Postgraduate opportunities

Postgraduate opportunities
The use of manganese oxide tailings to treat contaminated waters and soils
Project background
Manganese oxides are one of the strongest natural oxidants in terrestrial
geochemical systems. They are involved in redox cycles in soils and waters, which
are essential to nutrient cycling, metal sorption and contaminant fate and mobility.
The remediation potential of Mn oxides has become of increasing interest in fields of
environmental geochemistry due to the capacity of the oxides to adsorb many heavy
metals and oxidize a number of organic pollutants.
South Africa is host to extensive Mn mining operations. During the ore extraction and
crushing processes large volumes of Mn oxide containing tailings are produced.
These tailings have no commercial use due to their ‘low’ Mn grade and small particle
size, thus the material is stockpiled as a waste. Despite these tailings having a low
commercial Mn grade, they still contain a substantial proportion of reducible Mn and
are highly oxidative. The tailings are net alkaline and non-acid generating. The
proposed PhD study will aim at developing soil and water treatment technologies
using the Mn oxide containing tailings material. This PhD study will form part of a
collaborative umbrella project with Durham and Newcastle Universities in the UK.
Industrial Partner
Collaborating Partners
Dr Karen Johnson, Dr Fred Worrall and Dr Janette Tourney - Durham University, UK
Dr Russell Davenport, Dr Neil Gray and Ms Clare McCann – Newcastle University,
A competitive bursary through our industrial partners will be awarded to the
successful candidate for 3 years towards their PhD
The student will be supervised by Dr. C Dowding, Prof. A Roychoudhury and Dr. K
Johnson when in the UK
Opportunity for foreign exchange:
The student will have an opportunity to visit Durham and Newcastle Universities
during the three year project
Only applicants from South Africa or SADC countries will be considered
Applicants from SADC countries must be eligible for a student visa
Applicants should have a MSc/MEng degree or equivalent in soil science, chemistry,
geochemistry, geology or chemical engineering
Applicants with an excellent academic record, a strong chemistry background and
good analytical skills will be given preferences.
Please contact Dr. Dowding or Prof. Roychoudhury for further information and
application ( tel: +27 21 808 3117;, tel: +27 21
808 3124)