The 2010s

The mining industry has some encouragement with ongoing activity and investment in South Crofty by Canadian Company Base Result, but a development decision is never made owing to the global financial situation and a lack of available credit. Very little by way of private investment is being made in Cornish industry apart from in the heritage and tourist sectors.

Continuing investment through European funding sees the Tremough Campus at Penryn growing, The Falmouth Arts college grow and ascend to university status and focus being given to the marine sector. Government policy remains to send an increasing number of students through Higher Education, but a gradual realisation that this is leading to a skills crisis in manufacturing and engineering, sees a resurgence in interest in Apprenticeships.

The fallout from the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 sees a massive swing of cash away from public and towards private capital, exemplified by cuts in local government, housing, defence and the privitisation of many remaining government agencies.

Luxury goods, such as the super-yachts built and renovated by Pendennis, experience little impact from the recession and HE establishments are increasingly oriented towards profit, both through asset management and through entrepreneurialism.

Annual General Meeting, 22nd April, 2010
The meeting was chaired by the President, Mr. P. Foster who asked the Secretary to present her report. She provided brief comments on the visits and lectures. She noted that there had been some initial worries about the cost to the Institute of one of the visits because of the need to hire a mini bus. In the event the attendance was over 20 and the loss was only £7.00. She said that a small group of Council Members had a meeting with Mr. P. Foster, President of the SWIMMM to discuss the possibility of merging the CIE and the SW IMMM in the near future. The benefits of a merger would be to lessen the load on Mr. Foster and future Presidents, broaden the possibilities for CIE lectures by way of funding speakers from further a field to address meetings and to share venues, dates and audience numbers. The meeting had terminated with the decision to follow this up and to approach the rest of the CIE Council with this proposition.

The Council Meeting was held on 11th March and nominations for President, Vice-President and Council for the next Session were agreed for submitting to the AGM.

The date, venue and guests for the biennial dinner were agreed. The venue would be the Penventon Hotel, Redruth on 4th June and the guests to be invited were Mrs. J. Dixon and Professor F. Wall, CSM both with personal guests.

The Secretary noted that Mr. K. Menadue had sorted out several boxes of CIE documents some of which were in the care of the Secretary and some have been deposited with the Cornwall County Records Office.

The Council was to hold a meeting on May 13th to discuss the programme for the 2010/11 session.

Financial Statement: The bank balance on 1st January 2009 was £9064.45 and on 31st December this had decreased by £482.98 to £8581.47. Subscriptions had increased by £20 to £768.00 although the tax refund had decreased slightly to £139.90. £200 had been transferred from the Trounson Fund to enable a prize to be awarded. There was also some income from members to pay for visits. There was no interest from the bank account.
Expenditure showed a large increase in secretarial services to £1000, insurance remained at £349 and other payments were connected to visits and £200 as a Trounson Memorial Prize.
The J. H. Trounson Memorial Fund had received no bank interest during 2009 and following the payment of prize of £200 had decreased from £2321.56 on 1st January to £2121.56 on 31st December.

At the close of the formal business Mr. N. MacDonald, Operations Manager, SGS, Mineral Services UK Ltd. was invited to deliver his talk on “Gold Treatment in Newfoundland”. His talk gave an overview of a small gold processing plant in Newfoundland, including the site history with a comprehensive look at the flowsheet and separation techniques employed. The talk was liberally illustrated with photographs.

The planned programme for the session was somewhat more extensive than than had become usual consisting of nine General Meetings, the AGM and two visits; one at each end of the session.

Following the agreement reached after the previous AGM the programme was jointly arranged by the Institute and the South West Branch of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and the majority of the Meetings were held at the Tremough Campus.
The first General Meeting on 14th October 2009 was the occasion for the President’s Address delivered by Dr. J. Bennet, CSM on the subject of “Small Scale Mining” . He said that apart from the investment and technology of modern mining many millions of people seek a meagre living from artisanal and small scale mining for gold, gemstones and other minerals. He presented an insight into the reality of this world which is becoming increasingly significant to large scale mining planning.

