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saimm_3Chemical engineering is a set of disciplines equipping a person to address the development needs of processes. A person graduates with skills to design and install systems which can process a wide range of items including food, oil, and petroleum, various materials and minerals, the latter to intermediate materials and salts and eventually to metals; and much else. The chemical engineering qualification is well suited to metallurgical processing in the Mining & Metallurgy industry. Although chemical engineers are initially not familiar with specific metallurgical processes, their broad scientific and engineering education equips them so well that many companies recruit their beneficiation engineers interchangeably between both disciplines.

The formal studies for chemical engineering at university or university of technology (previously technikon) include, like with metallurgy, a strong emphasis on applying scientific principles using laboratory and simulation techniques, followed up with specific study of unit operations and processing principles. The first part of the qualification overlaps with metallurgy, and although subsequent exposure to unit operations and techniques is more of a general nature, chemical engineers assimilate easily into the Mining & Metallurgy Industry and are leading developers in all corners if the Mining & Metallurgy Industry. This list includes gold and uranium, platinum group metals, ferro-alloys, base metals, light metals and industrial minerals. One of the best examples is the development role South African chemical and metallurgical engineers have taken in platinum group processing which has now placed the country as the world leader.

Departmental Web sites where this discipline is offered.

Durban Institute of Technology
North West University Rhodes University
Stellenbosch University Tshwane University of Technology
University of Cape Town University of Johannesburg
University of KwaZulu-Natal University of Pretoria
University of South Africa University of the Western Cape
University of the Witwatersrand University of Venda
Vaal University of Technology Walter Sisulu University


The Chemical Engineer is therefore one of the key contributors to the welfare of the mining industry.

Scholarship Fund

The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy established a Scholarship Trust Fund for students in Mining and Metallurgy at South African tertiary educational Institutions in 2003. The fund holds some reserves for future years in order to smooth the flow of monies to the Institutions. Considerable funding has come from the SAIMM itself as it has contributed R220 000 each year; but significant funds have also been donated by individuals in the minerals and metals industry or by the smaller companies operating in the industry.
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