Monthly Meeting

February 6th, 2018 

SME Lunch Meeting at Hardee Lakes Park

Please join us for the February FLSME Meeting at Hardee Lakes Park.


Progressing Towards an Ultimate Solution to the Florida Waste Clay Pond Problem

 Patrick Zhang, Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute

Hassan El-Shall, University of Florida

Julian Hazen, MetPro Supplies


Phosphate mining in Florida generates over one ton of waste clay per ton of phosphate rock produced. In current practice, phosphate clay slurry with an average solids content of about 3% is pumped through pipelines to clay storage ponds where the clay slowly settles. Clay settling ponds occupy a large portion of mined lands and generally have limited use after reclamation. Since its inception, FIPR has always made it a research priority to develop technologies to reduce or eliminate clay settling ponds. Past achievements in this area include addition of fibrously materials to enhance dewatering of flocculated sand-clay mix, high-solids sand-clay paste using deep cone thickener, and installation of geotechnical drains. However, these approaches could only make incremental improvements. A recently completed project may well have solved the problem once for all.  This research is new and novel in three aspects: 1) creating a mixture of sand-clay-overburden for reclamation, 2) producing a high-value land for intensive agriculture, and potentially for construction, and 3) achieving instantaneous reclamation of mined lands without clay settling ponds.


Dr. Jinrong “Patrick” Zhang is responsible for soliciting and evaluating research proposals and managing projects on phosphate beneficiation and mining. His role involves identifying research and development needs and creating programs to address them.

Dr. Zhang was trained in metallurgical engineering and earned his B.S. in Metallurgy from Northeastern University (China); M.S. in Metallurgical and Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE), Chinese Academy of Sciences; and Ph.D. at University of Nevada, Reno.

Prior to joining the research institute, Dr. Zhang worked as a research engineer for KCA, establishing the company’s capabilities in mineral flotation, high-temperature metallurgy and mineral bio-processing.

As a research assistant at the Mackay School of Mines in Nevada, he explored difficult-to-process gold ore and the photo-chemical destruction of contaminants. He also conducted a study at the University of Utah on the degradation of cyanide in pure minerals and soils.

His work experiences are mostly related to phosphate processing, including two years as an assistant research professor with IPE working on phosphorus production using blast furnace, and 20 years as a research director with the FIPR Institute.

Since joining the FIPR Institute, Dr. Zhang has led the Institute’s beneficiation program to global prominence by conducting 15 in-house research projects, managing about 80 research contracts, chairing five international conferences, editing five books on phosphate beneficiation, writing phosphate chapters for three SME reference books, publishing dozens of technical papers, and delivering keynote speeches at various international technical conferences.

Date:  Tuesday, February 6, 2018 ~ RSVP by Thursday, February 1, 2018
Time: Noon -1 PM
Location: Hardee Lakes Park 5502 Ollie Roberts Rd, Bowling Green, FL 33834
Cost:  $20 Cash / $21 Credit Card at the door
Menu:  Carter’s BBQ
Topic: Progressing Towards an Ultimate Solution to the Florida Waste Clay Pond Problem

Please RSVP using the link below. You still have the option to pay at the door.





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