The President’s Address was followed two days later with a very apposite visit to the Rosevale Mine at Zennor which was a restoration project that was started in the 1970s by a small group of enthusiasts as a pastime activity with the aim of restoring the underground workings of this former tin mine into a typical, authentic small Cornish mine. It consists of two tunnels each approximately 250 -300 metres in length driven into the hillside along a single lode connected by a ladder way through a 30 metre vertical stope.

The second General Meeting on 11th November was held at the Opie Building in Camborne when there was a presentation on “The Murdoch Flier” by Mr. J. Baughan, the Project Chairman. He spoke of the formation of the Community Restoration Group in Redruth and its efforts to establish the historic facts behind the first steam driven road carriage in the world which was only a model and the Group’s efforts to build a full size steam driven replica.

The third General Meeting was the ninth Annual Victor Phillips Memorial Lecture on 18th November and was on the subject of  “Aspects of Post Mining Regeneration” delivered by Dr. P. Whitbread-Abrutat, Senior Scientist – the Eden Project. Although he described the way that disused mines had been regenerated in many countries his talk was mainly illustrated with slides taken from a book he was about to publish entitled “100 Things to do with a Hole in the Ground”
This lecture was attended by a record number of nearly 100 consisting of CIE and MMMI members, CSM staff, students and visitors

On 9th December, Mr. P Beauvais  of the Met Office gave a lecture to the fourth General Meeting about “Mining, Weather and Climate Change”. He spoke about how the impact of the weather should be considered at all stages of the mine life cycle. The then outlined some work carried out by the Met Office on the impact of climate change on mining activities and vice versa.

The Don Dixon Memorial Lecture was given on 6th January 2011 at the Opie Building, Camborne on “The Engineering Challenges of Wave Hub” by Mr. G Lavender, Project Manager. The focus of his talk was the stages of the work to be carried out in the summer of 2011. An important element was to be the interface with Western Power Distribution, the cable construction, future proofing and the electrical control and monitoring system. There were a number of well answered questioned after the lecture.

The planned speakers for the sixth and seventh General Meetings on 27th January and 17th February respectively had to be changed at short notice. The substitute speaker at the January event was Prof. F. Wall, Head of CSM who spoke on “Rare Earths – The Geology Behind the News.” He spoke about the 17 rare earth elements which are now in great demand by the electronics industry. He pointed out that about 97% of the world’s supply of these minerals came from China. This was another well attended talk with an audience of over 80.

The seventh General Meeting on 17th February was to have been on “Post Mining Remediation in Redruth – Phase 2” but the speaker, Mr. S Dennis, was unable to attend and Mr. I. Bowditch  kindly stood in at short notice and gave a talk on  “China Clay – An Overview of a Great Cornish Industry from Past to Present”. He has spent his entire working life in the china clay industry, and also has an extraordinary knowledge and historical interest in the subject.

The eigth General Meeting on 3rd March heard a talk Mr. R. Leeming, H.M. Inspector of Mines, on “ Minimising the Fire Risk from Belt Conveyors in Intake Roadways”. He said that the operation of conveyors in intake trunk roadways posed a risk of the products of combustion from a fire on the conveyor being carried into the working areas by the ventilation system. He explained the installation, inspection and maintenance standards to be observed as well as the monitoring system.

The ninth and final General Meeting on 24th March heard a lecture on “The UK Mines Rescue Service”  by Dr. B. Jones, Operations Director of Mines Rescue Service Ltd.” The talk covered the 100 year history of the development of the UK coal industry’s Mines Rescue Service leading to the specialist skills, experience and knowledge in the areas of first aid, fire fighting, rescue, and safety and he focussed particularly on its role since the privatisation of the industry in 1995.

