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ArticleName Innovative technologies in the reanimation of previously used mines on the example of Gumeshevskoe copper clay deposit
ArticleAuthor Altushkin I. A., Levin V. V., Korol Yu. A., Sitnikova T. I.

“Russian Copper Company” JSC, Ekaterinburg, Russia

I. A. Altushkin, Head of a Board of Directors
V. V. Levin, President
Yu. A. Korol, Vice-President, phone: 8(343)365-29-00

“Uralgidromed” JSC, Ekaterinburg, Russia

T. I. Sitnikova, Chief Executive Officer


Gumeshevskoe deposit of oxidized copper ores is situated on the territory of Polevskoy urban district of Sverdlovsk region. The deposit was discovered in 1702 by Vasily Babin, a peasant from Aramilskaya suburb. For 300 years of existence, the mine, which was built on this deposit, has been suspended several times, because of technical, economic and political reasons. During the latest operational period of the deposit (from 1958 to 1994), there has been held the underground mining of sulphide ores. During this period, about 8 million tons of ore have been extracted. In the connection with the general political crisis in 1994, the operation was stopped, and the shafts were flooded. As of January 01, 2002, the amount of sulphide ore, left in the subsoils, was 15.3 million tons with the containing of copper by 215.9 thousand tons. In addition, in 1990, according to the data of “Uraltsvtetmetrazvedka” trust, there was held the generalizing of information of copper clay reserves at Gumeshevskoe deposit. The calculation established the amount of 16,6 million tons of oxidized ores of categories С1 and С2 with the amount of 194.5 thousand tons of copper. The resources of category Р1 assume an implication of 136.7 thousand tons of copper in ore at the level of 1.02%. On the basis of these reserves in 2000–2003, there have been held various technical and economic assessments and estimates. These attachments showed that at the current development level of equipment and technology, the open cast and underground mining of sulphide and oxidized copper ores of Gumeshevskoe deposit are not profitable. In 2004, Russian Copper Company got involved in the problem of resumption of copper ore extraction at one of the oldest mines in Ural. On the basis of experience of previous researches and projects, it was decided to use the innovative solutions for the restoration of Gumeshevskoe deposit. Considering the presented options, Russian Copper Company decided to use the innovation technology of underground copper leaching from oxidized copper ores, with the following copper extraction from product solutions, reextraction and electrowinning of copper from a concentrated electrolyte. It was expected to obtain the cathode copper, which should satisfy the international quality standards as the finished product. The choice of this innovative option for the deposit rehabilitation was implied with the substantial technological, administrative and economic risks. These risks questioned the possibility of organization and economic expediency of underground leaching of oxidized copper ores. Russian Copper Company use modern innovative technologies and organization plans, in order to neutralization, decreasing or fully preventing of indicated risks. At this conjuncture, the owner of Russian Copper Company introduced the innovation method not only in the range of application and usage of modern equipment and technology, but also in the range of the financing schemes for all works, within the project implementation. In the capacity of this method, there was used the venture capital financing with giving the responsibility of all potential risks to investor. The innovations of technology, management and financing of the rehabilitation project for Gumeshevskoe copper clay deposit were realized by “Uralgidromed” JSC: the unique Russian enterprise, which develops the indicated deposit by underground leaching method. The usage of innovative processes in mining and metallurgical complex both in the application of modern technologies and equipment, and in the range of the production management and project financing, allows to get economic efficiency and high profit, in the projects of environmental character, which are aimed at reasonable and careful usage of natural resources.

keywords Copper, underground leaching, extraction, re-extraction, electrowinning, innovations, venture capital financing, cathode copper

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