About Us

Our History

The Hydrometallurgy Group is situated within the Department of Materials Engineering at the University of British Columbia which has a proud history of achievements stemming from its formation in 1915. Our department has demonstrated a strong and consistent precedent for translating research into innovations in the field of hydrometallurgy. For example, the work of Frank Forward (the Materials Engineering Department Head from 1945-1954) led to the development of the Sherritt process for the hydrometallurgical recovery of both nickel and cobalt from sulphide concentrates. In addition, the work conducted by Dr. Forward in the late 1950s led to the industry standard zinc pressure leach process which is still relevant today.
The Hydrometallurgy Group continues to meet the standard of excellence originally put forth by the research and innovation of Dr. Forward. Our group is responsible for a number of recent, industrially relevant hydrometallurgical process developments including the GalvanoxTM processes for copper leaching, the PLATSOL process for base and precious metal extraction, and the Sepon process for secondary copper sulphide extraction.

Research Areas

We are eager to explore both fundamental and applied areas on topics related to hydrometallurgy.

Atmospheric and pressure leaching including heap and bio-leaching

We have specialized facilities to study every leaching problem: from atmospheric pressure and temperature to above the critical point of water.  Professors Dreisinger, Dixon, Asselin and Liu all have active leaching projects in a variety of precious and base metal systems.

Electrometallurgy (electrowinning and electrorefining)

The UBC Hydrometallurgy group has a long history of contributions in Zn, Cu, precious and other base metal electrowinning.  Current research includes Mn, Co and Pb electrowinning as well as Mo electrodeposition.  We are also currently studying oxygen evolution catalysts to reduce cell potentials and power consumption. Dr. Dreisinger and Dr. Asselin have active projects in these areas.

Separation technologies: precipitation, solvent extraction and ion exchange

Professor David Dreisinger is a world-leader in the development of ion exchange technologies.  He has also led research in solvent extraction.  Professors Dreisinger, Dixon and Asselin all have active projects in hydrometallurgical precipitation reactions.

Corrosion and electrochemistry

Professor Asselin has unique facilities for high temperature and pressure corrosion and electrochemistry research.  Current electrochemical research projects vary from sensor development for severe service environments (pressure oxidation) to corrosion studies under high temperature and pressure conditions.

Who We Are

Hydromet Group at UBC is comprised of faculty who are world-renowned innovators and researchers in their respective fields.

Our Programs

We offer graduate and undergraduate programs with a focus on hydrometallurgy research and application.

Research Excellence and Partnerships

Hydromet Group has maintained competitive in international research as well as solidified a strong track record of collaboration and engagement with industrial partners.