In Situ Recovery technology (ISR) is a proven method of extracting uranium from sandstone-type uranium deposits that cannot be mined using the conventional open cast or underground mining techniques.
ISR is now the method the most frequently used to mine uranium. It is also used to extract other metals, especially copper.
of uranium ores worldwide are mined using ISR technology
share of ISR mining in the Uranium Mining production since 2000
The In Situ Recovery (ISR) method can be used to mine low-grade uranium deposits when geological conditions are suitable.
A small portion of non-potable groundwater is extracted to which around 2% of sulfuric acid is added. The acidified water is equivalent to 1.5pH.
The acidified water is injected into wells to reach the aquifer hosting the uranium deposit only. The acidified water dissolves the uranium and moves it towards the production well. The solution carrying the uranium is then pumped towards the surface for processing. Uranium is then extracted from the solution to produce natural saleable uranium concentrate.
With ISR, the target metal is recovered from the deposit without excavating the host rock.
ISR has become a popular method because it has economical, technical and environmental advantages over conventional open cast or underground mining:
The ISR method can be used to extract low-grade uranium deposits when geological conditions are suitable.
The major environmental issue associated with ISR is the protection of groundwater. The following groundwater protection principles apply: