Author: T.J. Napier-Munn

by Aidan Giblett FAusIMM,

Senior Technical Advisor

Mineral Processing, Newmont Mining Services

(Published by the AusIMM in the AusIMM Bulletin Magazine of October 2015)


"Professor Tim Napier-Munn has had a distinguished career in mineral processing operations and research, and received the AusIMM President’s Award in 2011 for services to the industry.


This book builds on the successful course in Comparative Statistics and Experimental Design that Tim has been delivering to the industry for many years through JKTech. Those that have attended Tim’s training courses will recognise some of the content of the book, although the format has allowed more detailed discussion and the addition of considerable content of relevance than that which can be covered in a short course.

Essentially the book is a practitioner’s guide aimed specifically at mineral processors, although the concepts are applicable in analytical chemistry and extractive processes. It is written by an experienced mineral processer who has spent a considerable portion of his career studying statistical methods and their appropriate use in mineral processing applications.

This text condenses practically applicable concepts in statistics and experimental design into the language of metallurgical professionals. The book format is highly readable, covering the basics of the concepts in appropriate detail and in a style as light as the content allows. The statistical methods are well demonstrated by the frequent use of worked examples reflecting a range of real-world scenarios that metallurgical engineers encounter and can readily associate with.

The book discusses statistical techniques when appropriate, and makes good use of footnotes, references and page headers to guide the reader to where to head next for more detail or worked examples. Further instruction is also available online in the form of Microsoft Excel based examples, and the text describes in detail the statistical functionality that is available within Excel.

Statistical Methods for Mineral Engineers covers a large range of tools that can be used to better design experiments and analyse experimental data at laboratory and plant scale. The many statistical concepts covered in detail include error analysis, outlier detection, regression modelling, sampling theory, mass balancing, multivariate analysis and all important experimental design techniques.  All methods are practically condensed into two, single-page flowchart summaries. As a result someone with little to no knowledge of the tools can quickly be directed to the right tool and the right instruction to design good experiments, or to conduct insightful data analysis. The practitioner as a result has the considerable power to translate vague conclusions and observations into clear demonstrable facts, supporting timely and value-adding decision making.

These methods that Tim has long promoted to the minerals industry have already made a measurable improvement in the quality of metallurgical analysis performed at many operations locally and abroad. It is my expectation that the release of this book should ensure that this substantial legacy stands the test of time. Those familiar with Tim’s course will appreciate the opportunity to further build on their toolbox, and those entering this space for the first time will appreciate the speed at which they can catch up and immediately improve their technical capability. This is a book that all chemists, metallurgists, engineers and managers working in the mineral processing and extractive industries should have access to."

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