School of Chemical Engineering

Associate Professor James Vaughan

Associate Professor
Office: 1016-219:1
Phone: +61 7 3365 3850

Dr Vaughan is Senior Lecturer in the University of Queensland School of Chemical Engineering, Director of the UQ RT Bauxite and Alumina Technology Centre and leader in 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. Before joining UQ James gained valuable experience as a research engineer in industry, working for Placer Dome Mines and BHP Billiton. 


The research focuses on the fundamental aspects of leaching; ion exchange, adsorption and precipitation reactions. The potential to apply nanofiltration technology for novel aqueous phase separations is also being studied. These projects are of interest to the base metals, precious metals and alumina refining industries. 

Two new nickel processing technologies developed at the University of Queensland are being commercialized. The first is a method to separate nickel from cobalt and manganese contained in hydroxide intermediates by oxidative leaching. The second is a method of extracting nickel and cobalt from process streams using ion exchange resin and recovering the metal to the refinery by selective ammonia elution. A new process is also being developed for treating copper ores which takes advantage of the synergies between the hydro and pyrometallurgical routes.

Teaching and Learning: 
  • Lecturer and coordinator of the course Aqueous Solution Processing & Electrometallurgy (MINE4204)
  • Lecturer in the course Reaction Engineering (CHEE3005)
  • Lecturer in the course Physical & Chemical Processing of Minerals (MINE2201)
  1. A novel low-energy process route for primary copper production utilising synergistic hydro- and pyro-metallurgical processes
  2. Bayer process fundamentals
  3. Mercury in the Bayer process
  4. Selective acid leaching of nickel from mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate
  5. Selective ammonia elution of nickel and cobalt from ion exchange resin
Key Publications: 
  1. Fu W., Vaughan J., Gillespie A. Effects of inorganic anions on the morphology of sodium oxalate crystallised from highly alkaline solutions. Crystal Growth & Design (2014)
  1. Littlejohn P. and Vaughan J. Selective elution of nickel and cobalt from iminodiacetic acid cation exchange resin using ammoniacal solutions. Hydrometallurgy 141 24-30 (2014)
  1. Bansal N., Vaughan J., Boullemant A., Leong T.  Determination of total mercury in bauxite and bauxite residue by flow injection cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry. Microchemical Journal, 113, 36-41 (2014)
  1. Williams C., Hawker W., Vaughan J. Selective acid leaching of mixed nickel – cobalt hydroxide. Hydrometallurgy, 138, 84-92 (2013)
  1. Chong S., Hawker W., Vaughan J. Selective reductive leaching of an oxidised cobalt hydroxide containing residue.  Minerals Engineering 54, 82-87 (2013)
  1. Littlejohn P. and Vaughan J. Recovery of nickel and cobalt from laterite leach tailings through resin-in-pulp scavenging and selective ammoniacal elution.  Minerals Engineering 54, 14-20 (2013)
  1. Littlejohn P. and Vaughan J. Selectivity of commercial and novel mixed functionality cation exchange resins in mildly acidic sulfate and mixed sulfate-chloride solution. Hydrometallurgy 121-124, p. 90-99 (2012)
  1. Harvey R., Hannah R., Vaughan J. Selective precipitation of mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide. Hydrometallurgy 105 222-228 (2011)
  1. Vaughan J., Reid P., Alfantazi A. Corrosion of Ti-2 and Ti-7 relevant to nickel leach chemistry. Hydrometallurgy 101 156-165 (2010)
  1. Vaughan J., Tu J., Dreisinger D. Ionic liquid electro-deposition of reactive metals.  Trans. Inst. Min. Metall. C, Vol. 117 No. 2. 113-117 (2008)
  1. Vaughan J. and Dreisinger D. Electrodeposition of aluminum from aluminum chloride trihexyl(tetradecyl) phosphonium chloride. J. Electrochem. Soc., 155 (1) D68-D72 (2008)
  1. Vaughan J. and Alfantazi A. Corrosion of titanium and its alloys in sulfuric acid in the presence of chlorides. J. Electrochem. Soc., 153 (1) B6-B12 (2006)