New endowed chair in mineral processing

26 November 2007

Outgoing Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, Professor Cyril O'Connor, will take up the new Anglo Platinum endowed Chair in Mineral Processing next year.

This was announced at a breakfast hosted at UCT earlier this month.

O'Connor is also the director of chemical engineering's Centre for Minerals Research.

Speaking at the event, Anglo Platinum's executive head (process), Mike Halhead, said the company's endowment of this chair highlights their commitment to building research capacity and the development of skills in South Africa.

"For over 20 years the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT has been developing a strong capability in mineral processing technology. The Centre for Minerals Research in the Department of Chemical Engineering is an internationally recognised centre of excellence and has become a strategic partner to Anglo Platinum."

He said the department provides an invaluable research and development service to Anglo Platinum and supports the company's graduate development programme.

"Professor O'Connor is a person of international stature in the area of minerals processing research and has played a leading role in the development of critical skills development in this discipline."

One of the fundamental aims of the chair will be to promote minerals research among key role players in South Africa and, through effective collaboration, assist in building research capacity at previously disadvantaged universities.

O'Connor said: "This is a most significant investment by one of South Africa's leading mining companies and represents a major contribution to the development of the skills the country will need in the next few decades to sustain the present strong economic growth, much of which depends on the success of the minerals sector."

South Africa is the world's leading producer of platinum, an extremely rare metal. Industrially, it plays a large role in catalytic converters and fuel cells.

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