Annual General Meeting, 7th April, 2011
The Chairman, Dr. J. Bennnet, invited the Secretary to present her report. She noted that the attendance at the lectures, particularly those at the Tremough Campus had been very high mainly resulting from an increase in membership. The programme for the 2011/2012 session would be agreed in time for it to be distributed in September. Finally, the Council was proceeding  to formalise the affiliation of the Institute with the SW Branch of the IMMM.
The financial statement showed that the bank balance had decreased by £509.13 from £8581.47 to £8072.34 and this could be attributed to the low interest rates currently being received. The income from subscriptions had been £748.00 and the tax refund on this was £145.55. The other main items of income were £450.00 from the sale of dinner tickets and and £52.32 from the donation box at the lecture meetings. The main items of expenditure were £1000.00 for Secretarial Expenses, £115.00 for the Secretary’s expenses, £300.00 for insurance and £490.00 for the dinner although the latter was, of course, mainly offset by the incomes from the sale of the dinner tickets.
The J. H. Trounson Memorial Fund had remained at £2121.56 since no prize had been awarded.

At the close of the formal proceedings Mr. D. Johns was invited to give a lecture entitled “Bloodhound” since the planned talk by Dr. N. Sewell had been cancelled. Unfortunately details of his talk are not available.

Before the end of the session there was the second visit, this time to the Pendenis shipyard at Falmouth where members saw where the Company had been building custom super-yachts for over twenty years. The Company was in the 30m – 60m sailing and motor yacht as well as having one of Europe’s refit facilities for super yachts.

The Session was brought to a conclusion with the biennial Dinner at the Penventon Hotel, Redruth, on 4th June.

The session had the usual mix of a visit at the start of the session followed by nine General Lecture Meetings, the AGM and a second visit.
The session started with a General Meeting on 13th October at which Mr. K. P. Van der Wielen, CSM gave a talk on “Improved Energy Utilisation in Mineral Processing Using High Voltage Particle Breakage” but no details of the talk are available.

The first visit on 29th October was to the St. Austell Brewery which has been brewing beer in Cornwall since 1851, has 174 pubs in the South West and is the last of the large family breweries in the region. The Victorian tower building contains  state-of-the-art equipment on which it products a range of traditional cask-conditioned ales including its nationally sold Tribute Ale. The visit concluded with a tasting session to wash down a pasty.

The second General Meeting on 3rd November heard a talk by Mr. P. Ledingham, Geoscience, on “The United Downs Geothermal Energy Project”. He said that although European geothermal research had moved away from Cornwall in the 1990s the County remained the best source of geothemal energy in the UK and is now once again at the forefront. He reviewed the previous research and summerised the world wide expansion of geothermal utilisation before describing the plans and progress of the United Downs project.

17th November was the occasion for the 10th Annual Victor Phillips Memorial Lecture. It was delivered by Mr. P. Burton, Senior Equities Analyst, GFHS/Thomson Reuters and entitled “If only Tin were Gold”. Unfortunately no transcript of the talk is available.

The fourth General Meeting on 30th November was addressed by Messrs. G. Williams and S. Hoult on “The future of Coal in the UK and UK Coal’s Future within it”. It was pointed out that coal which powered Britain’s past remained a major component of present day electricity generation. The presentation outlined the future of coal usage coal mining in the UK and explored markets, issues, emerging strategies and likely developments in both deep and surface mining.

The fifth General Meeting on 8th December heard a lecture by Mr. M. Walker of Network Rail on “Mineral Extraction and the Railway Corridor”. Mr. Walker exposed the risks to the railway from ongoing and abandoned mineral extraction, highlighting the effects on different types of infrastructure and how these were managed, from ongoing subsidence of 1.5m under traffic to the risk of abandoned working swallowing the track.

