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Advanced Selective Mining Concepts.
Paper in Proceedings 15th World Mining Congress World Min Congr PP 79-89 :79-89
One view of future mining operations envisions processes that are very selective in removing from the earth only the desirable attributes of an ore body. The approach is to take what is desirable from within the earth and bring it to the surface for processing without removing the valueless country rock. Such selectivity might be physical or chemical in nature, employing inorganic reagents or possibly bacteria. These systems would have as their objectives minimum production costs and minimum environmental disturbance. The U.S. Bureau of Mines has underway a variety of research projects that have as their objective the realization of cost-effective, environmentally sound selective mining systems. This paper describes the status of such research activities with examples of their potential application. Two main focal points of this paper are cooperative field tests conducted by the Bureau and the mining industry in chemically selective mining, i.e., in situ leach mining of oxidized copper deposits in the southwest United States. Access to the ore body for one of these experiments is through vertical wells drilled from the surface, and no explosive prefracturing or caving of the material is contemplated. The other copper leaching field test is a computer- assisted hydrologic analysis of in situ leaching recovery targeting a volume of undisturbed ore with wells drilled from an existing underground mine. In addition to summarizing results from these two field tests, advanced concepts such as the use of microwave energy to enhance permeability of mineral-bearing zones in s
Paper in Proceedings, 15th World Mining Congress. World Min. Congr., PP. 79-89
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division