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Heap Leach Engineering

Reducing risks; increasing production; reducing closure liabilities through innovative capital design
Our approach to heap leach engineering follows the traditional custom of initially defining project criteria, and then focusing on the most efficient manner to develop conceptual and ultimately detailed engineering design drawings, specifications and quality assurance programs that meet the project criteria. Project criteria typically include:
  • Regulatory criteria including prescriptive requirements for protection of site environmental resources such as surface water, ground water, air quality, flora, fauna and soils
  • Corporate criteria including risk management, health, safety, environmental and community criteria, operational scheduling deadlines, and cash flow constraints
  • Engineering design criteria from conceptual through detailed design based on state-of-the-art engineering practices incorporating all relevant regulatory and corporate criteria for all phases of the heap leach life cycle, including construction, operational, decommissioning and closure phases
  • Stakeholder criteria including NGO’s, local population, etc. desires for stabilization, post-mining land uses

Experience in both base and precious metal leaching projects has shown that the successful accomplishment of our design mission requires both a sound understanding of regulatory and permitting issues, and proficiency in a wide range of technical disciplines including but not limited to civil and geotechnical engineering, hydrology and hydrogeology, regulatory permitting, metallurgical engineering and geochemistry.

In striving to maximise leached product recovery, we have developed and implemented innovative solutions including utilisation of artificially created negative pore pressures in heap ore to optimise leachate flowpath and product metallurgical recovery. In addition, and based on our experience with heap and process pond closure design and implementation, we have developed an approach to closure design that focuses on appropriately reducing (if not eliminating) post-closure effluent flows and associated water management risks and treatment costs.


  • Site selection
  • Geotechnical investigation
  • Conceptual through final level design and studies
  • Detailed engineering
  • Construction quality assurance
  • Operational monitoring and management
  • Permitting and regulatory compliance
  • Decommissioning, closure and reclamation
  • Risk and hazard assessment

Contacts for this service

SRK North America