Heap Leach Facilities 101

Heap Leach Facilities 101

Design, Construction, Operations and Closure


Qualifies for CMS

Live Webcast Live Webcasts
  • Audience Level: Professional | New to Mining Tool Tip
  • Dates: Unscheduled Tool Tip
  • Early Bird: Tool Tip
  • Enrollment: Included Tool Tip
  • Registration Fee: Tool Tip
  • Location: Live Webcast Tool Tip
  • Duration: 3 sessions of 3 hours each
  • CEUs: 0.8 (8 PDHs) Tool Tip

Course Summary


Heap leaching is a hydrometallurgical process where solution is applied to dissolve minerals in ore, and the solution is processed to recover the minerals. Heap leaching has been practiced since the mid-sixteenth century when miners in Hungary began applying this technology to extract copper from low grade ores. The technology is successfully used to extract gold, silver, copper, nickel and uranium, among others.

Due to its low capital and operating costs, heap leaching has long been an attractive option for the recovery of base and precious metals from low grade ores. Ore grades have decreased significantly over the past several decades, and are continuing to decrease. With this trend in ore grades, heap leaching is increasingly becoming the preferred method for mineral extraction.

Course Objectives

Course participants will gain knowledge on the full life cycle of heap leaching from both a design/operations and environmental perspective. This course will meet your objectives if you are working within one of the following categories:

  • Entry- to mid-level geotechnical, civil, or process design engineers with little experience in heap leach facilities directly.
  • Mine site superintendents or field engineers overseeing heap leaching and/or processing operations.
  • Mining company technical personnel involved in site planning, development, and closure/reclamation.
  • Corporate development personnel overseeing mine due diligence studies.
  • Environmental managers responsible for permitting and regulatory compliance of mine sites planning to, or currently using, heap leaching operations.
  • Regulators overseeing environmental assessments and permitting/compliance of mine projects involving heap leaching.
  • Environmental professionals performing environmental assessments on mine projects involving heap leaching.
  • Anyone new to heap leaching who wants to know what it is all about.

Course Outcomes

Using case studies where appropriate, participants will learn about the full life cycle of heap leaching. Participants will be able to:

  • List the main design criteria, including environmental compliance criteria
  • Review primary metallurgical and geotechnical ore tests available that can be used to test whether an ore is amenable to heap leaching
  • Describe features used to characterize and potentially select a heap leach site
  • Identify appropriate heap leach operation types (e.g., vat leach, conventional, valley fill) based on metallurgical, geotechnical, and site characteristics
  • Define design considerations including geosynthetics/liners and solution collection systems
  • Understand the importance of water balance and water management to both the design and operations of heap leach facilities
  • At a high-level, discuss heap leach related aspects of:
    • Operational monitoring and management
    • Closure considerations and closure design

Pre-Course e-Learning

Prior to the course, registered delegates have access to the online e-learning material consisting of two introductory courses titled Heap Leach Pads and Heap Leach Design.

Certificate in Mining Studies

This course qualifies for one day of short course credit for the Certificate in Mining Studies (CMS), a continuing education program of accredited short courses, webcasts and online courses for lifelong learning in mining, supported by University of British Columbia, University of Arizona and University of Concepción. more details »

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Registered participants who attend the entire webcast and complete an evaluation at the end of the course will receive a Certificate of Attendance, confirming the Professional Development Hours (PDH)/Continuing Education Units (CEU) earned. Please confirm with your employer and/or professional association that this course qualifies for CPD.

Who Should Attend?

This live webcast is for those individuals who wish to gain a basic understanding of the design, construction, operational, and closure considerations for heap leach facilities (HLFs). This includes recent graduates and entry level design professionals that need to know about heap leaching technology, entry to mid-level geotechnical, civil, or process design engineers with little experience in heap leaching, mine operators, due diligence and environmental professionals who want to gain a full lifecycle view of these facilities, regulators, and anyone interested in the subject.

Kimberly Morrison, P.E., R.G.

Ms. Morrison is the President of Morrison Solutions Inc. She has 20 years of consulting experience on a variety of geotechnical, civil, environmental and construction projects, specializing in the geotechnical and environmental design of mine waste facilities for clients worldwide.

Ms. Morrison is highly experienced in the design of heap leach facilities and tailings storage facilities. She has developed or reviewed the designs of more than 20 heap leach facilities (HLFs) totaling more than 300 million square feet of liner on 5 continents and more than 20 tailings storage facilities (TSFs) totaling more than 2.8 billion tons of combined storage capacity on 6 continents. She has authored or co-authored more than 25 technical papers, with a focus on mining geotechnics.

Ms. Morrison is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah and Minnesota, and a Registered Geologist in Missouri. She has a B.S. in Geological Engineering from the Missouri University of Science & Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), and a M.S. in Civil Engineering (Geosystems) from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is on the Board of Directors of the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), and is currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer of the organization as well as the Chair of the Tailings Engineer of Record Task Force.

