Optimizing Technology for Leach Pad Liner Selection

East, Donald R. ; Haile, Jeremy P. ; Beck, Richard V.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
In view of the increasing use of heap leach operations in the mining industry and the critically important performance of the leach pad liner in both the economic and environmental aspects of the design, it has become essential that the designer fully understand the factors affecting the performance of the liner. Minimizing the loss of pregnant solution through the leach pad liner is obviously of paramount importance to the economic efficiency and environmental compliance of the heap leach operation. Losses through the liner are a function of the hydraulic conductivity of the liner material and the hydraulic gradient across the liner. This applies to both natural and synthetic materials. The hydraulic gradient across the liner is a function of the build-up of solution above the liner, which in turn is determined by the permeability of the heap material, the slope of the liner, the drainage path length and the leachate infiltration rate. A relationship incorporating each of these parameters and their effect on the hydraulic head acting on the liner has been developed in terms of the Dupuit criterion, assuming one- dimensional flow with vertical accretion.
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