The Heart of British Mining

 

The annual conference of the Association for British Mining Expertise (ABMEC)

The premier UK event for the mining supply chain was held in Nottingham on 21 November 2019, and brought together over 200 delegates from the mining industry to share best practice and knowledge.

Keynote speakers included Graham Clarke, Kevin Sabin and Chris Hinde. The latter, a director of Pick and Pen Ltd, used data from S&P Global Market Intelligence to provide an overview of current market trends, and illustrate the increase in global expenditure on mining equipment over the past few years.

Graham Clarke, Operations Director at Sirius Minerals, which is working on the UK’s biggest mining project at the moment, gave the audience a concise, honest overview of the financial and production situation of polyhalite at the Woodsmith Mine in North Yorkshire. He stressed that, with so much potential for the country and the local community at stake, a rescue plan needs to be sourced.

With the world’s population forecast to reach 9 billion by 2040, the demand for food production will only increase. Andrew Fulton of ICL UK, gave an overview of that company’s successful mining of polyhalite, used to make fertiliser, in the north east of the UK.

Kevin Sabin illustrated how Hargreaves has transferred the skills of a highly mechanised longwall mine in Maltby Colliery to coal mines in countries such as India and Poland.

Other UK mining companies presenting included West Cumbria Mining and Cornish Lithium. The former announced that planning permission had been granted to allow West Cumbria to extract coal from beneath the sea off Whitehaven. The founder and CEO of Cornish Lithium, Jeremy Wrathall, outlined the growing need for lithium, and the exciting potential in Cornwall.

The mixture of miners, equipment manufacturers, commodity analysts, financiers and safety experts provided an important networking opportunity.

A highlight of the event was ABMEC’s inaugural Lifetime Achievers Award, which was presented to Mr David Johnson for services to the mining-equipment sector. Among many achievements in his distinguished career, under his leadership Joy Mining Machinery introduced the electric shearer, the continuous miner and the bolter miner to the UK, Europe, Russia and India. He was instrumental in pioneering completely new methods of mining in these countries dramatically increasing productivity and improving operator safety.