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Predicting Flow Characteristics of a Lixiviant in a Fractured Crystalline Rock Mass
  • Published Date:
    1/1/2010
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  • Description:
    In situ metals research to characterize the hydrology of a fractured crystalline rock mass in under-ground mine stopes is discussed. The objective of this study was to find the potential direction, velocity, and concentrations of a lixiviant plume, should leaching solvents (lixiviants) escape from a test stope. The study was conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines at the Colorado School of Mines Experimental Mine in Idaho Springs, CO. Since this was a method evaluation site, the lixiviant was simulated using water and acceptable tracers. The site is located in moderately fractured Precambrian migmatite-biotite gneisses of the Idaho Springs Formation. The data required for the characterization were obtained from geologic maps and reports, core logs, and air and water permeability tests. The acquired data were analyzed and applied to a computer model that calculated' the characteristics of a lixiviant plume originating at the stope. A sensitivity analysis showed that dispersivity, ground water velocity, fracture porosity, and fracture spacing had notable effects on the concentration of the plume. Assuming a saturated rock mass, the lixiviant plume would disperse to undetectable levels in a very short time because of a high fracture density at the mine site.

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