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Is extractive metallurgy becoming extinct?

Ritchie, I.M. (2003) Is extractive metallurgy becoming extinct? In: HYDROMETALLURGY 2003: 5th International Symposium Honoring Professor Ian M. Ritchie, 24 - 27 August 2003, Vancouver, Canada.


Right across the universities of the developed world, the traditional disciplines of physics and chemistry are losing ground. Extractive metallurgy, which depends so heavily on chemistry, is also contracting despite a clear need for people with this kind of training in the mining industry. Reasons for this loss of popularity are discussed. High on the list is one of image. The extraction of metals is widely seen as a dirty, polluting sunset industry which involves working in remote and uncomfortable corners of the earth for inadequate compensation. Ways in which the image problem can be overcome are considered. It is concluded that a concerted effort needs to be made by the universities and industry to redress this situation. The importance of extractive metallurgy, both now and in the future, when a greater emphasis will be placed on sustainability and recycling needs to be stressed. In addition, training for a career path which leads on beyond extractive metallurgy, needs to be incorporated into degree courses.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Parker Cooperative Research Centre for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions
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