Researcher biography


Associate Professor James Vaughan is the Chemical Engineering Metallurgy Major Lead and Leader of the Hydrometallurgy Research Group. He obtained a Bachelor's degree in Metallurgical Engineering at McGill University followed by Master of Applied Science and PhD degrees in Materials Engineering at The University of British Columbia in Canada. Before joining UQ, James gained industrial metallurgical process research and development experience with Glencore, Barrick and BHP. While at UQ, James served as Director of the University of Queensland Rio Tinto Bauxite & Alumina Technology Centre and has been Lead Chief Investigator of Australian Research Council Linkage and Discovery Projects. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) and the Advanced Materials and Batteries Council (AMBC).


James' research focuses on the fundamental aspects of leaching, ion exchange and precipitation reactions as well as membrane separations. These projects are of interest to the base metals, precious metals and alumina refining industries as well as in the fabrication of value added materials such as lithium ion battery cathode precursors and zeolites.

Current Projects:

  1. Extracting Queensland's rare earth elements sustainably (Queensland Department of Resources)
  2. Copper process innovations (UniQuest)
  3. New approach for producing zeolites from clay or mine tailings (Zeotech)
  4. Inorganic membrane percrystallisation in hydrometallurgy (ARC Discovery)
  5. Improving pressure oxidation for refractory gold (Newmont)
  6. Effects of solution impurities on gold leaching (Newmont and BHP ARC Linkage)
  7. Recycling vanadium catalyst (QEM Critical Minerals Trailblazer)
  8. Purification of battery metal solution (Lanxess Critical Minerals Trailblazer)
  9. Recycling batteries (V Resource)

Teaching and Learning:

  • Hydrometallurgy and Electrometallurgy (METL6204)
  • Metal Production and Recycling (METL2201)