Recent Trends in Copper In Situ Leaching

J. B. Hiskey, G. Oner, D. W. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The recovery of copper by leaching techniques has been practiced for centuries. In the United States at the present time approximately 25 percent of the primary copper production is derived from leaching activities. Most of this production results from massive dump and heap leaching activitie: associated with large open-pit mines. Historically a small portion of copper is produced from small scale in situ leaching operations treating low-grade rock left from earlier mining activities. In situ leaching technology because of its intrinsic advantages over conventional mining and milling is being considered as a viable option for recovering copper from both oxide and sulfide deposits. This paper reviews the development of copper in situ leaching, and discusses both commercial and experimental projects. Hydrometallurgical extraction of copper by in situ leaching requires interfacing such technologies as solution chemistry, hydrology, geology, geochemistry, and rock mechanics. Both physical and chemical parameters must be integrated to successfully predict in situ leaching performance. In this study, a large whole core sample of copper oxide ore was leached to gain a better understanding of the physical and chemical factors influencing in situ leaching behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalMineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Feb 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Economic Geology


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