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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Water in Mining 2009"

Seeing as how this collection of papers is from a specific conference, the way it reads assumes that readers already know about water and mining. However, by the fourth or fifth paper, even novices in this field understand what is going on. The scope of all the papers is on improving water processes (manmade and natural) and mining. Some papers even combine the two topics in an attempt to start a revolution. Some papers seem rudimentary and other highly detailed. When it comes to water, scientists can stay basic in their explanations or go all out. This CD includes both of those extremes.

The 200+ pages of the Water in Mining 2009 conference that took place from September 15 to 17 in Perth, Western Australia is all compacted into a tiny CD-Rom. Since it was in that part of the world, some spellings are unusual, such as placing s’s where z’s would normally be and having ou’s where o’s would have sufficed. However, that is only mildly annoying. After a dense foreword and list of sponsors, there are some company profiles. As for the bulk of the research papers, they are divided into the following categories: mine water treatment, mineral processing, groundwater, perspectives, water efficiency, and water quality. An extensive list of publications follows. This is either a shameless plug for the writers or simply a way for experts in the field to broaden their knowledge. Included on the disk is a movie from an environmental consulting firm that explains what it does. It is really more of a slideshow set to music, though.

As for the papers themselves, they tend to be more theory based. Ideas and improvements on water treatment as pertaining to mining are given. Not much empirical data is provided. Where one would like to see graphs, there are diagrams. In some cases, full papers aren’t even given; there are only abstracts. However, some papers stand out. Bourke’s paper was full of chemical tests that laid out exactly what he did. One of his discoveries was that his trademarked AMDRO is cost effective when it comes to treating acidic water and waste. Other papers that are not as precocious raise red flags when as little as two references are given. Conversely, Cocks’ paper on water management was highly intriguing as it specialized the water processing strategy in such a precise fashion that cycles within cycles were implemented. Some papers like Nyquest’s were intriguing in the sense that they integrated geology into their reports and specifically worked in certain regions of Australia only. Vink’s paper was well researched and delved deep into rainwater properties.

As compared to other literature in the field of water in mining, this CD is not so bad. Once one weeds through the mediocre papers and single abstracts, there is a handful of excellent research and writing. Seeing as how all the proceedings of the conference are on a CD, it is a bit tedious to try and find certain topics since one cannot flip through pages. However, there is an advantage when readers can type in a designated topic in the “find” part of Adobe Acrobat.

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