Meet our expert

Getting more out of your ore

Forrest Strickland is a Mining Industry Manager at Kemira. With a track record of helping customers resolve their problems he knows that each new challenge requires trust and new solutions.

Getting more out of your ore

Global team turns problems into products

I’ve been at Kemira since 2001 and have had a number of technical and sales positions. My previous role was Sales Manager for North America. As a Mining Industry Manager, I now have exposure to the South American region that I’ve never had in the past.  We’ve got a good team in South America with a lot of experience, so I expect to learn a lot and hope to help facilitate their growth. There are also plenty of opportunities for collaboration.

One example of global collaboration is the work we are doing in iron ore. Kemira’s Brazilian mining team developed a new flotation reagent that enables iron ore producers to increase recoveries. With help from our R&D scientists at our lab in Atlanta, we are currently launching the product to iron ore companies here in North America. There have been some indications we may be able to increase recoveries by as much as 1–2%. This may not sound like much, but this can have a huge impact for a company mining 20–30 million tons per year.

R&D keeps us ahead of the market

At Kemira, it’s important for us to step out of our comfort zone and develop new technologies to benefit our customers. As our customer, you don’t just get the product, you get a solution. We help you get the most from all we offer and, in the long run, we can save you money. One of the biggest problems facing the mining industry is that in new mines, it’s common to take the best, easiest-to-process ore. Then, over the years, the ore quality gets lower and lower. The ore that’s left becomes more complex to process, and mines are forced to adopt new technologies to process it. This is a good fit for Kemira. We have the expertise and the R&D pipeline to bring in new solutions.

One example of this comes from a phosphate mine in Florida. Our customer had tremendous processing problems as their ore was increasingly contaminated with iron. I got together with our R&D group in Atlanta and developed new product samples specifically for their process. It was funny – the customer ran some tests with it and after 3 minutes nothing had happened, so he walked out of the room. But when he came back just 5 minutes later the test cylinders were perfectly clear. He got really excited!

Then we took the best sample and improved it further. It was so successful that we commercialized it at our plant in Mobile, AL really fast. It allowed the customer to process highly contaminated ore without investing in new capital, saving them millions of dollars in new equipment that they’d have needed.

It’s easy for us to sell what we have, it’s more important to step out our comfort zone and develop new technologies.

Building lasting relationships

Building trust and lasting relationships with different stakeholders is important in the mining business. Oftentimes we only hear about the negative side of the mining industry, but more often there is a strong positive benefit to local communities. I was visiting Chile recently and drove by the local hospital built, owned, and operated by the local mining company. Not only did the mine bring jobs, but it also modernized the community by bringing in better healthcare.

Building lasting relationships is also essential in my job. Before I joined Kemira, I worked for a mining company, and I was fortunate to get to travel a lot with a guy nearing the end of his career. While we were traveling, he would schedule visits not only to customers, but also to sales offices or mine sites owned by the company we worked for. I try to do the same now with Kemira sites. You never know when you’ll need someone to help you out with something. It seems people are faster to help when they can put a name with a face.

If you want to put a face to my name, I’ll be attending the SME Annual Conference & Expo in Minnesota from February 25–28. Come by and say hello at booth 1101 to hear more about our problem-solving!

Forrest Strickland

Mining Industry Manager
At Kemira
Since 2001
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
First mining job
1986–1988 - Summer intern for Vulcan Materials Stockbridge
Hottest trend in mining
Continued shift to dry stacked tailings. This will allow mining companies to lower their environmental footprint and offer an overall safer method for managing solid waste.
Words to live by
“Always treat people how you’d want to be treated yourself”


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