Background and activities

Current Responsibilities

Conduct research including laboratory experiments in precipitation of alumina from alkaline leach solutions as part of the Pedersen process project with the Ensureal program. Helping in the organisation of the HydroMetEC education program commencing in spring 2020. The program is sponsored by EIT Raw Materials and I will be lecturing some courses in hydrometallurgy to industrial participants and postgraduate students.


PhD Chemical Engineering: University of Cape Town (2013-2016) 

Developed a 2-stage heap leaching process combining bioleaching and cyanide leaching to process precious and base metals from Platreef ore. Additionally, characterized the leaching of the platinum mineral sperrylite in cyanide solution using lab-scale column, tubular and batch reactors, electrochemical techniques and analyses via MLA and XPS spectroscopy.

MSc Chemical Engineering: University of Cape Town (2007-2009) 

Conducted a technical and economical feasibility study on the hydro and bio-hydrometallurgical extraction of platinum group metals, copper, nickel and cobalt from a low-grade ore concentrate using lab-scale column, batch and packed bed reactors. 

Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Administration: University of Cape Town (2004-2005)

Completed advanced courses in project management, managing new venture projects and systems engineering practice. Conducted a study in managing product deviations at SAB Newlands Brewery using six sigma methodology and lean manufacturing and produced a mini-thesis.

BEng Chemical Engineering: Copperbelt University (1996–2000)

Work History

Postdoctoral Researcher: Mineral Processing and Recycling Group, University of Liege (2016-2019)

  • Investigated the purification of synthetic rutile from ilmenite concentrate using HCl in a lab-scale autoclave and the influence of pre-treatments such as roasting and magnetic separation and characterized the residual samples using XRD, XRF and electron microscopy. Project was done in collaboration with CMI Industry Metals, Germany for Kronos International Inc., Germany. Ultimately identified a direct pressure leaching process to produce the desired purity of synthetic rutile.
  • Evaluated the optimal process conditions for the production of flame retardant grade magnesium hydroxide by hydration of magnesium oxide using pressure and atmospheric hydration, using lab-scale reactors and autoclaves and analyses via XRF, XRD, BET surface analysis and Malvern. Project was done in collaboration with CMI Industry Metals, Germany and KON Chemicals, Austria. Ultimately developed a pressure hydration process to produce the desired product specifications.
  • Investigated the regeneration of HCl from Fe pickling solutions and the recovery of Fe in the form of Fe-oxide from the solutions. Project was done in collaboration with CMI Industry Metals, Germany and KON Chemicals, Austria.
  • Lectured undergraduate students in extractive metallurgy of precious and base metals, leaching chemistry, synthetic rutile and magnesium hydroxide production, and heap leaching.

Assistant Lecturer: Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town (2013)

  • Delivered lectures and performed administrative duties for Design of Chemical Processes course for second year students.
  • Organised and oversaw weekly tutorials and supervised a team of teaching assistants.
  • Organised industrial field trips and acted as field trip supervisor (2012-2015).

Research Assistant: Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town (2010-2013)

  • Developed and patented a 2-stage heap leaching process incorporating bioleaching and cyanide leaching to extract platinum group metals, gold, nickel, copper and cobalt from Platreef ore as part of the Akanani platinum project for Lonmin Plc. Published articles in international journal and presented results at international conferences.
  • Was liaison to Lonmin and other students and researchers at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch universities on the Akanani platinum project.
  • Managed the Hydrometallurgy Laboratory in terms of expenditure, equipment maintenance, house-keeping, health and safety reporting to and consulting with the line manager.
  • Oversaw and advised on all undergraduate and postgraduate student laboratory activities and projects.

Sales Engineer: Frankline Engineering cc-South Africa (2005-2007)

  • Tendered for and procured electrical and mechanical engineering equipment, plant and laboratory instrumentation for export to the mine and metals industries in Zambia and Zimbabwe for capital projects, operations and maintenance.
  • Where required arranged additional services such as installation, testing and commissioning of equipment.

Management Trainee: National Breweries Plc-Zambia (2001-2002)

  • Oversaw production, quality control and quality assurance measures, hygiene, safety and health in the plant and laboratory. 
  • Performed regional quality auditing of plants in the northern region to ensure quality assurance and control measures were in place, and the plants and laboratories were adequately equipped.

Selected Publications

Mwase, J.M., Petersen, J. 2017. “Characterizing the leaching of sperrylite (PtAs2) in cyanide-based solutions”, Hydrometallurgy, 172, pp1-10.

Mwase, J.M., Petersen, J., Eksteen, J.J. 2014. “A novel sequential heap leach process for treating Platreef ore”, Hydrometallurgy, 141, pp 97-104.

Mwase, J.M., Petersen, J., Eksteen, J.J. 2012. “Assessing a two-stage heap leaching process for Platreef flotation concentrate”, Hydrometallurgy, 129-130, pp74-81

Mwase, J.M., Petersen, J., Eksteen, J.J. 2012. “A conceptual flowsheet for heap leaching platinum group metals (PGMs) from a low-grade ore concentrate”, Hydrometallurgy, 111-112, pp129-135.