National Hydrometallurgy Initiative
During 2012, MtM was contracted by Anglo American to undertake a review of hydrometallurgical research activities in South Africa, in response to a growing concern regarding the decline in the expertise and capability in this area. Professor Mike Nicol of Murdoch University in Australia was invited to execute this project: from a base in the Chemical Engineering Department at UCT, he visited several universities to have discussions with the staff and students, and met with Mintek and industry representatives involved in hydrometallurgical processing. He also completed a benchmarking exercise comparing local activities with those of major players in hydrometallurgical research in other Western countries. Largely on the basis of the responses of the industry representatives, a number of specific short term projects and longer term areas for research were identified, some of which have been submitted as proposals to SAMMRI (and have received funding).
The second part of this initiative was the holding of a workshop and seminar in Cape Town in August 2012, attended by some 30 postgraduate students from six South African universities, at which Professor Nicol presented a short course on the fundamentals of hydrometallurgy and a selected number of students made presentations on their research. Feedback from both the students and staff was very positive, and MtM hosted Prof Mike Nicol in the Department of Chemical Engineering twice a year for three weeks in 2013 and 2014, and arranged for him to present similar short courses and host student seminars in August of those years, with financial assistance from Anglo American and SAMMRI.
During his visits, Prof Nicol provided expert advice in electrochemistry to PhD students Thandazile Moyo (MtM) and Margreth Tadie (CMR), and contributed significantly to the development of the skills and expertise in this field in the Department. It is also gratifying to note that the number of post-graduate research projects supported by SAMMRI in the area of hydrometallurgy has been increasing in recent years.
developed by the South African partners led by UCT. This is under development.</p>