Laboratory Staff

Shireen Govender


National Diploma Analytical Chemistry, Pen Tech (1987), BTECH Chemistry, Cape Tech (2002); MPhil Environmental Management US (2016)

BackgroundShireen Govender is the laboratory manager for the Centre for Minerals Research, in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town. She has a National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry (Pen Tech, 1987), a BTECH Chemistry (Cape Tech, 2002) and an MPhil Environmental Management (US, 2016). She started her career as a research assistant for Prof David Reid of the Department of Geochemistry, UCT in 1981, who at the time was working on mineralization in Namaqualand, Bushmanland and Namibia. Her work entailed a range of activities, including sample preparation and analysis, resulting in geochemical data and draughting ready for interpretation and publication. She left UCT to complete her ND in Analytical Chemistry and in 1987 was selected to work for Rio Tinto Management Services Laboratory in Johannesburg as an assistant Chief Chemist, mainly responsible for analytical instrument operation and method development for base metal and PGE assays. She returned to UCT and the Department of Geological Sciences in 1995 to manage the XRF Laboratory and associated sample preparation facilities. The following year she moved to the Radiogenic Isotope Facility (RIF), in the same department, which housed clean-room for specialised chemistry and a Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (TIMS). She was responsible for the day-to day management of the facility and was involved with method development, training new users and operation of the TIMS for routine research and outside requests. During her stint in the RIF she was promoted ad hominem twice. In 2011 she simultaneous started an MPhil in Environmental Management and accepted the position as Laboratory Manager in the CMR, Chemical Engineering, responsible for all aspects of management of the minerals processing research facilities. She also facilitates experiential learning of undergraduate chemical engineering students from CPUT and UCT through the CMR internship programme and vacation work opportunities and is an active participant of the Minerals to Metals Initiative here at UCT.


2011 – Present Laboratory Manager, Centre for Minerals Research, University of Cape Town
1995 – 2011 Scientific Officer, Senior Scientific Officer, Chief Scientific Officer, Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town
1987 – 1994 Assistant Chief Chemist, Rio Tinto Management Services, Johannesburg
1981 – 1986 Research Assistant, Department of Geochemistry, University of Cape Town


Research Interests

Recovering value from mineral processing waste