Wilma Pretorius, Ph.D.

CEO, I&W Research, Inc.

Dr. Pretorius is the founder and Managing Director of a privately held corporation, I&W Research, Inc. located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a doctorate in analytical geochemistry, obtained from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 2003. Prior to establishing I&W Research, Inc. she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, at the Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research, and the Mineral Deposit Research Unit, housed at the University of British Columbia. She has expertise in trace element and isotope geochemistry, mineralogy, environmental science, geophysics and sustainability. Her main interests are the integration of science and business to find sustainable solutions to problems in the agricultural, mining and environmental sectors. I&W Research, Inc. is active in consulting and research & development, and currently manufactures a variety of ingredients used in nutrition, cosmetics and animal health products, derived from plant by-products.

Articles by Dr. Pretorius

  • Biofueling the future Feb 11, 2008
    Whatever their motivation - be it energy independence for the U.S. or an attempt at fighting climate change for Europe - world governments are now heavily subsidizing biofuels.
  • Nanotech-cleantech: bridging the gap to real sustainability Aug 15, 2007
    What is nanotech, how can it help us bridge the gap to sustainablity and what are its risks? This article takes a closer look at these issues.
  • Global Trends in Energy Technology Innovation: An Introduction June 18, 2007
    In a mere 100 years we have consumed the equivalent of millions of years' of years' worth of solar energy captured by ancient microorganisms and plants, and locked up in vast oil, gas and coal reserves which are being rapidly depleted. Inevitably, we must solve our energy problems in ways that are both profitable and environmentally aware.

Dr. Pretorius's Curriculum Vitae

Professional Experience

Fifteen years experience as a writer, editor and researcher. Ten years specialized experience as a technical editor/writer in the environmental, mining and agricultural sciences industry. Proficient in writing about basic research in the physical sciences including sustainability and energy issues.

  • 2006-current: Founder and Managing Director of I&W Research, Inc.
  • 2004 - April 2006: NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research (PCIGR), UBC, Vancouver, BC.
  • 2003 - 2004: Project coordinator, Kimberlite petrophysics, Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) and Post-doctoral fellow (PCIGR), UBC, Vancouver, BC.
  • 1997-1998: Research Scientist, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, USA.
  • 1996-1997: Research scientist, Department of Earth Sciences, Leeds University, Leeds, UK.


  • 2003 Ph.D. Geochemistry, Queen's University, Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
  • 1996 M.Sc. Geochemistry, Summa Cum Laude, Department of Geology, Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • 1993 B.Sc. Earth Sciences (Honours), Summa Cum Laude, Department of Geology, Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • 1992 B.Sc. Earth Sciences, Rand Afrikaans University, Department of Geology, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Scientific expertise and interests

Sustainable agriculture including management and value added processing of agricultural by-products, environmental toxicology, sustainable mining including environmental mineralogy (zeolite) with application to environmental filtration of waste water, soil remediation and acid rock drainage, microbial and phyto-remediation of contaminated sites, precious and heavy metal geochemistry of environmental and crustal materials, method development for trace element analysis using High-Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (HR-ICP-MS) in environmental samples, heavy stable (Mg, Fe, Zn) and radiogenic (Pb) isotope studies of crustal, environmental and biological materials to track pollution, light stable isotopes in near surface environments, diamond formation and exploration, integration of geochemical and geophysical data in solving solid earth or environmental problems (i.e. magnetic susceptibility, heat flow, compressional wave velocity studies).

Technical Expertise

  • High-Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry [HR-ICP-MS] (operation, method development for trace elemental analysis in rocks, minerals, sediments, waters, mine wastes, biological samples).
  • Multi Collector ICP-MS [MC-ICP-MS] (operation and method development for the measurement of isotope ratios in environmental samples).
  • Transmitted and reflected light microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy imaging techniques for mineral identification (sulphides, silicates, carbonates etc. in rock and environmental samples).
  • X-ray Fluorescence, X-ray Diffraction and Electron microprobe analysis for major and trace elemental and mineral composition analysis of environmental or rock samples.
  • PIMA short wave infrared reflectance spectrometer for on site mineral identification in environmental and geological field work.
  • Mineral separation from rock matrices for use in mine waste/other studies using heavy liquids, Wilfley tables and Frantz Isodynamic separators for point-source pollution and mining exploration studies

Selected Publications

  • Pretorius W., Weis D., Williams G., Hanano D., Kieffer B. and Scoates J.S. (2006) Complete Trace Elemental Characterization of Granitoid (USGSG-2,GSP-2) Reference Materials by High Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 30(1), 39-54.
  • Weis D., Kieffer B., Hanano D., Nobre Silva I., Barling J., Pretorius W., Maerschalk C., Mattielli N. (2007). Hf isotopic composition of USGS reference materials, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 8, Q06006, doi:10.1029/2006GC001473
  • Pretorius W., Scoates J.S. Weis D., Mattielli N. (2005). Siderophile Element Geochemistry of Restitic and Cumulate Xenoliths from the Southeast Province of the Kerguelen Archipelago. Geochimica et Cosmochima Acta 69, p. A856.
  • Weis D., Kieffer B., Maerschalk C., Barling J., De Jong J., Williams G., Hanano D., Pretorius W., Mattielli N., Scoates J.S., Goolaerts A., FriedmanR., Mahoney J.B. (2006) High-precision isotopic characterization of USGS reference materials by TIMS and MC-ICP-MS. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 7, Q08006, doi:10.1029/2006GC001283.
  • Weis D., Kieffer B., Maerschalk C., Pretorius W., Barling J. (2005). High-precision Pb-Sr-Nd-Hf isotopic characterization of USGS BHVO-1 and BHVO-2 reference materials. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 6 doi: 10.1029/2004GC000852.
  • Weis D., Kieffer B., Maerschalk C., Pretorius W., Barling J. (2005). High-precision isotopic characterization of USGS reference materials: Comparison of first and second generation samples. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., DOI number 10.1029/2004GC000852
  • Pretorius W., Chipley D. Kyser K., Helmstaedt H. (2003). Direct determination of Os, Ir, Ru, Pt and Re in kimberlites and other geological materials, using HR-ICP-MS. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry. 18(4), 302-309.
  • Pretorius W. & Barton J.M.(2003). Petrology and geochemistry of a suite of crustal and upper mantle xenoliths from the Venetia Diamond Mine - evidence for Achaean crustal growth and subduction. Special Volume of the South African Journal of Geology 106, 213-230.
  • Pretorius W. & Barton J.M. (2003). Measured and calculated compressional wave velocities of crustal and upper mantle rocks in the Central Zone of the Limpopo Belt, South Africa - implications for lithospheric structure. Special Volume of the South African Journal of Geology 106, 205-212.
  • Pretorius W. (1998). A geochemical and geophysical investigation of a suite of crustal and upper mantle xenoliths from Venetia kimberlite pipes, Limpopo Belt, South Africa. South African Magazine for Natural Sciences and Technology. 16, 100-101.

[Last updated: 2007-06-18]