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Prof. John A. Meech: In memoriam

Prof. John. A. Meech was a well-established Professor of Mining Engineering who made an outstanding impact in the Mining Departments at both Queens University and the University of British Columbia. He first graduated from McGill with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1970, and then progressed to Queens University where he completed his Masters and Ph.D. in Mineral Processing.

Prior to his employment as a Professor at Queens, Meech worked first as a Metallurgist and then as a Senior Assistant Metallurgical Engineer at Roan Consolidated Mines, in Zambia, Africa. After an accomplished 16 years at Queens, Prof. Meech travelled west and began what would become an extremely successful career with the University of British Columbia, in 1989.

Meech's accomplishments in the Mining Department of UBC were plentiful. In 2000, he founded the Center for Environmental Research in Minerals, Metals and Materials which has worked with over 30 researchers to improve mining environments all across the world. One notable accomplishment was the Millennium Plug Project in 2001, which allowed a previously polluted creek to become healthy enough for adult pink salmon to spawn and thrive in.

Apart from his work with mining, Prof. Meech had a deep passion for robotics that inspired him to found "UBC Thunderbird Robotics". This club, which was designed to allow students to work hands on with autonomous ground vehicles, was both popular and successful. One year, the students transitioned a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle to become completely electric, and then drove it over a span of 14 days from Vancouver to Halifax.

Prof. Meech was awarded the Fray International Sustainability Award at FLOGEN SIPS 2014 which took place in Cancun, Mexico. His efforts to address the impact of past mining on our environments and his implementation of over 50 sustainability based projects allowed him to present 12 papers at the Summit.

His research activities were vast and focussed on the relationship between mining and the environment. Later in his career, his interests evolved into the field of geothermal energy systems and he was deeply involved in reducing the footprint of mining and processing through batch processes and reducing energy use. In his career, Prof. Meech made over 200 refereed publications.

Prof. Meech's commitment to mining research and fostering a sustainable world will not be forgotten.

Prof Meech was an exceptional example of the engineers SIPS strives to honour. At the 2014 Sustainable Industrial Processing Summit & Exhibition he exclaimed, "What a pleasure and honour it is to be a part of this conference, we are very fortunate to have somebody like Florian who clearly is out to promote science and engineering. Not just promoting it within society by getting the Queen to give us a new award in engineering, but also within our own group, I've noticed a transformation within the group each evening as the gala presentations have taken place. The first night people were quiet and laid back, typical of scientists and engineers and last night I think all of us wanted to get up on the stage and dance! So you are having a big impact, and I really appreciate seeing how you are helping to change the culture of who we are which is part of the sustainability."

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