It is with great sadness to learn of the sudden passing of Andrew Wells FIMMM. Andrew, known as Andy, dedicated his professional life to the minerals processing and metallurgical extraction sectors of the mining industry. His expertise covered plant operational management, minerals testing and associated plant design, project construction and commissioning, due diligence and regulatory reporting for financial and investment analysis, bulk materials handling, shipments and associated insurance issues.
In 1976, Andrew gained an honours degree in minerals technology from the Royal School of Mines, London, UK. He started his career like so many of his era in the copper mines of Zambia working in process control and operations at the Chambishi concentrator. He then moved back to the UK, operating the metallurgically complex polymetallic Wheal Jane mine in Cornwall producing tin, zinc and copper concentrates. This included preparing for the management buy-out from Rio Tinto to Carnon Consolidated, where he continued as metallurgical superintendent. He subsequently re-joined Rio Tinto at the Neves Corvo mine, Portugal, where he achieved significant cost savings by reducing energy consumption in the grinding circuit and the overall plant water consumption. Andrew was a founder member of the Rio Tinto Milling Technical Panel.
In 1996, Andrew returned to the UK and became principal metallurgist and later a director of IMC Mackay & Schnellmann, where he was responsible for many and varied international minerals projects, due diligence and regulatory reporting covering many base, precious and non- metallic commodities. This included competent persons reporting and valuations for company stock market listings.
In 2004, Andrew joined the consulting partnership, Saint Barbara, where he continued his engagement in minerals projects as principal metallurgist, manager and then as owner. During this time, Andrew became knowledgeable in bulk materials handling of a multitude of minerals from ammonium sulphate to silica sand, particularly regarding international cargo, providing specialist advice on correct sampling, storage, shipping and environmental considerations. He was an expert witness for related insurance issues.
He retired in 2020 but maintained his involvement in the industry by continuing with Saint Barbara and CWA International as a consultant, minerals and metals. Andrew was also called upon on occasions to give expert commentary for the BBC and Sky on minerals related issues.
During his career Andrew published many technical papers and presented frequently at national and international conferences. Andrew was an active member of IOM3 and was a valued contributor to the Young Persons’ Lecture Competition for the Southeast of England area, where Andrew led the judging panel.
Andrew’s passion outside of his work and family was gliding and he was an accomplished pilot flying out of the Wormingford airfield near his home in Sudbury with the Essex and Suffolk gliding club.
Condolences go to his wife Karen who accompanied Andrew on his longer-term assignments, his son Peter and family. Andy will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues in the mining and minerals community and beyond.
Tony Francis CEng FIMMM