Leach Way Forward

The Leach Way Forward (LWF) team is finding ways to extract new ounces of gold from old areas of the Round Mountain heaps.

The large heaps at Round Mountain currently contain nearly one billion short tons of partially leached low grade ore. The cost of drilling, blasting, mining, and hauling had already been absorbed in past years. The LWF team was established to find and leach these ore tons that have seen little or no process solution over the past 15 years.

The LWF team has picked up where the West Dedicated Pad optimization team left off.  The infrastructure is now in place to allow for leaching of areas previously not possible due to solution containment issues. In addition, an alternate access to the pad has now allowed leaching of a long time ramp.

Early efforts at providing solution to the pad left large areas that were not leached in the past called “stair-step risers”. As possible, these are being removed, then sloped, and ripped to allow for leaching. Another effort is to find and put under leach “nooks and crannies” that have not been leached over the years.

The LWF team is made up of members from Processing, Metallurgy, Mine Planning, Survey, Maintenance, CI and Mine departments. The team has developed a plan for 2014 that includes recovering an additional 15,000 ounces of gold this year. Early results of the LWF team in 2014 are encouraging, however overall success of this effort is still pending. 

A before photo of the stair-step risers at Round Mountain. 

An after photo of the stair-step risers at Round Mountain.

Former West Dedicated Pad ramp now under leach at Round Mountain.