COM 2014 - 53rd Annual Conference of Metallurgists
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COM 2014 - 53rd Annual Conference of Metallurgists

Metallurgy in the 21st Century -The Balance between Operational Excellence and Technological Step-change


Nils Voermann, Hatch, Jean-Francois Turgeon, Executive Vice President, Tronox, Michael Agnew, Principal, Michael Agnew Inc., Phillip Mackey, President, P.J. Mackey Technology Inc.

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Metallurgy in the 21st Century -The Balance between Operational Excellence and Technological Step-change


Moderator: Boyd Davis, COM 2014 Conference Chair


Nils Voermann, Hatch
Jean-Francois Turgeon, Executive Vice President, Tronox
Michael Agnew, Principal, Michael Agnew Inc.
Phillip Mackey, President, P.J. Mackey Technology Inc

The landscape of the metallurgical industry in Canada and around the world has changed significantly in the past 30 years. Consolidation, increased commodity price volatility, new technologies, the rise of Asia in both production and consumption of metals, heightened environmental concerns, shareholder demands for better capital efficiency, and many other factors have made this an interesting time in the metals business. Companies are debating whether to put more capital into near term operational improvements yielding operational excellence or into technological developments leading to a step-change in performance.

The debate on how to best use precious financial resources to maximize return on investment has been brought to the Conference of Metallurgists. The plenary will feature four highly experienced metallurgists discussing the relative balance between investment in technological step-change and operational improvement, and the circumstances that tilt the scales in one direction over the other.

The format for the plenary will have Nils Voermann and Jean-Francois Turgeon discussing technological step-change and Michael Agnew and Phillip Mackey supporting operational excellence. Since this is not a black and white issue, the presenters will be tasked with stimulating debate among conference attendees, and part of the plenary will be given over to the audience to ask questions and provide some thoughtful feedback. Hopefully, this will be the start of a debate that will stretch through the conference and beyond, ultimately resulting in actions that improve the competitiveness of our metallurgical industry.



Nils Voermann
During his 25 years at Hatch, Nils Voermann led the firm's Metallurgical Furnace Group and then their Technologies Business Unit. He now has executive responsibility for Hatch's Business Practices globally, including Technologies, Systems, Consulting, Environmental Services and Operational Performance. Under his leadership Hatch maintains a strong pipeline of technologies in progressive stages of development and commercialization. He has a BSc (Eng) from Queen's University and an MBA from INSEAD.

Jean-Francois Turgeon
Jean-Francois joined Tronox on January 2014 as Executive Vice President with responsibility for the global production and marketing of mineral sand, pigment and electrolytic products. He started his career, in research, at Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium. He is a specialist of the TiO2 industry and the inventor of the UGS process to upgrade TiO2 content of slag. He has a Bachelor in chemical engineering from Laval University and a master in engineering from McGill.

Michael Agnew
Michael Agnew has over 30 years of metallurgical project and operating experience as a manager, executive, corporate director and consultant. Since 2006, Mr. Agnew has been the principal of Michael Agnew Inc., a process metallurgy consulting company focused on providing technology evaluation and selection, implementation and integration of innovative technologies, and marginal improvements of existing technologies.

Phillip Mackey
Phillip Mackey is a consulting metallurgical engineer with over forty years of Canadian and international experience in all aspects of the non-ferrous metals business, with particular experience in the copper and nickel industry. Since 2010, he has been President of his own consulting company, P.J. Mackey Technology Inc. He acts in a senior consultant role to a number of mining and metallurgical companies worldwide.

Moderator: Boyd Davis, COM 2014 Conference Chair
Boyd Davis has worked in metallurgical process development for his entire career. After his Ph.D. in Chemical Metallurgy from Queen's University, he started consulting with Noranda and then co-founded Kingston Process Metallurgy Inc. (KPM) in 2002. KPM's metallurgical laboratories perform contract research and development combined with process and financial modelling.


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