The practice of hydrometallurgy involves removing metal from ore using a “leaching” method by which metals are dissolved with a liquid solution and then removed so that the metals can be used for any number of purposes. Hydrometallurgists who are often compared to “alchemists” perform the task of removing metals from ores but hydrometallurgists use lower temperatures and a water-based solution which is often touted as a more environmentally safe process than alchemists use to achieve their goals. Alchemists use high temperatures to extract metals from ore which causes excessive smoke and a potentially higher damage level to nature. Hydrometallurgists who are often called “hydrometallurgical engineers” often conduct research and develop new and more efficient systems of extracting metals from ore. Because mining for metals is considered by many to be destructive to the earth the methods by which extraction occurs is controversial. Therefore hydrometallurgists consistently work with geologists and environmental engineers to determine the safest solutions for removing as many metal elements as possible with the least environmental damage. Because the field of hydrometallurgy is extremely technical and scientific aspiring hydrometallurgists should have a passion for conducting geological research studies be highly knowledgeable about minerals metals rocks and ore and enjoy designing complex solutions to problems that require extreme attention to environmental sustainability. In order to become a hydrometallurgist a bachelor’s degree in the field of materials engineering geological engineering metals science ceramics science or another related field is necessary. Salaryexpert.com states that the salary range for a hydrometallurgist is between $44774 and $71045 per year.

Education Required: Bachelor's Degree
Avg Salary: $57909.5
High Salary: $71045
Low Salary: $44774
Tasks: Turns metal into a more valuable product.
Studies the natural properties of metals.
Uses water and low temperatures to extract metal ore.
Works to improve ore extraction equipment and processes.
Also Called: Chemical Engineer
Pyrometallurgical Engineer
Materials Engineer
Additional Resources: http://www.answers.com/topic/hydrometallurgy