Also known as in-situ recovery (ISR) or solution mining, in-situ leaching (ISL) entails leaving ore in the ground and recovering the minerals by dissolving them. The pregnant solution is pumped to the surface so that the minerals can be recovered. For example, in-situ leaching is utilized for uranium mining.
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Leaching agents which contain alkali mixed with oxidants (i.e. hydrogen peroxide) or acids (i.e. sulfuric acid), are pumped into the ground, returning with solved uranium. Depending on local conditions like sand thickness, permeability, deposit type, ore grade and distribution, ISL wellfields differ widely.
Operators can switch between several streams of injection and extraction wells by utilizing on-line analysis to monitor uranium recovery. This permits control and the possibility to steer acid consumption, leading to a constant uranium in-flux for further solvent extraction (SX). A more constant in-flux results in lower costs and energy consumption.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Malvern Panalytical.
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