NWU's Engineering still at the forefront
A great honour was recently bestowed upon the North-West University's (NWU’s) Faculty of Engineering when their programme in mineral processing has been named under the top 100 best programs in the world in this field.
This announcement was made by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the Shanghai Rankings. It is an independent organisation that specifically focuses on higher education and consists of experts from various fields of study, which annually publish a list of top universities and research. The Shanghai Order is considered one of the three most influential rankings in the world.
According to Prof Marco le Roux, programme leader, the field of chemical engineering with mineral processing involves the processing of mined ore to a useful product such as gold, coal or diamonds.
“This program is largely similar to chemical engineering and many of the principles overlap with each other,” he says. “A profession in mineral processing or chemical engineering is currently regarded as one of the scarcest professions in South Africa and there is currently a great need for experts in this field.”
Prof le Roux adds that they are very active in research and it is no secret that this faculty is known as the leaders in coal processing in the country. “We have a very good international stance on our research and over the past 10 years, we managed to deliver approximately 30 postgraduate students in coal mining, as well as a lot of accredited articles and conference contributions. We are currently specialising in dry coal processing and drying of ultra-fine coal.”
He says the use of water in coal processing places increasing pressure on our already scarce water resources. “South Africa is a dry land, which means we must use this resource with utmost care and responsibility. It is thus very important to establish processes that are more environmentally friendly. We train our students to be able to make a positive contribution towards the environmental problems of our country and the world.”
The undergraduate qualification in Chemical Engineering with Mineral Processing is a four-year degree, not only recognised by the Engineering Council of South Africa, but also by several organizations in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Hong Kong.