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Chapter 3: Formation Creates Opportunit...

Chapter 3 - Formation Creates Opportunities

Following the success of the Sydney meeting, a second meeting was held at Wollongong, on 5 May 1966, where the AI&S Co Ltd made the hall in the Visitors Centre available. J Leeman of Stamicarbon spoke on ‘Dutch State Mines and Coal Preparation’. On July 15, 1966 the Central Research Laboratories at Shortland near Newcastle hosted a third meeting, which was addressed by A Basten of Stamicarbon on ‘Preparation Plant Design and Commissioning’. Each of these initial meetings was well attended and, encouraged by this success, the Committee organised a series of two meetings per year at each of three centres, namely Sydney, South Coast and Newcastle.

It was a major objective of the Society to print and circulate copies of all lectures to members, so that those unable to attend meetings would still benefit from their membership. Initially the Society was intended to be Australia wide and some members joined from other States, in particular Queensland. While accepting the advantages of membership and the circulation of notes on lectures, members from Queensland realised the importance of attending meetings and having discussions. With the assistance of the Queensland Coal Owners’ Association a meeting was held on January 25, 1967 in Ipswich, to discuss the formation of a Queensland Branch of the Coal Preparation Society. Russ Burdon, Frank Pollard and David Gemmell, all members of the Committee of the Coal Preparation Society, addressed the meeting on matters relevant to the formation of a Queensland Branch. A further meeting was held on May 17, 1967 in Ipswich to discuss a draft constitution, the appointment of officers, and the formation of the Queensland Branch of the Coal Preparation Society. From this date the original organisation became known as ‘The Coal Preparation Society of New South Wales’.

By now the Coal Preparation Society (of NSW) was well established. Regular meetings were held at each centre and attendances were most satisfactory. Excellent speakers presented lectures on a variety of topics. Printed copies of lectures were circulated to members. It was agreed by the Committee that venues where members could congregate prior to meetings to discuss topics of interest, have a meal (or drink), and hold informal discussions after the meetings, would assist in one of the aims of the Society - namely to establish forums where individual developments in coal preparation technology could benefit others in the profession. Consequently meetings were scheduled at the Graduates Club, Foveaux Street, Sydney, and other venues were used for meetings on the South Coast and for the Newcastle district. These moves proved popular and attendances continued to improve.

The journal ‘Coal Preparation’ was published in London bi-monthly from 1965 to 1969. Later editions featured a heading ‘Down Under’, 

covering developments in Australia. The January/February 1969 issue included a paper ‘Planning a new Coal Preparation Plant in Australia’, by R Burdon and J Bradley.

Other events had an influence on the development of the Society. For example, the high consumption of magnetite by the industry resulted in the Australian Coal Industry Research Laboratories Ltd organising a successful symposium, held at ACIRL on December 6 1967. Some members of the Coal Preparation Society were authors of papers, and the proceedings were published by ACIRL under the title ‘Magnetite in Coal Washing Practice’, in February 1968.

Another development that aided the growth of coal preparation technology in Australia, and recognition by overseas organisations, was the work of the Standards Association of Australia Committee CH/15 Coal and Coke (now Committee MN/1 Coal and Coke). The Glossary of Terms for Coal and Coke, prepared by this Committee, was approved on 18 September 1966. Section 6 was entitled Coal Preparation. A sub-committee of Committee CH/15 was formed to develop Standards for the Australian Coal Preparation Industry. Under the chairmanship of Russ Burdon, and with members drawn from the Coal Preparation Society of New South Wales and the Coal Preparation Society (Queensland Branch) work commenced on a long programme including Terms Relating to Coal Preparation, Method for the Float and Sink Testing of Hard Coal and Presentation of Results, Flowsheets and Diagrams relating to Coal Preparation Plants, and other topics including Froth Flotation.

In 1969 Mine and Quarry Mechanisation commenced a series of articles on coal preparation by Dr Burdon. In 1971 George Edwards joined Dr Burdon as co-author and these articles, under the heading Coal Preparation: State of the Art, continued until 1980.

Membership of the Society continued to grow. In June 1972, for example, the list of individual financial members totalled 270, and there were also 39 Company members. Dr Burdon retired as Chairman after two years, as required by the Constitution, and Roger Gadsden was appointed for 1968/1969 and 1969/1970 followed by Bob Booth for 1970/1971 and 1971/1972. A committed core group of members generally well known in the industry, served on the Committee in these early years of the Society. The Chairman’s report for the inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Society also details the formative developments described above. The office bearers of the Society, for all years, are shown in Table 1.





Chapter 2: Chapter 4: