Learn more about in-situ copper recovery projects

Learn more about in-situ copper recovery projects

Many of those interested in the Florence Copper Project are also interested in learning about other in-situ projects and accessing more technical research about in-situ copper recovery. Because of this interest, Florence Copper provided grant funding to Cornell University to expand the available research on in situ leaching of copper and its environmental considerations.

In situ leaching of copper: Challenges and future prospects by Laura Sinclair and John Thompson was published in Hydromettallurgy in October of 2015 as a result of this funding. Copies can are available for purchase through the Science Direct website: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S…

Florence Copper recently purchased a copy as well. If you’d like to read the article, you are invited to stop by our Community Center, 130 N. Main St. in Florence, to borrow this courtesy copy and learn more about the research of Sinclair and Thompson of Cornell University.

Here is an excerpt:


In situ leaching offers a potentially attractive way to extract copper from the subsurface without costly fragmentation and processing. Applicability of in situ leaching is limited to deposits where sufficient permeability exists and where the copper and gangue mineralogy is amenable to leaching. A key challenge from past projects is establishing uniform contact between the fluid and the formation in fractured environments, particularly if fractures become blocked by gypsum and jarosite precipitation during leaching. Previous projects have demonstrated that in situ leaching of copper sulfides is feasible by regenerating ferric iron using atmospheric bacertia cultures, pressurized oxygen gas, or chemical oxidants. Oilfield technologies, including polymer injection for permeability modification and nanoparticle tracers, may have future applications for diagnosing and mitigating short circuiting between wells. Geophysical techniques such as electrical resistance tomography have the potential to provide real-time data on lixiviant movement in the subsurface, thus aiding in both recovery optimization and environmental control. In this review, data from past copper in situ leaching projects are assembled, with a focus on recovery without prior permeability enhancement. The resulting database includes key operating variables from copper in situ leaching projects ranging from field scale pilots to commercial operations.

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