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Life Members

Stuart Nicol

Stuart Nicol


Stuart started life as a physical chemist, receiving Science Honours and Masters Degrees from the University of London. He followed this up with a PhD from the University of Sydney. After a few years working for Unilever Research in UK, he returned to Australia in 1970 to take up a position in the Minerals Group at BHP Central Research Laboratory in Newcastle. This inevitably led Stuart to the coal industry and from around 1974 until he left CRL in 1993 he was actively involving in coal preparation R&D, and supporting BHP's other mineral and steel making interests. He progressed to the position of Raw Materials Research Manager and made contributions to many of BHP's coal developments including Gregory, Boggabri, Saxonvale, Stockton Borehole and the Illawarra Collieries. From 1993 until 2003, Stuart has been the principal of Novatech Consulting Pty Ltd providing advice to coal, mineral and research projects. Through Advanced Separation Engineering, he has introduced the TBS (teetered bed separator) technology to the Australian Coal Industry.  

Stuart has an international reputation for his coal preparation research work, in particular froth flotation, fine coal processing and dewatering. In recognition of his work, he was the first Australian invited to give the Arthur le Page Memorial Lecture in 1990. 

His contribution to the Society has been outstanding. It started back in the late 1970's when he joined Jim Donnelly's organising committee for the First Australian Coal Preparation Conference in 1981. Stuart was not only on the Technical Subcommittee for the First Conference, but continued to serve on conference technical subcommittees all the way through to the Eighth Conference in 2000. Stuart joined the committee of the NSW Coal Preparation Society in 1982 and remained a member until 2001. He served as a Chairman in 1988 and 1989 and was Education Chairman for 5 years. While chairman of the NSW Society, he was an active part of a group that set of the Australian Coal Preparation Society in 1988, and was the founding Chairman. He served on the Australian Society board until 2000, and undertook the role of Chairman again in 1995 and 1996. 

In 1990, Stuart became the Australian representative on the International Organising Committee for the International Coal Preparation Congress and was instrumental in Australia being awarded the 13th ICPC, that was held in Brisbane in 1998. For this event Stuart was Chairman of the IOC, and served on the Australian organising and technical committees. He stood down as IOC delegate in 2000.  

Stuart has also assisted in many other facets of the life of the Society, including presenting numerous papers at meetings and conferences, lecturing/directing at advanced and introductory coal preparation courses, authoring the advanced monograph on Fine Coal Beneficiation and "The Principles of Coal Preparation", and organising technical seminars. Stuart has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian Coal Preparation Society and the NSW Branch for a continuous period of over 20 years. In many ways he encouraged the technical vitality of the Society and we are already the poorer for his reduced activity in Society events.