Associate Professor James Vaughan

Associate Professor

School of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 336 53850



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 (Newcrest)

Teaching and Learning:

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

Research Interests

  • Hydrometallurgy
    leaching, precipitation, crystallisation, ion exchange, membranes, electrowinning

Research Impacts

My research in hydrometallurgy is used for process development and improvements. Examples of contributions are as follows:

  • Selective acid leach process for refining mixed Ni-Co hydroxide precipitate licensed to Pure Battery Technologies
  • Low cost zeolite production technology licensed to Zeotech
  • New approaches for bauxite impurity management in the production of alumina
  • A hydrometallurgical route for recovering Ni and K from agromined bio-ore
  • The synergistic copper process


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of British Columbia


View all Publications


View all Grants


View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Jalil, Siti Nurehan Abd, Motuzas, Julius and Vaughan, James (2023). Introducing membrane percrystallisation technology for hydrometallurgical applications. New directions in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy, recycling and waste minimization: an EPD Symposium in honor of Patrick R. Taylor. (pp. 343-354) edited by Ramana G. Reddy, Alexandra Anderson, Corby G. Anderson, Camille Fleuriault, Erik D. Spiller, Mark Strauss, Edgar E. Vidal and Mingming Zhang. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-22765-3_31

  • Peng, Hong, Vaughan, James, Ma, Shengchun, Wang, Sicheng and Tian, Xinyu (2023). Turning bauxite residue to metal adsorption materials through a low-cost approach. Light Metals 2023. (pp. 225-229) edited by Stephan Broek. Cham, Switzerland: Springer . doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-22532-1_30

  • Laubie, Baptiste, Vaughan, James and Simonnot, Marie-Odile (2020). Processing of hyperaccumulator plants to nickel products. Agromining: farming for metals: extracting unconventional resources from plants. (pp. 47-61) edited by Antony van der Ent, Alan J. M. Baker, Guillaume Echevarria, Marie-Odile Simonnot and Jean Louis Morel. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-58904-2_3

  • Peng, Hong, Peters, Steven and Vaughan, James (2019). Leaching kinetics of thermally-activated, high silica bauxite. Light metals 2019. (pp. 11-17) edited by Corleen Chesonis. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-05864-7_2

  • Vogrin, John, Hodge, Harrison, Santini, Talitha, Peng, Hong and Vaughan, James (2019). Quantitative X-ray diffraction study into bauxite residue mineralogical phases. Light metals 2019. (pp. 93-99) edited by Corleen Chesonis. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-05864-7_13

  • Simonnot, Marie-Odile, Vaughan, James and Laubie, Baptiste (2018). Processing of bio-ore to products. Agromining: farming for metals. Extracting Unconventional Resources Using Plants. (pp. 39-51) edited by Antony van der Ent, Guillaume Echevarria, Alan J. M. Baker and Jean Louis Morel. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-61899-9_3

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision