• March 12, 2019

In-Situ Recovery for Non-Uranium Metals; ALTA 2019

Published on March 12th, 2019

CSA Global‘s Principal Resource Geologist, Dr Maxim Seredkin will present on ‘In-situ Recovery for Non-Uranium Metals’ between 18-25 May 2019 at the  ALTA 2019 Nickel-Cobalt-Copper, Uranium-REE-Lithium Conference in Perth, Western Australia.

ALTA 2019 is a world-class annual metallurgical conference, now in its 24th year, and a leading platform for innovation.  The emphasis of the program is practical rather than academic, and the themes running through the conference are the various aspects of technology and project development.

The conference will feature highly-focused programs, topical forums, panels and presentations by key international speakers and will consist of five conferences in one week:

  • Nickel-Cobalt-Copper (20-22 May) including Pressure Acid Leaching Forum & Panel
  • Uranium-REE (23 May) including Developments in IX Forum & Panel
  • Gold-PM (23 May) including Fit-for-Purpose Leaching Systems Forum & Panel
  • Lithium Processing (24 May) including Novel Lithium Processes Forum & Panel
  • In Situ Recovery (ISR) (24 May) including Enhancing ISR Permeability Forum & Panel


In-situ recovery (ISR) transfers hydrometallurgical processing of mineralised bodies to the subsurface to directly obtain solutions of commodities. As a result, there is little surface disturbance. For ISR to be successful, however, deposits need to be permeable. Furthermore, commodities need to be readily amenable to dissolution by leaching solutions over a reasonable period of time, with an acceptable consumption of leaching reagents.

ISR accounts for more than 50% of world uranium production. Other than uranium, the most common commodity extracted by ISR methods is copper. Copper is extracted by sulfuric acid. Several deposits were subject to ISR in Arizona. The Gumesevskoye deposit in the Urals and Morani deposit in Zambia are currently in operation by ISR, while the Florence ISR mine in Arizona is nearing production. Some deposits in South Australia (Moonta, Kapunda) are considered to have potential for ISR.

After copper, the next most popular commodities for ISR are gold and its by-product silver. These commodities are extracted by chlorine or sodium hypochlorite. The Gagarskoe and Dolgy Mys deposits in the Urals are currently in operation. Several projects in Russia are nearing production and some projects in Australia and the USA are currently being assessed for ISR potential.

ISR is also likely to be used for extraction of nickel and cobalt in the near future. Several field cluster tests have been completed on four nickel-cobalt deposits in the Urals and Eastern Kazakhstan. Sulphurous anhydrite and sulfuric acid were used as alternate reagents for leaching with pure metals produced. Kazakhstan will potentially be the first country to start a nickel and cobalt ISR mine. Manganese is also a commodity which can be mined by a similar lixiviant. Pregnant solutions with this metal were also obtained in field tests.

A successful push pull test for tungsten using a complex lixiviant with hydrochloric and ethanedioic acids was also recently completed in Kazakhstan.

Potential methods for ISR of base metals and PGE have also been recently developed. Zinc can be leached by a lixiviant with sulfuric acid and chloride of sodium, while lead can be leached by methanesulfonic acid. PGE can be leached by a complex lixiviant with ammonium thiocyanate and ferric chloride. Successful tests have also been completed for boric acid and lithium.

Scandium is extracted as by-product from pregnant uranium solutions at Dalur in Russia. Successful tests have also been completed which show potential for extraction of rhenium, molybdenum, selenium, vanadium, rare earth, yttrium as by-products of pregnant uranium solutions.

ISR could be both an interesting and plausible alternative mining method for many commodities, however deposits require specific characteristics and conditions for its successful application. Hydrogeological and hydrometallurgical test work should be completed very early during project evaluation to assess the potential to use ISR methods.


Dr Maxim Seredkin - Principal Resource Geologist

Dr Maxim Seredkin
Principal Resource Geologist

Dr Seredkin has more than 18 years’ experience in exploration, mining production and resource estimation. He has experience in a range of commodities and reporting codes (including JORC and NI43-101). Maxim is particularly sought after in industry and academia for his expertise in uranium, he has in-depth experience across a range of geological settings and deposit types. He has specialist skills in the application of in-situ recovery for uranium extraction based on 5 years of direct operational experience. In addition to uranium expertise, Maxim has experience in bauxite, rare earths and iron ore. Maxim has a strong scientific background, with research experience in ore genesis, petrology and the mineralisation of carbonatite, alkaline and ultramafic complexes, in hydrothermal-metasomatic gold and tungsten deposits.

Email us here to connect.

ALTA 2019

ALTA 2019

How can we help?

Contact us to discuss how we can help your organisation.