Provisional Schedule

This webcast is scheduled to be held from 8:00am to 11:00am PST/Vancouver, Canada time.

Check the exact time and date in your city.

This webcast is divided into three sessions with following topics:

Session 1 - Heap Leach Facilities – An Overview
8:00am to 11:00am Pacific Standard Time

  • Introduction – what is heap leaching?
  • Heap leaching – a history lesson
  • Types of leach pads
  • Site selection studies
  • Design criteria requirements
  • Environmental compliance and introduction to regulations and standards
Session 2 - Design and Construction of Heap Leach Facilities
8:00am to 11:00am Pacific Standard Time

  • Ore geotechnical and metallurgical testing
  • Operational water balance
  • Liner systems – geotechnical testing, liner system design and installation (including electrical leak detection)
  • Solution collection systems – design and installation, external vs. internal systems
  • Other construction considerations
Session 3 - Operations Management and Closure Planning of Heap Leach Facilities
8:00am to 11:00am Pacific Standard Time

  • Operational considerations:
    • Ore preparation and placement, including agglomeration
    • Solution application and recovery including preferential flow
    • Inter-lift liners or drains
    • Operational monitoring and performance audits
  • Heap leach facility closure considerations – draindown, closure water balance, closure drains, landform grading and closure covers

How to Register

To register yourself, click the ‘Register Now’ button and complete the online registration form.

To register on behalf of someone else, or to register groups of 3 or more, please contact us; discounts may apply.

Questions? Please contact Edumine: +1 604 683 2037 or [email protected] and we will get back to you during regular business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm Pacific Time.

Registration Deadline

Online registration ends 15 minutes prior to the webcast; however phone registration can be accepted up to the start of the webcast. Please call +1 604 683 2037 ext. 259 for last-minute reservations. Webcasts fill up quickly. Early booking is advised!


The fee covers the lecture, access to electronic course notes, Pre-Course e-Learning and a certificate of attendance.

Early Bird: there is a 10% discount if you register at least 30 days prior to the course start date. A 10% discount is offered for groups of 5 or more OR if you provide your Annual Edumine subscription User ID at time of registration. The maximum discount that can be applied is 20%.

This webcast is designed for both individual and group participation and would make an excellent company-sponsored in-house training event. If you have a group of twenty or more who would like to attend this course from one location, please contact us at +1 604 683 2037 for special pricing.

How Webcasts Work

It's easy and our webcast saves on fees, travel and time! You will be able to ask questions and have live discussions during the webcast just as if you were there in person. At the time of the webcast, you connect to the internet, call in to a toll/toll-free number to hear and talk through the telephone or simply listen and speak over your headset/PC speakers using Voice over IP (VoIP). You see the presentation as well as the instructor on your computer screen.

System Requirements

To attend this webcast, you will need a computer with a high-speed internet connection (DSL or cable). You will also need a phone line or integrated microphone in your PC or a headset. For your comfort, it is recommended that you use a speaker phone or headset to connect to the webcast. Our system will support both PC and Apple computers using Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Accessing the Webcast

One day prior to the webcast, you will be emailed a link for the webcast. About 15 minutes before the scheduled starting time, simply go to the website provided in the email. You should be able to simply click on the link in the email; however, some email programs may require that you copy the address and paste it into your browser's address bar. You will be asked to enter your name and email address, and you will need to enter the password that was sent to you in the email. Once you have logged in, a screen will pop up with the Voice over IP option or a toll/toll-free telephone number to call. Of course, our team is available to help if you have any questions about accessing the webcast: +1 604 683 2037 ext. 259.

Terms and Conditions

By submitting the webcast registration form, you agree to pay the associated fees in full before the course start date.


Notice of cancellation must be given in writing by letter, fax or email and action will be taken to recover, from the delegates or their employers, that portion of the fee owing at the time of cancellation.

If a delegate submits written notice of cancellation 10 or more business days prior to the first day of the webcast, Edumine will refund the cost of the webcast.

If a delegate submits written notice of cancellation prior to the webcast but within 9 business days of the first day of the webcast, Edumine will refund the delegate's payment less a 10% administration fee.

If a delegate submits written notice of cancellation after the webcast has started, or misses all or a portion of the webcast without notice, no refund will be granted.

Edumine reserves the right to cancel an advertised course on short notice. It will endeavour to provide participants with as much notice as possible, but will not accept liability for costs incurred by participants or their organisations as a result of the course being cancelled or postponed. If a course is cancelled, fees will be refunded in full. Edumine also reserves the right to postpone or make such alterations to the content of a course as may be necessary.

Upcoming Dates

Contact us for upcoming dates for this course