Academic Staff

Professor Cyril O'Connor


BSc UNISA (1974), Pr.Eng., BSc (Hons) (1975), PhD (UCT) (1978), D.Eng. (Stellenbosch) (2005), FSAIMM, FSAIChE, FSAAE, MRSSAf


Cyril O'Connor is a registered chemical engineer with a Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town and a Senior Doctorate (D.Eng.) in Metallurgical Engineering from Stellenbosch University. He is the immediate past Director of the Centre for Minerals Research and was the founder Director of the Centre for Catalysis Research, both of which are located in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town. He is presently President of the International Mineral Processing Council, held the AngloAmerican Platinum Chair in Minerals Processing from 2008-2012, was Vice-President of the International Zeolite Association, is a member of the Executive of the Academy of Engineering of South Africa and is CEO of the South African Minerals to Metals Research Institute. He chaired a government appointed Panel to investigate South Africa’s preparedness for hydraulic fracturing. He has served from time to time on various international scientific committees and review panels and has chaired the Organizing Committees of a number of major international conferences. He has published over 200 papers in international journals and international refereed conferences, has supervised more than 60 PhD and MSc graduates and at his retirement was a National Research Foundation A rated researcher. Prior to his retirement at the end of 2009 he was Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering (8 years), Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment (10 years) and served as an Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2008/9. He is a Hon. Fellow and Fellow of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, a Fellow of, respectively, the Royal Society of South Africa, the University of Cape Town, the South African Academy of Engineering, the South African Institution of Chemical Engineering, IUPAC and is a founder member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. In 2017 he was elected as a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering.


2013 - present Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Scholar, UCT
2007 - 2013 AngloPlatinum Professor of Minerals Processing, UCT
2008 - 2009 Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UCT
1998 - 2008 Dean, Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, UCT
1988-1994;1997-98 Head of Department of Chemical Engineering, UCT
1990 Professor (ad hominem), Department of Chemical Engineering, UCT
1985 Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, UCT
1979 Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering, UCT

Research Interests

Flotation chemistry, integrating comminution and flotation processes


Selected Publications

Harris, MC and O'Connor, CT, 2017. Characterization of frothers and their behaviour using partial molar Excess Gibbs energy, International Journal of Minerals Processing 158, 63-67

Taguta, J, O’Connor, CT and McFadzean, B, 2017. The effect of alkyl chain length and ligand type of thiol collectors on the heat of adsorption and floatability of sulphide minerals. Minerals Engineering, 110, 145-152.

Tadie, M, Corin, KC, Wiese, JG and O’Connor, CT, 2017. Electrochemical interactions of platinum group minerals with copper sulphate. Minerals Engineering, 112, 43-49.

Wiese, JG and O’Connor, CT, 2016. An investigation into the relative role of particle size, particle shape and froth behaviour on the entrainment of chromite. International Journal of Mineral Processing, 156,127-133.

Corin, KC and O’Connor, CT, 2014. A proposal to use excess Gibbs energy rather than HLB number as an indicator of the hydrophilic-liphophilic behavior of surfactants, Minerals Engineering, 58, 17-21