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Hydrometallurgy Research Group

The School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering is host to the Hydrometallurgical research group.

The group is led by Prof. Sehliselo (Selo) Ndlovu who holds the DST/NRF SARChI chair in Hydrometallurgy and Sustainable Development. Selo was also the 2017-2018 President of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM).

Research activities

The researchers in the group are involved in some cutting edge research activities focusing mostly on the hydrometallurgical recovery of metallic values from mainstream and alternative sources using traditional and emerging techniques to meet current and anticipated metal demand. Research is centered on the major metals found in Southern Africa such as gold, PGMs, copper and cobalt. The core focus is on resource recovery through the optimization, modification and or integration of existing technologies and on the development of new technologies that align with the current and future needs. A platform for the comprehensive utilisation of metal bearing wastes from metallurgical industries is used to also look at other metals such as vanadium, aluminium and titanium. Focus is on the development of green technologies or processes that are more energy efficient, offer a reduced environmental footprint and are cost effective.


The group draws its expertise from a diverse scientific and engineering background offered through the young capable researchers from across the African continent. The group has collaborative partnership with various global, continental and local academic and industrial partners like Mintek SA, Lonmin Platinum (SA), University of La Plata (Argentina), RWTH Aachen (Germany) and NUST (Namibia) where synergies and complimentary competencies are utilised. The group also works with the Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials at Wits. A total of 14 MSc and 5 PhD students are currently enrolled within the group. 

Here are some of the research group’s activities and achievements