Gil Labarre, mill expansion project manager for Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co., Ltd. (HBM&S), was named Mineral Processor of the Year at the Canadian Mineral Processors (CMP) annual meeting last January in Ottawa. He was honoured for a lifetime of learning and excellence.
Labarre, a Flin Flon, Man., native, earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Manitoba in 1969 and has worked for HBM&S ever since. He was involved in research at the Rocanville, Sask., potash mine and then the HBM&S Zinc Plant in Flin Flon. He became Technical Foreman at the mill in 1978. That was followed by a year in Finland on a technical exchange.
In the mid-1980s, Labarre became involved during the prefeasibility study for the Namew Lake project, was in charge during construction and commissioning, and ran the Namew Lake mill until 1993.
He then rejoined the team at the Flin Flon mill as Mill Project Superintendent, and has been General Superintendent since 1994. He has overseen changes to the grinding and flotation circuits. He is proud of the improved safety record, the 30% drop in unit costs over the last five years, and the improved recovery rates. While Labarre was Mill Superintendent the facility was expanded 25% to 2 million tons per year. His current position involves another mill expansion, to 2.4 million tons.
Labarre remains modest. “The nice part of this industry is there are a lot of people to help you do it.”
Steve Wilson of Inco Technical Services in Toronto was given the Bill Moore Special Achiever Award. The plaque for Best Presentation at the previous meeting went to Jim Finch of McGill University in Montreal. His paper explained how to use bubble surface area flux to characterize flotation cell performance. Lucky Amaratunga of Laurentian University in Sudbury was presented with his CIM Distinguished Lecturer plaque.
In memory of Colin Chapman, who died two years ago in a helicopter accident in Siberia, the Colin Chapman Memorial Trust Fund has been established. Proceeds of the trust were used this year by the CMP to prepare specially bound proceedings and CD-ROMs, each with a dedication. They have been sent to all Canadian universities and technical schools that offer mineral processing courses, and a copy of each went to the Royal School of Mines, Chapman’s alma mater in Britain.