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Author (up) Haque, N.; Norgate, T. url  openurl
  Title The greenhouse gas footprint of in-situ leaching of uranium, gold and copper in Australia Type Journal Article
  Year 2014 Publication Journal of Cleaner Production Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume 84 Issue Pages 382-390  
  Keywords Copper, GHG emission, Gold, In-situ leaching, LCA, Uranium  
  Abstract In-situ leaching (ISL) is a chemical method for recovering useful minerals and metals directly from underground ore bodies which is also referred to as ‘solution mining’. ISL is commonly used for uranium mining, accounting for about 45% of global production. The main benefits are claimed to be a lower environmental impact in terms of visual disturbances, emissions, lower energy use, cost compared with conventional open-cut or underground mining methods, and potential utilisation of lower grade resources. However, there is a lack of reported studies on the assessment of the environmental impacts of ISL, particularly greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The SimaPro LCA software was used to estimate the GHG footprint of the ISL of uranium, gold and copper. The total GHG emissions were estimated to be 38.0 kg CO2-e/kg U3O8 concentrate (yellowcake), 29 t CO2-e/kg gold, and 4.78 kg CO2-e/kg Cu. The GHG footprint of ISL uranium was significantly lower than that of conventional mining, however, the footprints of copper and gold were not much less compared with conventional mining methods. This is due to the lower ore grade of ISL deposits and recovery compared with high ore grades and recovery of conventional technology. Additionally, the use of large amount of electricity for pumping in case of ISL contributes to this result. The electricity consumed in pumping leaching solutions was by far the greatest contributor to the well-field related activities associated with ISL of uranium, gold and copper. The main strategy to reduce the GHG footprint of ISL mining should be to use electricity derived from low emission sources. In particular, renewable sources such as solar would be suitable for ISL as these operations are typically in remote locations with smaller deposits compared with conventional mining sites.  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 0959-6526 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number THL @ christoph.kuells @ haque_greenhouse_2014 Serial 208  
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