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Extending mine life through application of an in situ recovery approach


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Author D J Robinson and L L Kuhar


In-situ recovery (ISR) is accepted and applied across many geographies, and approximately 50% of the world’s uranium is currently extracted by using an ISR method (World Nuclear Association, 2014). The low environmental impact, the elimination of risk for mine workers and the fact that all of the lowest-cost producers of uranium use an ISR approach should raise interest from traditional miners (IAEA, 2014). However, the broader application of ISR to other commodities and mineral systems remains limited. A number of demonstration (experimental) copper projects have been undertaken (Sinclair and Thompson, 2015) with a few copper projects in Arizona being close to demonstration (Florence, 2018 and Gunnison, 2018). Evidence of very few economically operating ISR copper projects can be found (for example, the Russian, Uralgidromed OAO, built by the Russian Copper Company in 2005 and operated as an ISR facility from the Gumeshevskoye deposit (Russia Mining, 2018). A number of gold deposits, particularly paleochannel deposits, have also been considered for ISR, but, to the best of our knowledge, only limited demonstration and no commercial operations have been established, yet (Kuhar et al, 2018 and references therein).


Robinson, D J and Kuhar, L L, 2018. Extending mine life through application of an in situ recovery approach, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2018, pp 56–57 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).