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PIMCU Begins Industrial Processing Off-Balance Spoil Heaps
Over 48 years of the company’s activities around 7 mln. tons of ore mass with extremely low uranium content have been accumulated on our industrial site. Earlier, this kind of ore was considered off-grade and was accumulated in spoil heaps. In 2013 the Central R&D Laboratory (CR&DL) at PIMCU developed a technology of processing off-balance and poor balance ores, allowing to extract uranium from these raw materials. Experimental production carried out over a period of three years have proven the commercial viability and ecological sustainability of the project.
Industrial processing of off-balance and poor balance spoil heaps became possible after acquisition and launch of the KLEEMANN Mobile Sorting Unit. Annually the unit will process up to 375,000 tons of off-balance spoil heaps.
“The equipment divides the ore mass into merchantable ore and waste rock. Then the heap leaching method is used to extract uranium from the ore. The waste rock that remains after the sorting will be crushed into gravel, which then will be used for the technological needs of the enterprise,” said Alexander Morozov, head of the CR&DL.
From 50 to 63 tons of uranium will be produced annually from the off-balance spoil heaps by the heap leaching method. The beneficial effect of the environment will be more significant as spoil heaps around Krasnokamensk will gradually disappear.