Research Leader

Dr Derik van der Westhuizen

Mnr Derik van der Westhuizen   Derik van der Westhuizen (B.Sc Industrial Sci., M.Sc Chem. Eng) has specialist knowledge of hydrometallurgical separation processes with a research focus over the last 12 years on solvent extraction (SX) and membrane technology, i.e. pertraction (PX). Since 2009 he has been participating in the development of PX technology applied in mineral resources beneficiation for the South African metal refinery sector. Proof-of-Concept studies includes the recovery, separation and purification of metal solutes like zirconium, hafnium; platinum group metals, tailings and secondary resources; uranium; rear earths; cobalt, nickel, copper; vanadium, chromium; tantalum, niobium; electronic waste treatment and acid mine drainage treatment. He published 19 articles in international accredited peer reviewed journals together with more than 35 national and international conference contributions and 1 chapter in a book series. He is the principle inventor of a PCT patent (WO2012/168915A1) for pertraction technology which resulted from his PhD, entitled Pertraction, An Innovative Technology for the South African Hydrometallurgical Industry. He is responsible for the overall project management of PX development while acting as industrial-academic interface for the transfer of PX technology in South Africa. Since 2021, Derik is the Group Leader of the Hydrometallurgy Research Group at NWU-CRB that currently consisting of 4 research collaborators mentoring 3 Ph.D, 6 M.Sc and 4 B.Sc honns students.

About the research group

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