Dirk Van Zyl is Professor and Chair of Mining and the Environment at the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. Dirk has more than 35 years experience in research, teaching and consulting in tailings and mine waste rock disposal and heap leach design. During the last decade much of his attention has been focused on mining and sustainable development and mine life cycle management.
Dirk has consulted internationally on many mining projects. These projects covered the whole mining life cycle, from exploration to closure and post-closure, in a large range of climatic and geographic environments. Most of this work has been focused on geotechnical and environmental mining engineering aspects to provide solutions for environmental and human health protection.
Dirk has more than 100 publications to his credit; these include papers and book chapters. He has also presented numerous short courses on heap leach design, mining environmental management and mine closure in the US and abroad. He is the recipient of the three awards from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME). These are the Robert Peele Award (1985) and Distinguished Service Award (1992) from the Mining and Exploration Division, and a President's Citation (1998). Dirk became a Distinguished Member of SME in 2003. He received the Bureau of Land Management Sustainable Development award in 2005 and the Adrian Smith International Environmental Mining Award in 2006.
Dirk received a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering in 1972 and a B.Sc. (Honors) Civil Engineering in 1974, both from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He also received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geotechnical Engineering from Purdue University in 1976 and 1979, respectively. In 1998 he completed an Executive MBA at the University of Colorado. He is a registered professional engineer in 3 States in the US.