In Situ Mining - An Aquifer Contamination Threat

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on March 27th, 2015 5:22am

Our February 16, 2015 Bulletin – An Alternative to Open Pit Mining, described the process called “in situ” mining”, meaning “in place”.  The metal is extracted by injecting sulphuric acid into formations more than 400 feet underground, where it strips the fractured rock of its metal. The mix of acid and minerals is pumped back to the surface for processing.

We asked a Kamloops mining engineer if this process is suitable to extract copper from the Ajax site. He says, “ As far as I know, there is no operating in-situ copper mine at the moment.  The technique is used for uranium mining due in part to different chemistry and the unique features of uranium deposits. Taseko Mines have a property in Florence, Arizona, which they have been battling for permits for years on getting a "test" in-situ copper mine built.  You need an oxide deposit that is bounded by aquatards to recover the copper without causing an impact on any downstream aquifers.  Ajax would not be a candidate.”

For an interesting article on the mine controversy in Florence, see  “Safety of acid injection mining technique debated ”, at


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