Zimbabwe Profiles Local,People Steve Chingwaru Biography | Profile, Early Life, Education, R450 Billion Gold Discovery

Steve Chingwaru Biography | Profile, Early Life, Education, R450 Billion Gold Discovery

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Steve Chingwaru Biography

Steve Chingwaru is a Zimbabwean geomatallurgist, academic, and researcher. He is known for his groundbreaking research on the world’s largest invisible gold resource, valued at R450 billion, found in mine dumps around Johannesburg.  This biography chronicles Dr Steve Chingwaru personal and professional life, including his impressive discovery.

Early Life and Education

Steve Chingwaru was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his aunt. He is the grandson of the legendary prospector George Nolan, who discovered lithium in Zimbabwe. Chingwaru’s early life was marked by challenges, as he lost his father before his birth and his mother struggled to raise three children.

Despite these challenges, Chingwaru excelled in his studies and pursued a career in geomatallurgy. He obtained his PhD from Stellenbosch University (SU) at the age of 26, focusing on the calculation and characterisation of gold reserves in historical mine waste, known as tailings, from the Witwatersrand.


[Image Credit: Stefan Els/Stellenbosch University]

Research and Discoveries

Chingwaru’s research has revealed that the six billion tons of tailings around Johannesburg’s mines contain up to 460 tons of gold. This invisible gold, locked inside other minerals, was previously considered too low-grade to be of value. However, Chingwaru’s work has shown that extracting gold from these low-concentration sources is becoming more viable as high-grade gold deposits are depleted.

Chingwaru’s research also addresses environmental concerns related to the tailings, such as the release of acid mine drainage (AMD) owing to pyrite oxidation. He has explored ways to extract gold efficiently while reducing the environmental impact of tailings dumps.

Academic and Public Recognition

Chingwaru’s work has garnered significant attention from the academic community and the mining industry. His research has been published in top industry journals, such as Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review and Minerals Engineering. He has been featured in news media and radio shows and has presented his work at international conferences.

In recognition of his contributions, Chingwaru’s research was voted the third best at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference, the world’s largest international conference on minerals exploration and investment.

Future Plans and Personal Life

With his PhD completed, Chingwaru is considering employment options in Australia and Germany, where he can continue his research on mining waste. Despite his global ambitions, he remains deeply connected to his African roots and is passionate about promoting scientific discovery on the continent.

Chingwaru’s difficult childhood has taught him resilience and goal-orientation. He is motivated by the adventure of scientific discovery and the potential to make discoveries that benefit Africa and the world.


  1. Zimbabwean PhD Genius Discovers World’s Largest Invisible Gold Resource Worth R450 Billion in SA’s Backyard (iHarare, 30 March 2024)
  2. PhD student’s research on massive invisible gold resource (Stellenbosch University, 27 March 2024)
  3. PhD research uncovers invisible gold resource (Skillings Mining Review, 31 March 2024)
  4. Zimbabwean geologist makes groundbreaking discovery of world’s largest gold resource, valued at billions (Mining Index, 31 March 2024)

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