Nonvertical solution flow and its implications in heap and dump leaching
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1988
Lateral migration of leach solution in heaps and dumps is attributed to two phenomena. One is site-specific anisotropic conditions that exist on a macroscopic scale on the surface or within the rock piles. The second is associated with a random walk phenomenon that causes dispersion of solution, especially at gradients in flow or hydrostatic pressure. The latter phenomenon is a general condition that will occur in any leaching operation. Its effects are modeled by computer analysis and are compared with available field data on heap leaching. Under appropriate assumptions, the observed 58° angle of solution dispersion can be reproduced by the model. The combined effects of both anisotropy and random walk are also discussed. Finally, the impact of lateral solution flow on actual leaching operations is considered.