Emeritus Professor Malcolm Powell has 35 years’ experience in the field of comminution, with a blend of academic and applied site research, consulting, design, software and model development.

Malcolm led the comminution research at the JKMRC for 12 years, and started and led the Comminution group and the MPTech consulting group at the University of Cape Town, for 10  years.  He owns his own company (LDS) dedicated to mill liner design; is a partner in CTTI which provides advanced computational solutions to design mill liners, ore handling and design of novel equipment; and is the founder of Comminution Reimagined – established to develop step change, energy efficient comminution equipment.

Malcolm aims to link fundamental research into applied outputs through the development of mechanistically correct but practical and robust process models. He has built the foundation of insights into the mechanical processes within comminution and classification devices in the form of mechanistic models, underpinned by experimental particle tracking, computational modelling and applied measurements in laboratory and on site. This utilises techniques such as X-ray filming, positron emission particle tracking (PEPT), discrete element modelling (DEM) of particle motion and fracture, CFD, large batch pilot mill, Hopkinson bar impact measurement (e.g. SILC) of particle fracture, precision single particle tolls breakage device. Critically, this is founded on thousands of hours spent on mining sites, comminution circuits and inside mills – observing, measuring and testing the real processes and multitude of variances and influencing factors.

Malcolm’s research has evolved to intrinsically support the sustainable extraction of our natural minerals resources. He has recognised and driven in his research strategy the need to massively change the efficiency with which our industry extracts minerals in order to address the well-known issues of falling grade (driven by exploiting high-grade deposits first), processing more complex ores and massive pits while addressing the environmental and social issues of land, water and energy usage. His Integrated Process Knowledge vision directly addresses this at source. Papers have been published covering energy, water usage, tailings, training, proposed routes to industry transformation via steps change, FlexiCircuits and integrated processing.

Malcolm’s current research remains active through both Universities and his companies. Within the CTTI team, cutting edge application of DEM modelling is being developed to integrate SAG mill liner life with mill productivity – targeting a substantial increase in both. Malcolm’s Comminution Reimagined company is testing novel energy-efficient comminution processes. Within the JKMRC he is leading development of novel ore characterisation techniques to provide precise measures of minimum achievable comminution energy. Through the Global Comminution Collaborative (GCC) he is leading research on mechanistic, dynamic mill modelling, including the missing element of transport.