Modeling in situ copper leaching in an unsaturated setting.
Minneapolis, MN: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, RI 9386, 1991 Jan; :1-22
The permeability and flow capacity in unsaturated media were investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines for application to in situ copper leach mining. Moisture retention properties were derived and combined with scanning electron microprobe data to characterize the mineralogy, texture, pore size, distribution, and permeability of the host rock. Finite-element modeling was used to derive a saturated permeability and ambient degree of saturation and to assess various injection-recovery schemes. Recommended design modifications for optimization of solution distribution and maximum recovery from the rock matrix require either (1) injection pressures on the order of 1,500 psi and recovery wells operating in a suction mode or (2) performing permeability enhancement through in situ rubbling. Injection pressures can be reduced to 500 psi with improved recovery and containment of solutions.
Injection-wells; Permeability; Porous-materials; Containment; Finite-element-method; Mathematical-models; Leaching; Materials-recovery; Copper-ores; Mining
IH; Report of Investigations
NTIS Accession No.
Minneapolis, MN: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, RI 9386