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Leaching is a process whereby metallic compounds are dissolved by chemicals. Leaching is a common method of treating ore mined from low grade deposits, particularly copper or gold ores. For these type of ores, material from the mine is stacked in ‘heaps’ on surface and a chemical solution is then dripped onto the heaps The chemical leaches the valuable metals as its percolates through the material and the pregnant solution is collected in drains at the bottom. From there the solution is pumped to a plant (in the case of copper, an SX-EW plant) for further processing to recover metals by precipitation.

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