Solution mining

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In-situ Recovery (ISR), also known as in-situ leach (ISL) or solution mining, is a mineral extraction method where ore is dissolved by a lixiviant, leached and pumped to surface. The primary minerals extracted using ISR include: Copper, Uranium, Salt, Potash and Lithium.

ISR Process In-situ recovery involves a series of horizontal parallel wells that inject a solution into an orebody, while a neighboring well extracts the pregnant solution back to the surface. To detect of mining fluids are flowing outside of the mining area, monitoring wells are drilled around the saturation zone. The pregnant solution is then pumped into a storage pond before entering the processing plant. Once the desired minerals are extracted, the remaining liquid is pumped into the barren solution pond. The purpose of the secondary pond is to mix and level the acid/alkali solution before returning to leaching [1]. Once desired acidic levels are achieved, the barren solution is then pumped back into the orebody.

A typical example of an in-situ processing method for uranium can be seen in Figure 1: Process.jpg

Figure 1 - Typical In-Situ Recovery Mine