In Situ Copper Leach Mining--an Alternate Mining Method.
Miner Resour Eng 3(1):11-20
The U.S. Bureau of Mines is evaluating in situ leach mining as a method for extracting copper from previously unmined copper oxide deposits. This involves the in-place leaching of metal values from an ore zone using fluid injection and recovery wells completed from the surface or from underground workings. In situ leach mining differs dramatically from conventional mining in that metal recovery does not require extraction and handling of ore, or corresponding disposal of large quantities of rock and processing waste. This may result in a lower unit cost of production since labor and energy requirements are reduced. A draft manual has been developed by the Bureau that will allow a user to evaluate economically the potential for any copper oxide deposit to be in situ leach mined, and also prepare design specifications for a commercial-scale operation. A field research project is being conducted to verify the draft manual. This paper will discuss the key components of the draft manual and field verification program.
Miner. Resour. Eng., V. 3, No. 1, PP. 11-20