Alfred Trewartha James died rather suddenly from septicaemia, at Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 5th, 1931, at the age of 64.

He was a son of the late ‘Captain’ A.T. James, of Redruth, Cornwall, and was educated at Camborne and King’s College, London. He began his professional career in 1886 in the laboratory of the Cassel Gold Extracting Co., Ltd., in Glasgow, of which he subsequently became the technical manager.

He is credited with having been the originator of the application of the cyanide process to the treatment of gold tailings on the Rand, in 1889, and was subsequently instrumental in extending the use of this process to New Zealand, Australia and America. He also took an active part in the introduction of re-grinding apparatus and equipment for slime treatment. In 1897, he retired from the Cassel company to enter into partnership with the late Mr. J.S. MacArthur, of the well-known MacArthur-Forrest Cyanide Patents, and in the following year became sole proprietor of the London branch of the business. In this connexion he visited all the leading mines of the world. After the War, during which he was engaged in various terms of work and especially on the production of equipment for the anti-submarine campaign, he devoted some attention to the employment of liquid air and oxygen as explosives for mining practice, and subsequently was greatly interested in the production of base-metal ores, particularly tin.

He retired from active work in 1930 and went to South Africa, where he intended to take up permanent residence and incidentally to leek after his interests in certain patents in regard to which he instituted claims for royalties against various Rand mining companies.

He published a treatise on ‘Cyanide Practice’ which is regarded as a standard book of reference on that subject, and wrote voluminously on that and other subjects in which he took interest. He was a frequent contributor to the Transactions of the Institution, taking part in the discussion of many papers and submitting live from his own pen, as well as a ‘Presidential Address’ in 1908. These papers were respectively on ‘Cyanide Practice’ (Vol. iii), ‘Sump Solutions, Extractor-box work, and Cleaning-up, in the Cyanide Process’ (Vol. vi), ‘Slimes Treatment without Filtration or Decantation’ (Vol. vii), ‘Treatment of Kalgoorlie Sulpho-telluride Ores’ (Vol. viii), and ‘Liquid Oxygen in Mining’ (Vol. xxxii).

Mr. James was elected a Member of the Institution in 1895, a Member of the Council in 1898, Vice-president in 1901, and occupied the Presidential Chair in 1908-9.

Vol. 41, Trans IMM 1931-32, pp.656-7

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