The heap-leaching process is widely used for recovering different metals. In Chile, copper production by heap leaching has been accounting for between 30 and 40 percent of annual copper production over the last 10 years. This level of production has been achieved through and supported by the use of a mathematical relation known as the leaching ratio (LR), which correlates operational parameters with metal extraction in a heap-leaching operation. In spite of the widespread industrial use of this relation, few scientific studies mention it. This disparity between industrial practice and scientific research could lead to operational decisions that lack substantial theoretical support and to scientific studies with limited industrial impact. This study describes the LR and its current uses and limitations.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) 37:1329–1337, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00243-4