Heap leach conference comes home

Heap Leach Solutions 2015 is holding its September conference in the place where the important mineral processing procedure began, the State of Nevada.

“Nevada is a great place to do [the conference] because modern heap leach operations developed for gold was developed in the State of Nevada in the 1980s,” said Jeff Parshley, Conference Vice-Chair.

Attend Heap Leach Solutions 2015 running September 12-16, 2015

“Nevada has been heap leaching for about 35 years. We’ve also been closing them for about 25 years. There are probably more gold heap leach pads in Nevada than anywhere else in the world.”

Jeff discussed trends in heap leach and what conference attendees can look forward to.

MINING.com: What is heap leaching?

Jeff Parshley: Heap leaching is a metallurgical process that allows recovery of lowgrade gold deposits, copper, uranium, nickel and even vanadium.

MINING.com: What are the recent trends in the industry for heap leach?

Jeff Parshley: Well when it comes to the operations it’s mainly about maximizing the recovery. Heap leach pads do not recover the amount of metals on a percentage basis that some of the other methods do. However it’s much less expensive. As a consequence, lower grade ores can be processed using heap leach pads. The other thing is that there has been a lot of trends in closure of heap leach pads, based upon the experience people have over the past 25 years. Those include the design of covers, as well as management over the long term.

Netted solution pond next to cyanide heap leaching of gold ore near Elko, Nevada. Image from Wikimedia.

MINING.com: What are some key considerations in closing a heap leach operation?

Jeff Parshley: Closure comprises of two main components: One of them is finding a way to reduce the infiltration of water over time. The reason we do that is it is drainage coming out of the heap leach pad that is pose the greatest challenges. The other issue is how we deal with that drainage when it comes out of the bottom of the heap leach pad. There are a number of methods that are used. Passive is preferrable to active. It’s less expensive and it poses less of a long-term liability.

MINING.com: What is Heap Leach 2015?

Jeff Parshley: It’s a conference with a variety of practitioners, scientists and engineers of heap leach pads. There is everyone from metallurgists to environmental engineers.

MINING.com: Who should attend?

Jeff Parshley: Anyone who has an interest in heap leach operations. That would be permitting, operations, metallurgy and closure of heap leach pads.

MINING.com: Why are you having the conference in Nevada?

Jeff Parshley: Nevada is a great place to do it because the modern heap leach operation developed for gold was developed in the State of Nevada in the 1980s. Nevada has been heap leaching for about 35 years. We’ve also been closing them for about 25 years. There are probably more gold heap leach pads in Nevada than anywhere else in the world.

Cyanide leaching “heap” at a gold mining operation near Elko, Nevada. Image from Wikimedia.

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