About Derek Kerfoot

The 2023 Pressure Hydrometallurgy Symposium is named in memory of Derek Kerfoot, for his important contributions to Canadian Hydrometallurgy.

Derek Kerfoot obtained a DPhil in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Oxford, UK and worked in hydrometallurgical process research and engineering for Inco Limited, Noranda Research and Seltrust Engineering before joining Sherritt Gordon Mines Ltd. in 1979. Derek was a key member of the Sherritt Research group in the 1980s and 1990s, prior to joining Inco Technical Services Ltd. (now Vale) in 1997 to head up their Hydrometallurgy Section.

Throughout his career, Derek focussed on the development of new processes for the extraction and recovery of nickel. Of particular note, in the early 1990s, Derek was the inventor and the lead investigator in the development of the Hexammine Leach Process, which enabled the economic processing of Moa Mixed Sulphides in Fort Saskatchewan and remains in use at the Sherritt Refinery today. Similarly, in the 2000s, Derek was the lead inventor and the key driver for the development of what is today Vale’s Long Harbour Pressure Oxidative Leach Process.

Derek was also author or co-author of numerous noteworthy metallurgical publications, including the definitive paper on the historical development of the original Sherritt Ammonia Pressure Leach Process, published by CIM in 1989, the chapter on nickel in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, and the chapter on the nickel industry in Canada that was published in MetSoc’s 50th anniversary publication, The Canadian Metallurgical & Materials Landscape 1960 to 2011, which is currently being re-released to members for download as part of MetSoc’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
Significant honours received by Derek during his career include the Airey Award, in 1997, and the Sherritt Hydrometallurgy Award, in 2009.

Derek’s collaborative and gentle spirit will be greatly missed by the hydrometallurgy community and especially his friends in the nickel industry.

Derek Kerfoot