Hydro-geo-ecological safety of gold extraction from residuum by heap leaching

Mineral mining alters conditions of hydrogeology and leads to the need of reappraisal of proven reserves in the mining areas. The use of the cyanide heap leaching methods call for the exclusive validation standards of ecological safety both of the recovery and its aftereffects. For the purpose of the gold mining procedure justification in the Middle Urals, determination of groundwater flow direction velocity and rates, as well as the estimate of probability of the hydrosphere pollution, including the post-operation phase, the hydro-geo-migration modeling has been implemented. The parameters of the two-layer model are justified based on the actual data of cluster-well and single-well pumping. During open pit mining, groundwater flows undergo redistribution in the basin of a discharge. First, the drainage flow rate will reach 4 thousand cubic meter per day, and it will gradually decrease by 2 times in 10 years. In the structure of water drainage, the dominant part is taken by drawdown firstly (80%), and the percentage of the resources from the waterlogged river valley grows later on (60%). After mining completion, the flow structure changes and the direction of the pollution finger progression changes accordingly. It is shown that even in case of the worst scenarios connected with accidental leakages at the heap leaching sites, pollution concentrates under the site and never reaches the open pit mine when it is mined with water drainage. In the post-operation phase, pollution gets diluted by tens millions of times. Thus, the numerical modeling has validated the ecological safety of mining.

Keywords: residuum, open pit mine, heap leaching, gold ore deposit, mining, post-operation phase, proven reserves components, accident, hydro-geo-migration modeling.
For citation:

Rybnikova L. S., Rybnikov P. A. Hydro-geo-ecological safety of gold extraction from residuum by heap leaching. MIAB. Mining Inf. Anal. Bull. 2022;(5):25-38. [In Russ]. DOI: 10.25018/0236_1493_2022_5_0_25.


The studies were supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Grant No. 20-45-660014.

Issue number: 5
Year: 2022
Page number: 25-38
ISBN: 0236-1493
UDK: 556.502
DOI: 10.25018/0236_1493_2022_5_0_25
Article receipt date: 01.11.2021
Date of review receipt: 24.02.2022
Date of the editorial board′s decision on the article′s publishing: 10.04.2022
About authors:

L.S. Rybnikova1, Dr. Sci. (Geol. Mineral.), Chief Researcher, e-mail: luserib@mail.ru, ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4221-7879,
P.A. Rybnikov1, Cand. Sci. (Geol. Mineral.), Assistant Professor, e-mail: ribnikoff@yandex.ru, ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7829-5035,
1 Institute of Mining, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, 620075, Ekaterinburg, Russia.


For contacts:

L.S. Rybnikova, e-mail: luserib@mail.ru.


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