Dr Laura Kuhar

Team Leader

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Laura is a chemical engineer and hydrometallurgist with over 17 years of research experience in the minerals processing industry. She has expertise in the hydrometallurgical processing of ores and concentrates (particularly leaching, solvent-extraction, ion exchange, electrowinning, bioleaching and impurity removal) as well as experience in materials science and fundamental chemical research related primarily to copper, zinc, gold, nickel, uranium and platinum group metals. Laura currently heads up the Process Chemistry Optimization Team and conducts hydrogeometallurgical test work in various commodity areas, including copper, gold, uranium and nickel. Her main area of focus is on in-situ recovery, which involves the recovery of value metal from deposits without mining and comminution, and she currently leads the hydrometallurgical component of two large in-situ projects. She also managed the CSIRO involvement in the AMIRA P843A Geometallurgical Mapping and Mine Modelling (GeMIII) project, an interdisciplinary research collaboration between twenty global mineral companies and four research organisations.

Laura joined CSIRO as a Research Scientist from Anglo Research (a division of Anglo American) in Johannesburg, South Africa. At Anglo Research, she worked mainly on the development of a novel flowsheet for zinc extraction and on a few smaller projects related to coal, iron ore and nickel laterite upgrading. Her PhD studies (University of Stellenbosch) focused on the synthesis and use of magnetic nanoparticles in magnetic solvent extraction (for base metals) and as functionalised magnetic ion exchange materials for the selective extraction of platinum group metal ions from solution. Laura returned to complete her PhD full time after working at DebTech (the research arm of De Beers Consolidated Mines), where, amongst others, she was involved in magnetic liquid research for the densimetric separation of diamondiferous ores (laboratory research and conceptual and detailed design and construction of a pilot plant), research into the use of magnetic cyclones in dense medium separation circuits and the use of algae for mine waste water treatment.

Current Roles

  • Research Team Leader
    Process Chemistry Optimisation

Academic Qualifications

  • 2006

    PhD (Chemistry)

  • 2002

    M Eng (Chemical)

  • 2001

    B Eng Hons (Mechanical)

  • 1998

    B Eng (Chemical)

Professional Experiences

  • 2006-2009

    Lead Research Scientist, Technology Research Group, Anglo Research (Anglo American plc)

  • 1998-2004

    Research Scientist and Project Manager, Research Group, De Beers Consolidated Mines

Achievements and Awards

  • 2005-2005

    1st place - Young Science Communicators
    South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement

  • 2005-2005

    1st place - Physical Sciences Poster Prize
    American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting

  • 2018-2020

    Superstar of STEM
    Science and Technology Australia