Cauldron is employing in-situ recovery or ISR mining method at the Bennet Well Uranium Deposit. ISR is injected-solution mining that reverses the natural process that deposited the uranium in the sandstones. On-site ground water is being fortified with gaseous oxygen and introduced to the uranium ore body through a pattern of injection wells. The solution dissolves the uranium from the sandstone host. Many sandstone deposits are amenable to uranium extraction by ISR mining, which is now a well established mining technology.
The uranium-bearing solution is brought back to surface through production wells where the uranium is concentrated on resin beads for further processing which involves concentration and dring into yellowcake (U3O8). This pattern of injection and recovery wells, plus surrounding monitor wells that serve as a safeguard, is called a wellfield.
The method has been used to extract uranium in a number of countries overseas since the 1970’s and has been approved for use at two locations in South Australia, namely the Beverley Uranium Mine, which commenced operation in 2000, and the Honeymoon deposit.
Banner image – Wellfield at Beverley in-situ recovery uranium mine, South Australia