J. Keith Brimacombe Mining and Mineral Processing

One of the finest metallurgical engineers of the twentieth century.

The Story

Following graduation from UBC, Brimacombe obtained a Commonwealth Fellowship and travelled to England to study under F.D. Richardson, the great British metallurgical thermochemist. He completed his education at the University of London, returning to UBC in 1970 to teach. In the following years he established a research program in metallurgical process engineering and built a large interdisciplinary research group which worked in collaboration with Canadian companies such as Stelco, Hatch Associates, Algoma Steel, Cominco, Inco and Alcan.

In 1985, Brimacombe founded the Centre for Metallurgical Process Engineering at UBC, and became its first Director. Brimacombe's research focused on the industrial production of metal including such processes as continuous casting of steel, flash smelting of lead and copper converting. His research program involved mathematical and physical modeling, as well as pilot-plant and in-plant tests, and continues to be one of the largest of its kind at a North American university. Brimacombe was also a gifted speaker and presented courses to the steel industry all over the world. His work resulted in nine patents and two books.

Sources: The Manning Awards Committee; personal communication; UBC Alloy Editions October 2000, Advanced Materials Bulletin, Feb, 1998; Image: American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers website

The Person

December 7, 1943
Windsor, Nova Scotia
Date of Death
December 16, 1997
Place of Death
Vancouver, BC
Family Members
  • Daughters: Jane and Kathryn
Professor, UBC; Metalurgist; Engineer; Alcan Chair in Materials Process Engineering; CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • BASc (Hons), UBC, 1966
  • PhD (Metallurgical Engineering) Royal School of Mines, London, 1970
  • DSc, (Eng.), U of London, 1986
  • BC Science Council Gold Medal, 1985
  • Manning Award, 1987
  • Fellow of the Order of Canada, 1987
  • Officer of the Order of Canada, 1989
  • Killam Senior Science Prize, 1990
  • Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, 1993
  • Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, 1997
  • INCO Medal (posthumously), 1998
Last Updated
June 17, 2015

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