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:: An Interview with Dr. Jacques Eksteen: New Frontiers in Hydrometallurgy
Ahmet Deniz Bas (ADB): You have been leading one of the world’s most renowned hydrometallurgy group and working at Curtin University. What would you like to say briefly about your work and academic life? How did you choose to start a career in hydrometallurgy? What was the main reason behind that?
Jacques Eksteen (JE): After researching towards my Masters’ degree in Metallurgical Engineering (Monitoring and control of flotation using image processing of flotation froths), I flip-flopped a few times between industry and academic life. I started my career in the nuclear industry with (what was then) the Atomic Energy Corporation (AEC) of South Africa in January 1995 which is currently known as the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA, or NECSA. During that time I was working as a project and process engineer on various projects, some in the area of hydrometallurgy (we looked at a wet HF-based route to extract zirconium and pyrogenic silica from uranium and thorium-bearing zircon mineral sands), and some in the area of high temperature processing using non-transfer arc plasmas. I started to lecture at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa in January 1998, after 3 years at the AEC. My initial mandate was to drive pyrometallurgical and mineral processing research (hydrometallurgy only came later).
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