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Professor Sehliselo Ndlovu

- Wits University

She holds the SARChI Research Chair in Hydrometallurgy and Sustainable Development and is president of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

Professor Sehliselo Ndlov

Professor Ndlovu is the second female president in the history of the institute founded in 1894.

Born in Plumtree, Zimbabwe in 1975, Ndlovu holds a BSc Honours degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Zimbabwe, a Diploma in Hydrometallurgyand a PhD in Minerals Engineeringfrom Imperial College London, UK. She is a Fellow of the SAIMM, a South African National Research Foundation-rated researcher and, since 2015, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation funded SARChI Research Chair in Hydrometallurgy and Sustainable Development at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Ndlovu’s areas of research are extractive metallurgy in general, and hydrometallurgy and biohydrometallurgy in particular. She is interested in metal extraction from traditional sources and the treatment of secondary metal-bearing components such as process waste streams for metal recovery.

Ndlovu lives by the saying that “‘a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”. She is very passionate about capacity-building and providing knowledge to the future leaders of the minerals industry. She lectures at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and presents seminars and courses to delegates from mining and mineral processing companies all over southern Africa. She has been at the forefront of resuscitating the Master’s in Hydrometallurgy at Wits, which has been running successfully since 2010.  She has supervised and mentored more than 30 MSc and PhD research students since joining Wits. Some of her former students have become notable academics and industry leaders in their own right.

Listen to her interview on SAFM.

Ndlovu has published more than 40 peer-reviewed journals papers, written two book chapters, and recently co-authored a book. Her publications have been cited a number of times and her current h-index [which is an author-level metric that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the scholar] and i10-index [the number of academic publications an author has written that have at least ten citations from others] are 17 and 21 respectively in Google Scholar. She has been involved in the examination of research theses and dissertations from both local and international universities.

The recipient of a number of awards, Ndlovu received the 2009 Wits University Friedel Sellschop Award, which recognises and encourages exceptional young researchers. In 2015, she was one of the 40 women in research who were awarded a SARCHI Chair in Hydrometallurgy and Sustainable Development. Research chairs are designed to improve research, innovation capacity, and  the competitiveness of public universities. .

Ndlovu is currently one of the few of women in the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields and the only black woman in Engineering Sciences who holds a research chair. The research chair has allowed her to build critical mass and capacity for the minerals industry.

She is married to Raphael Mwangobola (a mechanical engineer bitten by the mining bug), and is mother to Lihle. Her other love is running and she has taken part in a few marathons.