract useful ore as cheaply as possible and with minimal impact to environment.

So I hold my proposal to consider creating achieve professional integrate knowledge and although that will not be for tomorrow, we can do many things about it. In mining must be created multidisciplinary teams that manage to create synergy around geometallurgy, feedback and learn from each other, in other words set the stage for a different future in mining, thus only the geologists can understand a little metallurgy and metallurgical understand a little geostatistics and linear regression equations to estimate variables within geometallurgical domains, and not metal content as is now commonly used. That way professionals create more comprehensive, more integrated with an understanding of natural phenomenon that is the accumulation of a chemical element in the rock and the processes that regulate it.

I believe that these professionals are the future teachers of Geometallurgical Engineer. It is our duty to form teams that are capable of learning to understand the geological, mineralogical, petrographic and they can also integrate statistical and geostatistical tools for effective responses in the metallurgical recovery and show the miners and mine the mineral domains in response to recovery and not grades. It is able to predict since the mineral is in situ, which will recover in the plant. When we achieve that knowledge deployed in each mine, there will only need to change our paradigms regarding what should be the formation of a professional dedicated to earth sciences and more rational use of mineral resources.

Due to my work so many years in a consultant, I could expand my knowledge in all branches involved in the process of finding mineral deposits, explore them, undermining them and benefit the ore to extract the useful mineral. In those years I realized that the future will inevitably lead to the integration of human knowledge about and the need to create an Integrated Engineering, which has an overall view of the matter.

In my personal opinion I think it is necessary to create the foundations for the implementation of a career professional who believes these must be the geologists, miners and metallurgists of the future, but the three together in one Geometallurgical Engineer.

In summary colleague, I totally agree with you that the current situation is not the best but I also think we should and can create the future, I think all of us who love our profession, whether we are geologists, miners, metallurgists, chemists, etc., and we carry out of her womb resources for the good of mankind, we owe it to Mother Earth.

Maya Rothman
2 years ago
Maya Rothman 2 years ago

Thanks for the comments and feed back. To be more precise the Metallurgical Department and the GEA Institute (Economic Applied Geology) at the Universidad de Concepción are THINKING that we can prepare an undergraduate program of 5 years, as it is for the metallurgical engineer, focused in Geometallurgy. We understand that in some cases there is not complete consensus in how to define this branch. But at least it must cover most of the concept that you have presented here: geology, mineralogy, geostatistics, process metallurgy, enviroment, etc.

We need to develop a conceptual frame where all these technical skills will be part of the courses for this “new” engineer program, where the concept mine to mill could be extended in the concept mine to plant.

It is very important for us to hear (read) your opinion because most of you are dealing with “geometallurgy” problems today and the preparation of this program must be the reflect of what is need by the industry.

Alan Carter
2 years ago
Alan Carter 2 years ago

Sounds very exciting. Mainly because of my background, I see the advantages of the skills not mentioned such as mathematical modeling, datahandling (particularly databases), and communication. It might interest you that I am currently developing software for just holistic plant optimization. I see this in itself as a major challenge, hence the extended concepts such as mine to mill, and mine to plant, are certainly forward-looking and visionary, but also require significant technical challenges, which at this stage are not overcome. 

John Koenig
2 years ago
John Koenig 2 years ago

As is clear, there appear to be two sides from which geometallurgy are being viewed, a geologist with knowledge of metallurgy and a metallurgy with knowledge of geology. This omits the crucial bit in the middle, digging the stuff up. So, perhaps geometallurgy isn't the best term for such an activity. Nevertheless, I'll use the term in the absence of something better.

What geometallurgy should be about is combining all of the expertise required to go from resource delineation to tailings management making sure that all processes along the way are mutually optimised for the overall best outcome. The view that geologists find deposits, miners dig and metallurgists process is old fashioned, despite being the case at so many mines and companies where the three groups rarely, if ever, actually discuss the whole process and then blame each other when things go wrong.

The top flight, fast-tracked minerals industry professionals of the future will need to have a good grasp of all of these areas, but are unlikely to have the same depth of expertise as found in each individual profession unless they complete the equivalent of each qualification. Even then, they would need to practice as a professional in each area to gain useful knowledge. So a true geometallurgist will probably be into their 30's before having the knowledge and professional experience required.

There are far too few current people who have sufficient grasp of two, let alone three, of these areas to discuss the interrelationship between the geology, mining and metallurgy of a deposit. A two or four week course will not provide much more than an overview, bear in mind that 4 weeks at 40h a week equates to about 1/3 of an undergraduate semester.

There needs to be a course which prepares professionals for the overview of all areas of relevance but at a lower technical level than individual professions. In a five year course, two years of basics then one year of each discipline. The critical final project will need to be a synthesis of all of the three different areas of expertise into a single document covering everything to do with the life of a mine. If there is sufficient time, it should be possible to allow for specialisation in one of the three areas.

The above course can effectively be taken already, a three year geology degree, followed by one year long Graduate Diplomas in Mining and then Metallurgy. This option omits the most crucial step - bringing all three together into a single mindset.

