Dr Elaine Govender-Opitz

BSc (ChemEng), PhD Cape Town



Department of Chemical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment




Research Interests

Fundamental understanding and application of biohydrometallurgical principles to the treatment of mineral ores in tank and heap leaching systems, with focus on mineral-microbe interaction and the modelling of microbial transport facilitated through solution flow dynamics. Application of bioprocess engineering principles in the treatment of secondary metal resources such as the treatment of waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) for value recovery.


Recent publications

  • E. Govender-Opitz, A. Kotsiopoulos, S.T.L. Harrison, Insight into solute and microbial transport in heap (bio)leaching systems using residence time distribution, Hydrometallurgy, 168 (2017) 1-5.
  • E. Govender, A. Kotsiopoulos, S.T.L. Harrison, A study of permeability and diffusion at the agglomerate-scale in heap (bio)leaching systems. In: Proceedings of 21st International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium, Mubarok, Z. M., Chaerun, S. K., Minwal, W. P., Muhammad, F. and Pratama, K. (Eds.), Bali, Indonesia, Advanced Materials Research, Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland, (2015) 316-320.
  • E. Govender, C.G. Bryan, S.T.L. Harrison, Effect of physicochemical conditions on the growth and activity of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans in a simulated heap bioleaching environment, Minerals Engineering, 75 (2015) 14-25.
  • E. Govender, C.G. Bryan, S.T.L. Harrison, A novel experimental system for the study of microbial ecology and mineral leaching within a simulated agglomerate scale heap bioleaching system, Biochemical Engineering Journal, 95 (2015) 86-97.
  • E. Govender, A. Kotsiopoulos, C.G. Bryan, S.T.L. Harrison, Modelling microbial transport in simulated low-grade heap bioleaching systems: the biomass transport model, Hydrometallurgy, 150 (2014) 299-307.
  • E. Govender, C.G. Bryan, S.T.L. Harrison, True growth rate kinetics: An account of the colonisation and transport of microorganisms on whole low grade ore, at the agglomerate scale, In: Proceedings of the 20th International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium, Guiliani, N., Demergasso, C. S., Quatrini, R., Remonsellez, F., Davis-Belmar, C. S., Levican, G., Parada, P., Barahona, C. Zale, R. (Eds.), Antofagasta, Chile. Advanced Materials Research, Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland, (2013) 468-471.
  • E. Govender, C.G. Bryan, S.T.L. Harrison, Quantification of growth and colonisation of low grade sulphidic ores by acidophilic chemoautotrophs using a novel experimental system, Minerals Engineering 48 (2013) 108-115.
  • E. Govender, S.T.L. Harrison, C.G. Bryan, Modification of the ferric chloride assay for the spectrophotometric determination of ferric and total iron in acidic solutions containing high concentrations of copper, Minerals Engineering 35 (2012) 46-48.