Technological advances benefit Russian ISL operations

04 April 2022

Digital technology is being used to extend the operating life of the Dalmatovskoye uranium deposit in Russia's Kurgan Region by three to five years, JSC Dalur has announced. Meanwhile, a new method for managing groundwater is increasing production at ARMZ's Khiagda operations.

ARMZ will use the technology in its ISL operationds (Image: ARMZ)

Dalur - a subsidiary of Atomredmetzoloto Uranium Holding (ARMZ), the mining division of Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom - has been using digital technology to manage in-situ leaching (ISL) mining of uranium since 2021, the company said. The project is being implemented in collaboration with the Seversk Technological Institute of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (STI) as part of the Rosatom's digital strategy.

Geotechnological digital simulations of promising areas at mining sites at Dalmatovskoye were carried out by researchers from STI. This has enabled the identification and evaluation of additional areas of uranium localisastion, Dalur Director General Dinis Ezhurov said. "Based on the data obtained, we have developed an action plan to improve mining efficiency. The implementation of this plan will allow extending the mining period of the Dalmatovskoye deposit by 3 to 5 years," he added.

The digital tools, known as Smart ISL Site, can be used to analyse and assess the mining and geological situation in developed deposit areas, simulate mining options, and aid decision-making for deposit development, geological simulation and planning. All technological processes are controlled from the main control room, where the operator can monitor all the processes occurring at the processing plant and at the ISL site. "We can see the site structures, that is, wells and hookup; we see the volume of the drilling fluid supplied downhole and brought to the surface," Kamol Kadyrov, Dalur's first deputy director general and production director, said. "This means that we can now control the method at a depth of 500 metres and, if necessary, simulate the processes occurring in the ore body."

Smart ISL Site is also employed at the Khokhlovskoye deposit in the Shumikha district, where it is used to support forecasting and the timely implementation of repair and restoration work, thus reducing maintenance costs. Geotechnological data makes it possible to calculate and maintain the optimal mining modes of production blocks, ensuring environmental safety and also economic efficiency of operations, the company said.

Dalur is responsible for three uranium deposits in the Trans-Ural Kurgan region: Dalmatovskoye, Khokhlovskoye, and Dobrovolnoye, which is currently under construction. Dalur plans to use similar digital tools at the Dobrovolnoye deposit, it said.

Groundwater patent

ARMZ's engineering centre, JSC VNIPIpromtekhnologii, today said it has received a patent for a new way to manage groundwater resources, which has been developed for uranium deposits in the Khiagda ore field.

Groundwater resources management technology solves a key problem encountered in at Khiagda where hydrogeological conditions have previously made uranium mining of some deposits impossible, was previously impossible, VNIPIpromtekhnologii's head of scientific and innovative activities Andrey Kasatkin said. "We have developed a technology for redistributing water volumes from already mined high-watered areas of ore deposits to low-watered ones. The technology makes it possible to achieve design productivity, carry out recycling of solutions and reclaim waste areas. At the same time, the impact on the environment is significantly reduced," he said.

The rights for the technology have been transferred to JSC Khiagda, the ARMZ subsidiary responsible for ISL operations in the Republic of Buryatia.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News