Bruce Firth obtained a Ph.D. from Sydney University in 1975; his work considered the flow properties of fine particle suspensions. Research and development in mineral and coal processing was continued at the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College (London), BHP Central Research Laboratories and BP.
For the last few years with BP, his efforts were directed at the development and implementation of decision support systems for the oil industry.
He joined CSIRO in 1991. He was instrumental in the founding and development of the Coal Preparation Group at the QCAT laboratory from 1992. This group has been continually supported by the Australian Coal Association since this date. He was also a Program Manager for Coal Preparation in the Centre for Mining Technology and Equipment CRC which had strong connections with the University of Queensland.
He left CSIRO in June 2014 and is currently pursuing research and consultancy issues of personal interest.
He was Chairman of the Australian Coal Preparation Society (1996/7 and 2002/5) and authored chapters in the Society’s Dewatering and Operations Measurement Monographs and the Dense Medium Cyclone Handbook. He is also a Fellow and Chartered Professional of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Over eighty papers have been written and he was the Regional Editor for the international journal ‘Coal Preparation’.
He was awarded the Brodie Medal for achievement in chemical engineering by The Institute of Engineers Australia in 2000, the Australian Coal Association Research Program’s Research Excellence Award for ‘provision of leadership and technical excellence in coal preparation’ in 2009 and was made a Life Member of the Australian Coal Preparation Society in 2013.