Heap leaching is a processing and extraction technology that has become increasingly popular over recent years due to the cost advantages and environmental benefits it offers to miners.
Using data compiled by MiningIntelligence, MINING.COM takes a look at mining operations that are currently applying this technology, formulating a global ranking of countries with the most heap leach operations.
Russia takes the top spot in this regard, with a total of 45 producing heap leach operations. The U.S. ranks in second place (41), followed by Chile (35).
Rounding out the top 10 list are: Mexico (28), China (16), Peru (14), Kazakhstan (13), Zambia (10) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (9). Australia, Indonesia and Zimbabwe share the tenth spot with six heap leach operations each.
In most places, heap leach operations are predominantly gold or gold-silver, with the exception of Chile, where most of its mines are copper-focused.
Worldwide heap leach operations. Image courtesy of Polyus
Click on the table for free Excel downloads from the Miningintelligence database of over 37,000 projects, 16,000 companies and 2 million source documents.