In-Situ Recovery (ISR) is a proven method of metal recovery that has been used for over 50 years, but recent technological improvements in the ISR process and the use of biodegradable lixiviants (solutions) are broadening the potential application of this method to the recovery of other metals like gold and copper.
For the last 5 years EnviroCopper have been researching the possibility of reopening the Kapunda Mine to extract the remaining 117,000 tonnes via this novel, low impact, environmentally friendly mining method, with investor and Commonwealth Govt funding. The key focus of the research was to see how the copper can be extracted within environmental constraints and involved the University of Adelaide and CSIRO.
The method involves installing a series of water bores, drilled into the ore body to approx.100metres which inject and extract solutions to rinse the copper from the rock. The bores will be placed in relation to hydrogeology, in line with mine access and Safework SA requirements.
Any mining activity in South Australia is highly regulated and will require permitting from the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM), Department of Environment and Water (DEW) and EPA.
Potential timing progress for the project will be for EnviroCopper to undertake a Mining Lease Application to 2023, then DEM approval for the mine to go into production by approximately 2024, all very dependent on Council and Community consultation.
What this means for Kapunda is potentially an injection of $12M per annum into the Light regional economy. EnviroCopper and Kapunda are leading the way in environmentally friendly Copper ISR development, not only here in Australia but worldwide.
Please see our website for further information and research outputs or a call into our office at 65 Main Street, Kapunda.