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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 18, Number 6, August30 2019, pages 585-594
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12989/gae.2019.18.6.585
 


Enhancement of fluid flow performance through deep fractured rocks in an in-situ leaching potential mine site using discrete fracture network (DFN)
Wen-li Yao, Sharifzadeh Mostafa, Ericson Ericson, Zhen Yang, Guang Xu and Chris Aldrich

 
Abstract
    In-situ leaching could be one of the promising mining methods to extract the minerals from deep fractured rock mass. Constrained by the low permeability at depth, however, the performance does not meet the expectation. In fact, the rock mass permeability mainly depends on the pre-existing natural fractures and therefore play a crucial role in in-situ leaching performance. More importantly, fractures have various characteristics, such as aperture, persistence, and density, which have diverse contributions to the promising method. Hence, it is necessary to study the variation of fluid rate versus fracture parameters to enhance in-situ leaching performance. Firstly, the subsurface fractures from the depth of 1500m to 2500m were mapped using the discrete fracture network (DFN) in this paper, and then the numerical model was calibrated at a particular case. On this basis, the fluid flow through fractured rock mass with various fracture characteristics was analyzed. The simulation results showed that with the increase of Fisher\' K value, which determine the fracture orientation, the flow rate firstly decreased and then increased. Subsequently, as another critical factor affecting the fluid flow in natural fractures, the fracture transmissivity has a direct relationship with the flow rate. Sensitive study shows that natural fracture characteristics play a critical role in in-situ leaching performance.
 
Key Words
    in-situ leaching; rock mass permeability; natural fracture; DFN; fracture characteristics
 
Address
Wen-li Yao and Zhen Yang: Key Laboratory of Deep Coal Resource Mining, Ministry of Education, School of Mines, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, 221116, China

Sharifzadeh Mostafa and Chris Aldrich: Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Western Australian School Mines, Curtin University, Kalgoorlie, 6430, Australia

Ericson Ericson: Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering,
Western Australian School Mines, Curtin University, Kalgoorlie, 6430, Australia

Guang Xu : Department of Mining Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO. 65409, U.S.A.
 

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