Crundwell, Mankosa and Young share industry and life insights in MPD Plenary Award Lectures

Chee Theng

March 3, 2021

Baseball, bubbles and bacteria… all three are present in the virtual MPD Plenary session, in which Frank Crundwell, Michael Mankosa and Courtney Young take to the screen to give the Mineral & Metallurgical Processing Division’s (MPD) three signature lectures in a session sponsored by Weir Minerals.

“We have a good time together, even when we’re not together,” Young said, quoting baseball great Yogi Berra. Never are truer words said, as wit flowed freely even while the three speakers dispensed deep industry insights and knowledge.

Talking on “Why are Dissolution and Leaching Reactions So Difficult?” Crundwell demonstrated the reason dissolution reactions are fascinating, and covered in turn the difficulties of impurities, bacteria and initial rates. He shed light on the importance of electronic structure and of surface charges as a hidden variable, and showed how he produced clear, incontrovertible results on the mechanism of bacterial leaching by inventing a novel way of measuring rates of bioloeaching reactions. Crundwell won the Milton E. Wadsworth Award for “innovative, rigorous contributions that have enhanced fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of oxidative and nonoxidative leaching of nonferrous minerals, including sulfides, oxides and silicates.”

Mankosa, who won the Robert H. Richards Award for “outstanding contributions to applied research, engineering development and commercial deployment of advanced separation systems for the mineral-processing industries,” spoke on “High Efficiency Processing – Pushing the Limits of Flotation.” With pressure by investors creating a paradigm shift in technology acceptance, improvements in resource management are expected, he said. Eriez has responded with technology that offers substantial environmental advantages, including kinetics that are four to five times faster, a 60-percent reduction in foundation loads, a 50-percent reduction in footprint/envelope and a 40-percent reduction in power consumption compared with conventional cells.

In “Loading the Bases with Students – Hitting Grand Slams with Industry,” Young showed that winning teams are created not only on the baseball pitch but also in the mineral-processing and extractive-metallurgy laboratories of Montana Tech in Butte. With four stellar teams on gold recovery from thiosulfate leach solution, chalcopyrite flotation and depression, flotation of rare earth element minerals, and pressure and dispersion in flotation, “bases are loaded, and Courtney’s at the bat!” Unsurprisingly, Young won the Antoine M. Gaudin Award “for contributions in advancing mineral processing technology through research in partnership with industry and for passionate dedication to students and their careers.”

The MPD Plenary Award Signature Lectures are part of the MINEXCHANGE 2021 SME Annual Conference & Expo. The conference includes 131 technical sessions and 71 scheduled presentations, all of which are recorded and available to attendees for 60 days. For more information, go to


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