Alan Carter
2 years ago
Alan Carter 2 years ago

I agree with your comments. I definitely think there is an important semantic point about the word 'geometallurgy'. Perhaps someone with a flair for English can be immortalized through the creation of a better term consistent with the objective of an integrated resource/geology/mine/plant strategy. Unfortunately we are comfortable with the phrase 'mining company' as a general function, but the word 'mine' when used separately does not include processing. My quick suggestion is 'mineral resource management'.

JohnnyD
2 years ago
JohnnyD 2 years ago

I know this is used already in metallurgy but I'd argue it fits much better to the overall process. The term mineral processing it is normally used to refer to the area of ROM to concentrate which then flows into hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, electrometallurgy. There are some that raise the term mineral processing above just the ROM to concentrate area ie to include beneficiation, hydro-, pyro-, and electrometallurgy. I think there is merit in this and leads to the phrase Minerals Engineering (as per Barry Wills's journal). However, this term Minerals Engineering is not widely used to refer to the metallurgy practitioners. The common name used for people that deal on the processing side of metallurgy is of course 'metallurgist' and is not likely to change. For these reasons the metallurgy department at WASM rightly or wrongly chose to change the name from Minerals Engineering to Metallurgical Engineering because none (both students and HR) knew what a minerals engineer was - ie the metallurgy graduates as Minerals Engineers - they are metallurgists.

To me the term Minerals Engineer does sound like it involves more than just metallurgy and could quite easily be used to refer to the overall engineering required to find, mine, and process minerals into marketable products.

Bob Mathias
2 years ago
Bob Mathias 2 years ago

In my opinion the Geometallurgist in our current industry needs to be an experienced person who understand very well the mining business. I have some experience preparing and mentoring new geometallurgist in my company and a holistic vision of the mining business can be only reached having experience in cross disciplinary works. Regarding to the background needed by the geometallurgist, the more widespread understanding is that this person needs to have different skills and knowledge like sampling, QaQc, metallurgical testing, modeling, geostatistic, mine planning, etc; but the most nedded skill is related to spatial modeling. Finally the geometallurgist has to model a local variability of a specific metallurgical parameter in an orebody. It is not unfrequent that such specialist is a geoscientific who coordinates a multidisciplinary work involving metallurgist, geologist and mining planners.

A geometallurgist needs a basic knowledge of all aspects of mining ... but most importantly need to facilitate communication between the various departments at a mine site (i.e. geology, mining, processing, sales etc) so that each department is getting the information they need to enable the mine to operate as a whole not as individual parts. Communication with upper management and finance departments is also very important.
The GeM project (AMIRA International project P843 and P843A ) has been addressing GeoMet issues for several years and is in the process of developing a number of GeoMet courses. We held a two week masters level GeoMet course at the University of Tasmania, Australia in March which covered many aspects of geology and metallurgy (e.g.importance of geomet, communication, tools for mineralogy, comminution, recovery, environmental issues, modelling of variables, domain definition, value propositions etc.). This course will become a regular part of the options available under the Master of economic geology program offered at UTAS, JCU and UWA but is also open to industry participants.
We are currently condensing the two week program into a 5 day course that will be available to industry later in the year.

Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits

GEOMETALLURGICAL MAPPING AND MINE MODELLING

Alan Carter
2 years ago
Alan Carter 2 years ago

I clearly agree that communication skills are paramount. 'Communication skills ' is often considered a 'soft course' at University. This is why I deliberately avoided using the word 'Engineering' when discussing a course, because Engineering is traditionally focused on technical issues rather than 'soft skills'. I would suggest that any new geometallurgy course should take a fresh look at what is truly required and also consider the alternative skills that: although are not currently appreciated by the traditional courses, nevertheless are essential to fulfill the role of a geometallurgiust (or Mineral Resource Manager/Engineer).

Victor Bergman
2 years ago
Victor Bergman 2 years ago

A great point would be to show how geometallurgy adds value for existing and new mines. It provides some good linkages to all the above. Having worked around this for some time I think the connectivity and working together, plus new methodologies and tools are exciting and hold much potential. It's been very interesting to have discussions around these aspects with a lot of people. Recently I've started asking 'how will this work add value?' It's interesting when some people, who so eloquently can discuss their approach, struggle to answer about the value of this work.

Alan Carter
2 years ago
Alan Carter 2 years ago

Here are some of the advantages of 'ideal' geometallurgy.

  • A strong understanding of the cost/benefit of processing ore from different 'blocks' with subsequent variations of the mine plan to increase NPV.
  • Selection and optimization of samples to gain maximum value from the laboratory test-work.
  • A clear time- processing-model to identify whether to increase/decrease capacity or a plant, or vary the actual circuit configuration.
  • To identify 'difficult' regions where temporary variations in processing are required (such as fine particles to a smaller size).
  • To quantitatively assess the benefits of 'blending'.
  • To develop an ore-dependent process model so that actual operation can be compared with prediction to identify if plant operation is consistent with expectation.
David
2 years ago
David 2 years ago

See this very fresh online geometallurgy course.

Used in Geometallurgy Training

Danilo
1 year ago

​Dear David Michaud, the link for the online geometallurgy course is not showing, could you paste it again?
Thanks.

David
1 year ago

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