Metallurgy/chemical engineering and analytical chemistry

Metallurgy/chemical engineering and analytical chemistry

Every day we use hundreds of products which are made from metal. The metallurgist/chemical engineer's job is to produce the metals needed to make these and the many other products we need. In carrying out this task, science, chemistry, mathematics and physics are combined with engineering principles to extract the metals from the ores in which they are found so that they can be refined and produced in the right form.

Extractive metallurgy

Extracting the minerals from the coarse ore has to be feasible, both technically and economically. Some ores have to be crushed and milled to fine powder so that the metal contained can be liberated for further processing. In all cases, a concentrated form of the valuable component is produced.

Metallurgy/chemical engineering

Impala employs extractive metallurgists and chemical engineers, particularly at Mineral Processes and the Refineries. Analytical chemists are responsible for the analysis of all samples. At the process plants, day-to-day running, maintenance and troubleshooting are the responsibility of the metallurgist/chemical engineer. Other responsibilities include the administration and management of the plant. The metallurgist is also involved in:

  • determining the feasibility of mining and processing various mineral deposits, together with the mining engineer and geologist
  • plant design, especially installation and commissioning
  • developing new metallurgical processes
  • optimising current processes
  • quality and environmental control and management

At the Refineries, chemical engineers are involved in the following activities:

  • high-value refinery trouble-shooting
  • process engineering and design
  • production supervision and management
  • technical supervision
  • project engineering and management
  • research and development
  • technical contracting
  • environmental impact assessment and its management


Fact sheet

  A Career at Implats
February 2011  (PDF - 342KB)  


Human resources

North-West operations

Glynis Scott, HR Manager: Recruitment

Gauteng Operations (Refineries/Head Office)

Nicolette Jansen van Rensburg, Senior Human Resources Officer

Marula (Limpopo Province)

Paula Shihlomule, Senior Human Resources Officer

Zimplats (Zimbabwe)

Joshua Ndoziya, Senior Human Resources Officer


Kefiloe Seome

What you should study

You can study towards a BSc Eng in either metallurgy or chemical engineering (minerals processing). This is four-year full-time course. You will also be required to complete structured vacation work. To be accepted at university for this degree, you must have a senior certificate with university exemption and a C symbol in both mathematics and science on higher grade.


Graduates should have degrees from preferably the universities of Cape Town, the Witwatersrand, Pretoria or Natal.

Graduate career

Graduates at Impala Platinum can join one of the operating divisions:

  • Mineral Processes, including the smelter and concentrating plant
  • Refineries

On joining the company, the new metallurgist/chemical engineer undergoes a period of familiarisation and undertakes shift work to develop practical knowledge and skills. This includes laboratory work. A chemical engineer is expected to attend a number of prescribed training courses, aimed mainly at developing managerial skills.

On qualifying, the career path for metallurgists at Mineral Processes is as follows:

  • Plant Metallurgist
  • Senior Plant Metallurgist
  • Senior Metallurgical Engineer

Graduates joining the Refineries may progress to the level of senior chemical engineering, once they have had relevant, practical experience in a wide cross-section of activities. This is followed by promotion to either production, commercial, technical or management level. Allowance is also made for those who wish to become technical specialists in a particular field.

Analytical chemistry

After graduation, Impala employs development and analytical chemists who are involved in:

  • method development and validation
  • instrument commissioning and calibration
  • trouble-shooting
  • the investigation and recommendation of new technology
  • the training of analysts on new instrumentation
  • routine analysis of samples

What you should study

Ideally you should complete a BSc, majoring in Chemistry with Statistics as the second major. Applicants must study to honours level.

The universities have different selection procedures to select candidates for a BSc degree.

Graduate career

On joining the company, the new development chemist will be given the opportunity to work in as many of the company's laboratories as possible so that they are familiar with the various processes used and to develop their knowledge and skills.

The career path is as follows:

  • Development chemist
  • Senior chemist
  • Chief chemist
  • Laboratory manager

The main purpose of a chemist's job, besides ensuring the day-to-day running of the laboratory, is to manage and provide analytical services. All Impala Platinum's laboratories are run in accordance with ISO 17025 1999. Chemists verify that results to be reported are accurate and have technical responsibility for the laboratory.

We are looking for

People who have innovative thinking abilities. Ideal candidates must be able to lead people, have an attitude that is receptive to change and an aptitude for science and mathematics. In addition, the successful metallurgist/chemical engineer should be:

  • able to think logically and analytically
  • a self starter
  • highly motivated
  • strong in communication skills
  • be interested in science