Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering
Maria Holuszko’s research focuses on minerals characterization as it applies to mineral processing. Every aspect of our life requires minerals, metals and elements (e.g. rare earths elements in electronics, cell phones, etc.) to support our current needs and to maintain our standard of living as well as for developing green technologies for sustainable future of our planet.
Maria’s previous research adresses issues with the extraction of metals through the traditional mineral processing technologies. Her major research accomplishments are in the area of mineral processing to efficiently recover minerals and coal. Her current interests are directed towards recovery of metals from industrial and municipal waste streams. Urban Mining is the term that describes activities related to recovery of metals from the waste streams related to the human activities. Maria is co-founder of Urban Mining Innovation Center (UMIC) at the Norman B. Kevil Institute of Mining Engineering, UBC.
Since globally, more than one billion cell phones are disposed of each year, electronic wastes recycling and re-processing have been the focus of many research activities. Typically, each cell phone contains 25 grams of metals in which 64% is copper, 1.4% silver, 0.14% gold, 0.3% palladium, 0.0014% platinum and 34.2 % other metals. In comparison, Mount Polley Mine in BC has been mining ores with 0.37% copper and 0.000026 % gold. The many challenges related to the re-processing of recycled material in order to extract metals is similar to the problems facing the mining industry when processing different types of ores, hence Maria’s current research is focusing on the developing new more streamlined and robust approaches to recover metals from electronic waste.
She is also involved in collaboration with the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UBC, in the research that uses biomass waste from forestry and tailings from coal mining to produce new bio-renewable fuel for power industry with the possibility of using this type of fuel in steel making.
Prior to UBC:
She obtained her undergraduate degree from Silesian University of Technology, Poland and holds MASc and PhD degrees from UBC. Before coming to work at UBC, Maria worked at the University of Alberta, the Alberta Research Council, the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Center at the University of Queensland, Australia, the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines and Teck Resources.
Maria’s research has been published in many refereed journals: Minerals Engineering, International Journal of Coal Preparation and Utilization, Fuel Processing Technologies, Liquid Fuel Technologies, Applied Science and Technology, International Journal of Environmental Issues in Mineral and Energy Industry. In 2013 she wrote a chapter on “Coal Processing and Use in Power Generation” in a book “Future Energy, Improved, Sustainable and Clean Options for our Planet”.
She is Canada’s representative to the International Coal Preparation Congress. She also holds a Chair position at CIM, Mineral Processing section.
Maria enjoys travelling whether for business or pleasure. She loves skiing and outdoor activities. Vancouver is her favourite place to live.