2 December 2022

Obituary - Derek J Barratt CEng FIMMM

Derek Barratt was an expert in comminution and spent over 60 years in the mining industry worldwide.

Derek Barratt pictured right. © Barry Wills, Minerals Engineering


Derek J Barratt CEng FIMMM
3 January 1939 – 15 November 2022

It is with great sadness that the passing of Derek Barratt is reported. Derek graduated in 1963 with a BSc in mineral technology from the Royal School of Mines, London, UK. Derek was an independent consultant running his business, DJB Consultants Inc, based in Vancouver, Canada, and accumulated 60 years of experience in base and precious metal concentrator operations and metallurgical process design.

Derek was a recognised expert throughout the mining industry in comminution, particularly in grinding mill sizing and selection, overall mill circuit design and operation, trade-off studies and applying new technologies. In more recent years Derek provided guidance to many mining customers on geometallurgy programs working closely with both geologists and mining engineers.

Derek was at the forefront of using multiple small-scale comminution test results to develop the overall circuit energy requirements. He led plant start-ups, commissioning, and process optimisation on facilities around the world including some of the largest grinding plants constructed.

In 1979 Derek pioneered and published the concept of using bond work indices in equations for use in simulation of mill sizing and grinding circuit design for autogenous and semi-autogenous application, pre-dating JK DWT, SMC/DWI, SPI and sagmilling.com. In 2005, he developed Millpower2000, which has the capability of assessing test results from multi-sample geometallurgical and different test protocol programs, on a same sample basis for all recognised ore types.

Derek published nearly 50 technical papers concerning comminution and mineral processing. In addition, he served as lead lecturer for the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) Comminution School in 1991, as Co-editor and Vice-Chair for Semi-Autogenous Grinding (SAG) 1996, Co-editor and Chair of SAG 2001, Committee Secretary, Technical Advisor and Editor to the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) Mineral Processing Plant and Design, Practice, and Control Symposium in 2002.

Derek received the 2003 International Nickel Ltd (INCO) Medal from the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (CIMM), the 2006 Art MacPherson Award from the Canadian Mineral Processors of CIMM and the 2017 Futers Gold medal from IOM3.

Derek was a registered Professional Engineer in British Columbia, Canada, a chartered engineer in the UK, a Life Member of CIMM, a Legion of Honour Member of The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), a Fellow of IOM3 and an Associate of the Royal School of Mines.

Derek was liked by all those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him. He was a family man and led a full life outside of the mining industry.

Tony Francis and David Meadows

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