Heap Leach Design

Heap Leach Design

Areas of Study: Mining

Qualifies for CMS

Qualifies for Certification

This course on heap leach design describes the broader concepts about the design, construction, operation and closure of heap leach pads for metal recovery from low-grade ores.

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  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 14 hours

Course Summary


This is a course for professionals about the design, construction, operation and closure of heap leach pads for metal recovery from low-grade ores.

Heap leaching is a hydrometallurgical process in which an aqueous solution is used to dissolve minerals to obtain an acceptable concentration in solution, and the solution processed to recover the minerals.

The heap leaching process entails the breaking (crushing) of ore, placing the crushed ore into lifts, application and collection of a leaching solution, and then processing the solution to recover the metals.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of heap leach design, including ...

  • Design Criteria and Metallurgical Testing
  • Design Considerations
  • Site Characterization
  • Geosynthetics, Liners and Hydrology
  • Solution Collection and Heap Leach Pads
  • Costing, Reporting and Closure


The course comprises 16 viewing sessions, each of 30–60 minutes duration, plus supporting figures, tables and references, appendices and interactive reviews that confirm your achievement of the learning objectives. The total duration of the course is approximately 14 hours.

Learning Outcomes

  • Establish the geotechnical, hydrogeological and metallurgical design criteria for a heap leach project.
  • Perform a site characterization and design for a heap leach project.
  • Oversee the permitting, construction, operation and closure of a heap leach project.

Recommended Background

  • A degree in mining engineering, metallurgy or related discipline.
  • Experience and understanding of mining operations.
  • Experience and understanding of leaching processes and mineral extraction.

Terry Mandziak

Terry Mandziak has more than 20 years of diversified professional experience in project management, coordination and project design mainly associated with geotechnical engineering for mining projects. His experience includes the design and construction of heap leach and tailings facilities. His responsibilities typically include site selection, risk assessment, site investigation, laboratory analysis, slope stability assessment, data interpretation, costing analysis, and development of specifications, construction drawings, bid documents and construction programs. His project experience has included conceptual through final design engineering, preparation of construction documents, subcontractor selection, and construction management and supervision. He has also managed multi-disciplinary engineering teams on international mining projects.

Dirk Van Zyl

Dirk Van Zyl is Professor and Chair of Mining and the Environment at the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. Dirk has more than 35 years experience in research, teaching and consulting in tailings and mine waste rock disposal and heap leach design. During the last decade much of his attention has been focused on mining and sustainable development and mine life cycle management.

Dirk has consulted internationally on many mining projects. These projects covered the whole mining life cycle, from exploration to closure and post-closure, in a large range of climatic and geographic environments. Most of this work has been focused on geotechnical and environmental mining engineering aspects to provide solutions for environmental and human health protection.

Dirk has more than 100 publications to his credit; these include papers and book chapters. He has also presented numerous short courses on heap leach design, mining environmental management and mine closure in the US and abroad. He is the recipient of the three awards from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME). These are the Robert Peele Award (1985) and Distinguished Service Award (1992) from the Mining and Exploration Division, and a President's Citation (1998). Dirk became a Distinguished Member of SME in 2003. He received the Bureau of Land Management Sustainable Development award in 2005 and the Adrian Smith International Environmental Mining Award in 2006.

Dirk received a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering in 1972 and a B.Sc. (Honors) Civil Engineering in 1974, both from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He also received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geotechnical Engineering from Purdue University in 1976 and 1979, respectively. In 1998 he completed an Executive MBA at the University of Colorado. He is a registered professional engineer in 3 States in the US.