Philip Thwaites shares insight on process control with industry in Peru

Bertrand De Windt and Philip Thwaites

CIM Distinguished Lecturer Philip Thwaites brought his expertise on automation of process control to mining professionals in Peru, through three Distinguished Lecturer presentations held from May 29 to 31. Thwaites, who is currently manager of the process control group at the Xstrata Process Support Centre, presented, “Manual control, process automation – or operational performance excellence? What is the difference?”

Bertrand De Windt, chair of the Lima, Peru CIM Branch and president of Steps UP Consulting, arranged the lectures, promoted the events to local industry and provided simultaneous translation services. On June 1, De Windt invited Thwaites to GlencoreXstrata’s Antapaccay plant where the process control methods described in the presentation – specifically the use of real-time data to create automated control loops for improved efficiency – are currently being applied.

“This is the first time we sent a distinguished lecturer to an international branch,” said Nathan Stubina, manager of Barrick’s Technology Centre and vice-president international at CIM. “The audience greatly appreciated the caliber of the speaker, and it was a great way to promote Canadian technologies and services to the global mining industry.”

Thwaites’s best-attended lecture in Peru, held the evening of May 30 at the Institute of Mining Engineers of Peru (IIMP) in Lima, attracted an audience of 194. Video footage is available to the public. Thwaites’s presentation can be accessed through both, Xstrata Process Support's website ( and the Lima, Peru CIM Branch homepage.

According to Thwaites, lecturing in Peru was a “phenomenal” experience. Thwaites also visited the Antamina offices in Lima. Antamina is a polymetallic mine complex over 30 per cent of which is owned by GlencoreXstrata. “Both of these Peruvian operations are interested in best practices for process controls and have had a high level of control equipment installed,” he said. “Peru can benefit substantially by building modern, high-capacity plants, using the latest instrumentation and control technology, as well as by using industry and GlencoreXstrata best practices in design. The CIM Distinguished Lecturers program has allowed me to share some of the best practices in process control and automation to the industry. We need to do better, much better, and raise the bar.”

Find out more about the Distinguished Lecturer program and see this year's lineup of speakers.