On 12th January 2012 the Annual Don Dixon Memorial entitled “Intelligent Electricity Demand Management at Underground Mines”  was presented by Mr. N. Williams of CSM who was undertaking a project funded by the Camborne School of Mines Trust to understand patterns of use of the various electrical loads at a mine such as hoisting, conveying, pumping, ventilation and coal shearing in order to develop a demand side management system for more efficient underground mining.

The seventh General Meeting on 2nd February  had a presentation by Dr. K. Russ when he showed a remarkable display of 3D computer-generated models of Cornish mines and mine planning around old workings. Dr Russ had commenced modelling underground workings in the Camborne-Redruth area some years earlier and had continued to develop this sophisticated mine survey tool. This was expected to fascinate anyone interested in mine surveying or in local mining history.

The eighth General Meeting was on 1st March on “Star and Planet Formation” was addressed by Professor M Bate of the University of Exeter who was a numerical astrophysicist using supercomputers to study the processes of star and planet formation.  This entailed self-gravitating fluid dynamical simulations, some of which also included radiation transport and magnetic fields, and often requiring months and years of computer time. The output of his work included some extraordinary and beautiful dynamic images.

The final General Meeting on 1st March heard a talk on “Developing Mining Projects in West Africa” by Mr. P. Taylor of Afferro Mining, a graduate mining engineer from the CSM.The holder of senior management roles in mining, heavy civil engineering and aviation he had worked in Africa, Asia and Europe. At the date of the talk he was the Chief Operating Officer of Afferro Mining, an iron ore development company seeking to develop the ‘next generation’ of iron mines in West Africa.

The second visit of the session on 29th March was to Falmouth based Fugro Seacore, a specialist overwater drilling and marine construction contractor for over 33 years. It designed and operated its own equipment services were offered for offshore geotechnical investigations, mineral exploration, large diameter shaft drilling, foundation installation and renewable blasting operations. The visit gave Institute members the opportunity to see another thriving Cornish business which provided leading-edge products and services to  a global market.

Annual General Meeting, 19th April, 2012
The President, Mr. J. Bennnet chaired the meeting and after receiving apologies for absence he invited the Secretary to present her report. She gave a summary of the years activities. Five of the meetings had been held at the Tremough Campus and five, including the AGM, at the Opie Building in Camborne. The total numbers attending the meetings not including the post-AGM lecture was 428 of which 104 were Institute members, 81 were IMMM members and the remainder were visitors. Attendance at the Tremough meetings was 305 with the highest attendance being 114 at the Victor Phillips Memorial Lecture. There were 123 at the Opie Building meetings.

The President presented the Treasurer’s report and statement of accounts since Mr. J. Coggan had resigned from the post. The bank balance showed a decrease of £426.90 from £8072.34 on 1st January to 31st December 1911. Income of £1160.56 included Subscriptions of £772, an increase £24 on the previous year and Gift Aid Tax refund was £148.81. £200 was transferred from the J.H. Trounson Memorial Fund to pay for a prize awarded during the year. Income from donations and sales amounted to £39.75.
Expenditure of £1587.00 included £1000 for Secretarial Services, £304 for Insurance Premium, £83.00 for Secretarial Costs and £200 paid as a J.H. Trounson Memorial Prize.

The J.H. Trounson Memorial Fund had no income during the year and an expenditure of £200 was transferred to the Institute general fund to pay for a prize and as a result the balance of funds fell from £1212.56 on 1st January to £1921.56 on 31st December 2011. A CIE-Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Account was set up on 5th July 2011 with a balance of £3302.56 and on 5th January 2012 it had increased to 34231.26  due to transfers from the IMMM and sundry expenses.

The Cornwall Industrial Trust report was read by Mr. S. Barber since Mr. K Menadue had retired from the post. An award of funds from the Trust had been made to Mr. A. Yasrebi for his studies at CSM. The CIT account held about £28000.

