Program highlights

Over 50 high quality papers submitted for this conference discussed all aspects of heap leaching and showcased exciting new research and potentially profitable applications.

The overall program was developed around the theme of the project life cycle, starting with ore and site characterization. Focused panel discussions and technical presentations were held on project development and operation of heap leach projects for various metals in different climates. The closure of gold and copper heap leach projects were also discussed.

Final Program




The conference program included the following three excellent keynote presentations. They focussed on the project development, economics and technical aspects of heap leach project design, development and operations.

Keynote 1: Managing Expectations for Heap Leaching Operations

John Marsden, Metallurgium

John Marsden has over thirty years of broad international experience in the development and management of major, innovative copper, gold, silver, molybdenum & cobalt operations and projects in the USA, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and the Congo (DRC). Marsden is currently president of Metallurgium, established in 2009 to provide consulting services to the mining industry worldwide.

Prior to that he held various operations and technical management positions during eighteen years with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (formerly Phelps Dodge), most recently serving as president of Freeport-McMoRan Mining Company. He also spent nine years with Consolidated Gold Fields plc in the USA and South Africa.

He is a director of Romarco Minerals Inc. and serves on a number of industry and university advisory boards. He has published thirty four technical papers, holds fifteen U.S. patents and is the author of “The Chemistry of Gold Extraction”, now in its second edition. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a distinguished member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), a fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and a registered professional engineer (Nevada). He is the recipient of the AIME Robert H. Richards Award, and the Milton E. Wadsworth and Arthur F. Taggart Awards of SME.

Keynote 2: Designing and Building Heap Leach Projects

Henry Schnell, HA SCHNELL Consulting Inc.

Henry Schnell has over 40 years of experience in management, plant operations, plant design, engineering, and research and development in mining and ore treatment that includes several gold projects, the Quebrada Blanca Bio-leach copper operation in Chile, and extensive experience, specializing in uranium metallurgy, operations, and mining projects.

He recently retired from the position of Technical Authority (Senior Expert) in the Expertise & Technical Department, Mining Business Unit, with AREVA NC Inc., In his role as Technical Authority for uranium and gold, he was responsible for review and support of existing operations and new projects worldwide, and for final technical authorization of plant design and modifications. This included advancing uranium heap leach technology in recent projects in Niger (Somair and Imouraren) and Namibia (Trekkopje) and a variety of other international heap leach operations and projects.

Keynote 3: New Developments in Leaching Ores and Concentrates

David Dreisinger, University of British Columbia, Department of Materials Engineering

The demand for metals continues to rise with the expansion of the worldwide economy. As demand rises, metallurgists must innovate and find new ways to treat complex and/or lower grade materials for maximum economic benefit. New developments in ore and concentrate leaching tend to advance by opportunity and necessity. New technologies for leaching include heap and stockpile leaching, atmospheric leaching, pressure leaching and chemical and biological leaching. In this paper, some recent developments in ore and concentrate leaching will be reviewed with an eye to future advances.

David Dreisinger holds the position of Professor and Chairholder of the Industrial Research Chair in Hydrometallurgy at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Dr. Dreisinger received B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in metallurgical engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston before beginning his career at UBC in 1984.

At UBC, Dr. Dreisinger supervises a wide ranging program of hydrometallurgy research and development in pressure leaching of ores and concentrates, solution purification, environmental treatment and use of electrochemical methods for metal recovery. Dr. Dreisinger has published extensively and has received (with co-workers) 14 U.S. patents for work in areas such as pressure leaching, ion exchange removal of impurities from process solutions and use of thiosulfate as an alternative to cyanide in gold leaching. He is a co-inventor of the Mt. Gordon Copper Process and the Sepon Copper Process, both of which have achieved sustained commercial production of copper.

Dr. Dreisinger has received a number of awards including the Sherritt Hydrometallurgy Award (1993), the Metal Chemistry Award from CMSC (2001), the Extraction and Processing Division Science Award from the TMS (2005) and the INCO Medal (2008). He has been named a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (FCIM) and is also a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE). Dr. Dreisinger has been actively organizing conferences and teaching short courses around the globe through the Industrial Research Chair in Hydrometallurgy. The Chair is supported by 18 International Companies.

Dr. Dreisinger provides consulting services to the global metallurgical industry. He serves as a Director or Officer of PolyMet Mining, Search Minerals, South American Silver Corporation, Baja Mining and Clifton Star Resources.