Hydrometallurgy is at the core of many extractive metallurgical processes, material synthesis as well as electrochemical processes and energy storage. It is finding renewed interest because of its perceived ‘greener’ processing of minerals in aqueous solution at moderate temperatures with manageable emissions.

Research under Hydromet focuses on a number of topics, both fundamental and applied – the investigation of alternative chemistries for the recovery of PGM and gold (thiocyanate, ferricyanide, iodine) and for leaching the refractory copper mineral chalcopyrite (ammonia and chloride systems); electrochemical methods; heap leaching, focused on gas and solution flow through heap beds and solute migration through the cracks and pores of large particles; ion exchange; extraction of rare earth metals and iron precipitation during lime treatment of AMD solutions.