Mr. D. Chilcott had taken over from Mr. K. Menadue as the CIE representative on the CSM Trust. Mr. Chilcott said he had not attended the most recent Trust meeting but he had been advised that the Trust account held an estimated £3,000,000 in investments and a total of £117, 050 had been disbursed, mainly in student bursaries.

Mr. Bennett said that ways of marking the Centenary of the Institute in 1913 were being considered. Among suggestions were a conference, an engineering competition for youngsters and a new website. A meeting was to be held in June 2012  to discuss this proposal and an e-mail was circulated to members advising them of the date – 14th June.
Under the heading of Any Other Business Mr. N Hewitt informed the AGM that Cornwall County Council was developing a scheme for scholarships as part of a response to the new higher education funding regime and were looking for local organisations that might offer these. He suggested that it would be advantageous to get in touch with CCC for more details.  JB said that the only linked organization with the constitutional basis and financial strength to maintain this would be the CSM Trust. Mr. Hewitt was asked to send the CIE the CCC contact details. Mr. Chilcott was asked to follow up with the CSM Trust.

This concluded the formal business of the meeting and the Chairman introduced Mr. S. Dennis of Carnon Contracting to deliver his lecture  on “Engineering Solar Power in Cornwall”. He said that in an age when energy security and carbon footprint were high on the agenda, Cornwall had become a significant centre for renewable energy. This talk looked at the way of harnessing the ultimate energy source – the sun. Mr. Dennis described the engineering challenges behind the installation of some of Cornwall’s largest solar farms.

The session had eight General Meetings and the AGM which was followed by a lecture. Three of the General Meetings and the AGM were held in the Opie Building, Camborne and the other five General Meetings were held at the Tremough Campus, Penryn. Total attendance at the Tremough meetings was 455 of whom 65 were CIE members, 85 were IMMM members and 305 were visitors, this number included 122 attending the Victor Phillips Memorial Lecture. The Opie meeting attendance totalled 111, of which 38 were CIE members, 16  IMMM members and 57 visitors.

The special meeting to discuss proposals for celebrating the Institute’s Centenary was held on 14th June 2012 when it was decided to hold a conference entitled “Mining – A Knowledge Cluster in Cornwall”. It would be intended to provide a showcase to raise awareness of some of the many mining related businesses and skills in Cornwall that provide products and services to a global market. 12 speakers had been arranged at that date and 46 delegates had registered. A celebration dinner at the Penventon was also planned for that evening. It was also confirmed that Mr. G. Wilson was also working on the history of CIE for a Centenary book.

The first General Meeting on 11th October was devoted to the Presidential Address by Dr. P. Foster entitled “The Road to Zero Harm”. He had worked with companies from Anglo-American to UK Coal said he would toke the opportunity of the Presidential address to describe the current approach to managing hazards in workplaces through a sustained drive across management and workforce to minimise risk.

The second General Meeting on 1st November heard a lecture by Mr. J. Penty on the subject of “Industrial Hydraulics – A Brief History of the Last 200 Years”. He had spent many years working and teaching in the important field of industrial hydraulics, which underpins so many types of machinery. The talk covered developments from Joseph Bramah’s hydraulic press, patented in 1795, to the 21st Century.

The 22nd November was the occasion of the 11th Annual Victor Phillips Memorial Lecture
“The Coal Authority: Managing the Legacy of the Coal Industry” delivered by Mr. Kershaw, Head of Research & Development, The Coal Authority. He said that since its inception in 1994 the Coal Authority has looked after the residual liabilities and responsibilities left over from the privatisation of the coal industry. The talk covered the functions of the Authority, including licensing, provision of mining information, mine water treatment and the management of issues of public safety and subsidence. The talk also covered recent developments including the dissemination of mining information, Research and Development, the Authority’s future development and changes in the Coal Industry Act allowing it to deal with non-coal issues.

On 6th December at the fourth General Meeting Dr. C Moon, CSM, a distinguished geologist who had worked in more than 30 countries, at more than 110 mines and major prospects worldwide. He had a special interest in Cornwall and spoke on the potential that still exists in our county.

