In-Situ Recovery Of Sandstone Uranium Deposits In New Mexico: Past, Present, And Future Issues And Potential - Preprint 09-016

McLemore, V. T.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2009
In-situ leaching (ISL) operations have been proposed to recover uranium from sandstone-uranium deposits in NM. ISL (also known as in-situ recovery, solution mining, solution-leach mining, leach mining) consists of injecting a leaching solution into the mineralized zone through injection wells. The leach solution migrates through the formation, dissolves uranium and is recovered through production wells. The uranium is then precipitated through a conventional uranium recovery system. Several criteria must be met in order for in-situ leaching to be successful, most important is that the ore body must be amenable to chemical leaching. A number of ISL operations have been conducted in NM in the past (Mobil, Crownpoint; UNC-Teton, Section 23; Grace Nuclear, Hook?s Ranch, Seboyeta, Church Rock; Anaconda, Windwhip). Kerr-McGee (later Quivera Mining Co., Rio Algum) successfully produced uranium from mine-water recovery (recirculated mine water) from the Ambrosia Lake mines (mid-1960s to 2002). Despite some difficulties, ISL is a viable alternative to recovering uranium and could be utilized in the Grants district with proper aquifer characterization and monitoring.
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