Technical Note - Geochemical modeling of in situ leaching in a heterogeneous porous medium

Schmidt, R. D. ; Follin, S. E.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
Introduction Mineral recovery from an in situ leaching operation is determined by the often complex interaction of hydrology, mass transport, and chemical kinetics. The operating conditions of many pilot and production scale uranium leaching operations involve heterogeneities in aquifer permeability. Differences in permeability may be naturally occurring, the result of differences in main size or cementation, or they may be induced by leaching activity. Variations in permeability directly affect the fluid flow streamline pattern, fluid flux, and so also leaching geochemistry and uranium recovery. An in situ leaching hydrology model (ISL) and a mass transport-oxidation rate model (ISLGC) have been developed for use in making site specific predictions of the leachability and productive potential of heterogeneous ore deposits, and for the optimal design of leachant injection and recovery operations. The two models are linked by output and input requirements. The ISL hydrology model generates a leachant flow streamline pattern between injection and recovery points in a flow domain incorporating regions of arbitrary permeability. The ISLGC transport model describes the changing solution concentrations of uranium and oxygen and the changing mineral concentrations of uranium and pyrite resulting from convection, longitudinal dispersion, and oxidation reactions. ISL hydrology model Basic equations The differential equation for steady-state two- dimensional flow in an isotropic porous medium is
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