'Working together to promote premier, multi-disciplinary research and development in the area of minerals
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Our Story

Our Story

The Minerals to Metals initiative was established in May 2007 as one of five Signature Themes created by the University Research Committee (URC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), with the aim of integrating and expanding capacity in minerals beneficiation research. The initiative has been greatly expanded with the award of a South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) in minerals beneficiation to Professor Jean-Paul Franzidis and has already established active links with other departments and research groupings at UCT, particularly the Department of Physics, the Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT) Research Group, the Centre for Research in Computational and Applied Mechanics (CERECAM), the Anthropology Department and the Faculty of Commerce.

The vision of the Minerals to Metals Initiative is to play a leading role in the global Minerals Industry, by creating a multi-disciplinary and premier research organisation in the area of minerals beneficiation.

Our mission is to integrate, enhance and expand existing capacity within minerals and related research groupings at UCT, with a view to facilitating sustainable development and utilisation of natural resources within the minerals industry.


  • to create a multi-disciplinary organisation for carrying out cutting-edge research across the field of minerals beneficiation, with a focus on energy, water, benign wastes, and low-grade ore bodies;
  • to bring together complimentary expertise within the minerals research community to address these challenges;
  • to build capacity and train post-graduate students with an understanding of systemic and fundamental perspectives in the minerals beneficiation chain and the key technological challenges facing the industry;
  • to establish activities with other research organisations and industry locally, nationally, and internationally.

Research Foundation
The Minerals to Metals Initiative was born of the realisation that making mineral beneficiation activities more sustainable means that the selection, design and operation of minerals-to-metals processes and technology options must take place within the context of environmental, economic and socio-political considerations.

The Initiative recognises that, in order to move into a more sustainable paradigm, minerals beneficiation activities need to be understood from two perspectives, viz (i) a systemic perspective to integrate all operations and performance objectives across the entire minerals chain: and (ii) a more fundamental perspective to provide an understanding of individual unit process operations and how they interact. The two perspectives cannot be considered in isolation.