The borehole mining equipment development, funded under the Bureau's advancing coal mining technology program, is essential to accelerated progress in the in situ mining subprogram, and some background information on this concept is included in this report. The initial in situ research projects started in 1971-72 evaluated some of the critical blast design parameters for in situ copper leaching. This program totals about $1 million per year and includes inhouse research projects, cooperative (cost-sharing) projects with the mining industry, and research and development contracts. Two extraction schemes are under investigation: inplace leaching and borehole (or slurry) mining. The principal commodity targets for the Bureau's improved in situ mining technologies include copper, uranium, coal, and potash. The principal purpose of this paper is to inform the mining industry of the in situ mining research recently completed or being conducted by the Bureau of Mines. In addition, the Bureau encourages companies to comment on the program accomplishments as well as offer suggestions on top priority research needs for improving the in situ mining methods described in this paper.
Pres. At 1977 SME Fall Mtg. & Exhibit, St. Louis, Missouri, 10/19-21/77, AIME Preprint 77-As-340