Hydrometallurgy is a field of extractive metallurgy involving aqueous chemistry for the recovery and purification of metals from ores, concentrates, and recycled or residual materials.
The Hydrometallurgy Division has extensive chemistry and process development expertise as well as in-depth knowledge in pressure leaching, precipitative purification, electro-winning, solvent extraction, ion exchange and process modelling. This know-how forms an excellent base for the Division to develop innovative solutions for complex hydrometallurgical and refining problems.
The Division’s extensive process and industry knowledge is incorporated into state-of-the-art digital process twins to carry out techno-economic evaluations of the various process options to select the optimal process or product for a potential application. This approach in the Hydrometallurgy Division has led to the development of numerous innovative products and processes in support of the mining and minerals industry in South Africa.
The commodities that have traditionally been the focal point of the Hydrometallurgy Division are gold, uranium, and the suite of base metals, including copper, cobalt, nickel and zinc. Recently, the global trends of cleaner energy and electromobility have led to an expansion of research into the so-called high purity battery pre-cursor materials and rare earth elements.