The Annual Don Dixon Memorial Lecture was given on 10th January 2013 by Mr. P. Harris of Western Power on “The Impact of Renewable Generation and Low Energy Loads on Electricity Distribution Networks”. He said that renewable energy provides huge challenges with variability of supply. Mr. Harris was the 11kv Design Engineer for Western Power Distribution andl described the management of the output in the distribution network, with particular interest in the impact of low energy (non-linear) loads.

The sixth General Meeting was held on 7th February when the subject discussed by Dr. L.Kent, Golder Associates was “Advances in Coal Mining Strata Support”. A Camborne School of Mines alumna,she had worked on a wide variety of geotechnical consultancy projects, including EU research work for the coal industry.  She said that roof support and related management of subsidence are a critical aspect of coal mining.  She provided knowledgeable insights into the state of the art in support technologies for the coal industry.

The seventh General Meeting on 7th March heard a talk entitled “Is Wind Energy at a Crosroads in the UK.” by Mr. Haydn Scholes director of Wardell Armstrong in Cornwall. He said the company provided a international consultancy service from its Cornwall office and he spoke authoritavely about the future of the mature wind energy industry.

The final General Meeting of the session on 14th March was given a talk  By Mr. E Buscome who was the Central Area Mines Manager of the Imerys china clay operations in Cornwall. He described the outlook for the industry and some more technical aspects of modern mining methods.

Annual General Meeting, 11th April, 2013
The President, Dr. P Foster opened the meeting spoke about the excllent and varied talks during the year. He aid he was privilaged to be President during the Centenary year and said celebrations had started with the informal reception after the final General Meeting on 14th March.

The Secretary had sent apologies for being absent and her report was read by the President. The report summarised the talks which had been given during the year and gave the attendance figures.

Dr. J. Bennett, acting Treasurer presented the statement of accounts for the year 2012.  Dr. Bennett said he would remain as acting Treasurer until after the Centenary Conference later in the year.  The bank balance showed a very large increase from £7645.90 to  £24434.18 largely due to a transfer of £16448.10 from the SW Branch of the IMMM on its merger with the Institute. Subscriptions had decreased by £86 from £772.00 to £686.00 and this had also resulted in a decrease of £36.31 in the Gift Aid tax return. Donations amounted  to £348.07 which included £250 from Wardell Armstrong International toward the cost of the Centenary Conference to be held in 2013. There was also income of £540 from the sale of dinner tickets. Expenditure included £597.65 for the dinner. There was a deposit of £300 for space at Heartlands for the Centenary Conference and £258.70 for speakers’ expenses. £78.44 was transferred to the J.H. Trounson Memorial Account to retore its balance to £2000 at the end of the year.
As well as the transfer noted above £200 had been transferred from the J.H. Trounson Account to the CIE Account to pay for a prize.

The CIE-institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining – South West Branch had an income of £2414.00 from the IMMM. There was expenditure of  £886.80 for catering at the V. Phillips Memorial Lecture. The remaining balance of £5758.46 was transferred to the CIE and the account was closed. The CIE – IMMM Reserve Account had an income of £4.24 from interest and as noted above £5758.46 was received from the SW Branch. The remaining balance of £16448.10 was transferred to the CIE and the account was closed.

The Cornwall Industrial Trust Report was read to the meeting and and Mr. D. Chilcott had sent a written copy of the CSM Trust Report.

Dr. P. Foster was confirmed as President for 2013/2014 for his second year. No Vice-Presidents were elected, Mrs. C. Yelland was re-elected as Secretary and Dr. J. Bennett was confirmed as Acting Treasurer.

At the conclusion of the formal business the President invited Mr. M. Howarth of Western Greyhound to deliver his Lecture on “The Growing Use of a Bus Network in a Rural Area’. This was the final talk to be delivered in the Institute’s first 100 Years.