A Methodology For Design And Operation Of Heap Leaching Systems

Isis F. Hernández, Javier I. Ordóñez, Pedro A. Robles, Edelmira D. Gálvez, Luis A. Cisternas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Leaching is a hydrometallurgical activity widely used in mineral processing, both for metallic and non-metallic ores, and in soil remediation. The dissolution of valuable species by heap leaching is strongly dependent on the design and operating variables, so the study of the influence of these variables on recovery and their optimization for the best performance are attractive tasks for the development of the mining industry. In this work, a methodology is developed that enables the planning and design of leaching systems. This methodology uses a proposed superstructure and a mathematical model to analyze the system behavior and determine the optimal design and operating conditions. The model was generated with a Mixed Integer Nonlinear Programming (MINLP) approach and solved by different solvers under GAMS® software (General Algebraic Modelling System). The Spatial Branch-and-Bound (SBB) solver obtained the global optimum in the shortest times. Based on a case of study for copper leaching, it is demonstrated that the procedure allows achieving optimal design and operational conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-192
Number of pages13
JournalMineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 4 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Copper
  • design
  • heap leaching
  • optimization
  • planning


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