Meet Our Expert Speakers


Leading experts from around the globe share their insights at the 9th International Symposium on Hydrometallurgy Plenary Session.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Plenary Session

Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom F

Sponsored by

9:00 AM

Welcoming Comments – Conference Chair, Jaeheon Lee, Colorado School of Mines


9:10 AM

Chalcopyrite Leaching – Searching for the Copper Grail

The search for a method to effectively recover copper from chalcopyrite through hydrometallurgy has been ongoing for half a century. This effort has gained momentum in recent years as copper ore grades have declined and orebody complexity has increased. This presentation examines the potential for extensive commercial application of leaching technology and discusses the critical success criteria.

John O. Marsden, President, Metallurgium

John Marsden is president of Metallurgium, a consulting engineering firm specializing in the extraction and recovery of copper, gold, silver and related minerals. He is a graduate of the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, London, and a registered Professional Engineer in the USA. Prior to starting Metallurgium in 2009, he held various senior operations and technical positions with Freeport-McMoRan, their predecessor Phelps Dodge Corporation, and with Consolidated Gold Fields. He has spent over 40 years working on the design and optimization of leading copper and gold operations worldwide. He holds 13 US patents and has published over 50 technical papers. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (USA), past president and Fellow of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME), a Fellow of AusIMM, and the recipient of the Robert H. Richards award, the Wadsworth award, and two Taggart awards from SME/AIME.


9:50 AM

The Atlas Materials Process for Carbon Negative Nickel and Cobalt Recovery from Laterites

David Dreisinger, Atlas Materials Co; Jeremy Ley, Atlas Materials Co; Mike Johnson, SGS Canada Inc.; Niels Verbaan, SGS Canada Inc.; Sridevi Thomas, SGS Canada Inc.

Atlas Materials has developed a process for extraction of nickel and cobalt from saprolite ores to meet the growing demand for nickel and cobalt salts for lithium-ion battery manufacture to enable the electric vehicle transition in the global transport sector. Saprolite ores are milled in a sodium chloride brine solution and then leached using hydrochloric acid addition. The silica residue from leaching may be used as a supplemental cementitious material. Iron and aluminum are removed by pH adjustment with olivine addition. Nickel and cobalt are precipitated as a mixed hydroxide product. Manganese is removed by oxidation and pH adjustment to form a manganese product (+25% Mn content). Magnesium is precipitated as magnesium hydroxide. The final brine solution is recirculated to leaching or directed to chlor-alkali processing to produce hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. The mixed hydroxide product (MHP) can be converted to high purity nickel sulfate salt for the lithium-ion battery market.

David Dreisinger, CTO, Atlas Materials Co and Professor and Chair, University of British Colombia

David completed his B.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering at Queen’s University at Kingston.  Since 1984, David has worked at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and holds the position of Professor and Chair, Industrial Research Chair in Hydrometallurgy.  David has worked closely with industry to develop and commercialize technology.  David has received a number of professional awards including the Sherritt Hydrometallurgy Award (METSOC), the EPD Science Award (TMS), the Wadsworth Award (AIME) and the INCO Medal (CIM).  David is a Fellow of CIM, Engineers Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.



10:45 AM

Are All Those R&D Expenditures Necessary – How to Build a Successful Mining Company for the Future

Hydrometallurgical technology has slowly and methodically advanced over the past 50 years in knowledge and application.  Research & Development has played a key role in the advancement and remains a critical factor in innovation and building successful mining companies.  With a focus on personal experiences in precious metal and rare earth ores, base case examples are provided along with an eye to the future of Hydrometallurgy and the mining industry.

K. Marc LeVier, Metallurgist and SME President

Marc LeVier is a metallurgical engineer who has worked in many process mineral systems with mining companies and engineered equipment suppliers. LeVier retired from Newmont Mining Corporation after 22 years of leading the Newmont Metallurgical R&D Team. He went on to be CEO, President & Director of two junior mining companies who were developing rare earth mineral deposits. LeVier has worked on multiple international projects in base metals, iron ore, precious metals, and energy fuels including uranium, thorium and coal. He holds a BS and MS Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Tech and a D.Sc. (Hon) awarded from Montana Tech. During his career, he served on four Industrial Advisory Boards at mining schools, and is a Director of the Critical Mineral Institute in Toronto, Ontario. LeVier is a SME Fellow, Honor of Legion Member, and the 2023 SME President.

11:25 AM

Hydrometallurgy: Infinite and Sustainable Possibilities

J. Brent Hiskey, Professor Emeritus of Mining and Geological Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona

J. Brent Hiskey is Professor Emeritus of Mining and Geological Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona. From 1999-2010 he served as Associate Dean for Research and Administration in the University of Arizona College of Engineering. Prior to joining the University of Arizona in 1984, he was manager of metallurgical research at Kennecott’s Process Technology Center. Hiskey received a BS in metallurgical engineering (1967), MS (1971), and PhD (1973) from the University of Utah. He has held research positions with US Steel and Alcoa and was an assistant professor in metallurgical engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Professor Hiskey has edited or coedited a number of books: Gold and Silver Leaching, Recovery and Economics; Au and Ag – Heap and Dump Leaching Practice; and Interfacing Technologies in Solution Mining. In 1993, he edited the SME/TMS book Hydrometallurgy:  Fundamentals, Technology and Innovation. Hiskey received the SME Arthur F. Taggart award in 1974, and was the 1993 recipient of the AIME James Douglas Gold Medal, which recognized his achievements in chemical metallurgy. In 1994, he was elected a Distinguished Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME). He received the SME Milton E. Wadsworth Extractive Metallurgy Award in 2003. He was awarded the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society EPD Distinguished Lecture Award in 2010. Hiskey was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, Class of 1997.