Issues of Improving Control and Increasing Efficiency of Production Blocks at an ISL Uranium Mine

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The tasks of continuous optimizing production, looking for ways of increasing performance, cutting mining costs and expanding mineral resource base of a mining enterprise are becoming more relevant than ever in conditions of the current negative trends at the world market of uranium resources. Increasing enterprise competitiveness requires permanent improvement of approaches and methods for managing performance of production blocks of a mine and ensuring the necessary volumes of reserves prepared for production. In the study, a theoretical information analysis of the process flow sheet of commercial ISL uranium production was carried out. The regression relationships between the main indicators of the production process cycles were determined, and the task of controlling production blocks at the stages of acidification, active leaching, completing operation, and decommissioning was formalized. The statistical characteristics of a production block cells and the distribution of uranium reserves, obtained based on the data of ore body drilling-in, as well as the analysis of the dynamic pattern of uranium production and recovery by production block depending on time, the balance of production block productivity by pregnant and leaching solutions enabled calculating key geotechnological indicators that formed the basis for calculating regression relationships between the uranium recovery and the ratio of the leaching solution amount to the rock mass amount, as well as for estimating specific consumption of sulfuric acid and electricity depending on operation time. This approach allowed identifying the problem areas and promising ways for improving the control procedure and performance of ISL mine wellfield operation. The planned measures will allow re-estimating resource potential of a production block while simultaneously providing a reasonable forecast of the residual uranium reserves in the being exploited and drilled-in blocks, reducing costs at the main development stage, and, by providing timely decommissioning of the blocks, reducing power consumption, optimizing sulfuric acid consumption, and overall improving quality of projecting and planning the production indicators for achieving uranium production targets. The study results can be used for improving short- and medium-term planning of technical and economic indicators of main development and production based on the forecast of ore interval sizes in production blocks that contributes to strengthening resource base and increasing capitalization of a company.

About the Author

D. R. Podrezov
NAC Kazatomprom JSC, uranium mining enterprise Karatau LLP



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For citation: Podrezov D.R. Issues of Improving Control and Increasing Efficiency of Production Blocks at an ISL Uranium Mine. Gornye nauki i tekhnologii = Mining Science and Technology (Russia). 2020;5(2):131-153.

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