The Hydrometallurgy and Environmental Group is based in The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining, and focuses on the development of hydrometallurgical processes for metals and minerals extraction from resource materials that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and technically feasible. 

Key research activities in the area of chemical processing of resource materials are concentrated on advancing the fundamental and technical understanding of aqueous industrial processes, and developing novel processes for the sustainable and environmentally friendly hydrometallurgical treatment of resource materials (see Figures 1 and 2). Biohydrometallurgy research is focused on the use of bioorganisms for biooxidation of resource materials, biogeneration of reagents used in the hydrometallurgical/ chemical processes, and bioremediation of toxic species. 

The group also specializes in wastewater and impurity removal. Some mineral processing wastes may have an irremediable impact on the environment, and solutions to these problems can be developed through well-designed university-level research programs. The group is focused on wastewater treatment for arsenic, antimony, selenium, and sulfate removal processes. 

Members are also interested in fundamental studies of the electrochemical dissolution of complex minerals. The dissolution process of most sulfide minerals (e.g., chalcopyrite, pyrite, enargite) is electrochemical in nature, and well-planned electrochemical studies appear to be the only way to reveal the underlying mechanism of the associated leaching reactions. Fundamental electrochemical studies enable us to understand the mechanisms of dissolution, passivation, and catalysis, which are closely linked to successful process design. 

GA researcher analyzes rare earth elements samples.
Figure 1: A researcher analyzes rare earth elements samples.
GA researcher studies the use of bacteria for the extraction of gold and copper from Canadian ores.
Figure 2: A researcher studies the use of bacteria for the extraction of gold and copper from Canadian ores.

A member of this group is the technical program chair of the Copper 2019 Conference. Research is supported by numerous national and international mining companies, as well as matching funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Mitacs, and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). 

Researchers in this group: