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Economic benefit gained by implementing project for ore-sorting of non-commercial dumps at JSC PIMCU Central Research and Development Laboratory may amount to as much as 100 mln roubles
“For 45 years, ore with a low metal content has been deemed substandard and it has been stockpiled into spoil heaps. During that time, about 7 million tons of rock bulk was accumulated on our industrial site. Now there is a technology that enables us to extract from this raw material saleable ore with a very law prime cost; and we obtain additional end products from such ore by the heap leaching method,” explains Alexander Morozov, Head of the JSC PIMCU Central R&D Laboratory.
The project for ore-sorting of non-commercial dumps was launched in August 2013, when an ore-sorting complex was installed, including a mobile screening plant and an X-Ray magnetic separator. This equipment separates rock bulk into saleable ore and mining waste. Commissioning operations and works to fine-tune the technology were carried out throughout the year. “Ore-sorting allowed us to obtain more than 50,000 tons of saleable ore, from which 10 tons of uranium was eventually extracted. Economic benefit, gained at the commissioning stage alone, amounted to 18 million roubles. Prime cost per kilogram of metal in saleable ore turned out to be less than half as high as that in crude ore mined,” says Alexander Morozov.
Sound economic performance makes it possible to launch the project on a commercial scale. It was decided to purchase the second ore-sorting complex. Once it is put into operation, production volume will increase up to 300,000 tons of saleable rock bulk per annum. The new complex will be of a self-propelled type, and therefore transport costs will be reduced.
Mining waste, remaining of spoil heaps, is also planned to be used. Mining waste can be either recrushed for obtainment of crushed stone to be laid down on service roads or used in backfilling. Along with achievement of the production task – i.e. obtainment of additional metal volumes, the project also helps solve the environmental problem – i.e. reclamation of spoil heaps of substandard ore.