Practitioners in the field of hydrometallurgy need computational models that
help to plan, optimize and troubleshoot the operation. Most of these models are
mass balance based and can be simply formulated in a spreadsheet application.
However, more detailed models that deal with such processes as heap or dump
leaching require solution of numerous coupled partial differential equations.
Two particular issues arise with the practical use of these models. First, there
are typically many input parameters. Secondly, these models are required to deliver simulation results in less than a minute on a typical desktop PC.
Fortran has a long history of being used in engineering applications. There
exists a large collection of libraries for various purposes. Although they are
commonly implemented using FORTRAN77 standard, backward compatibility of the
modern Fortran makes it easy to use them in a new code. Furthermore, its
object-oriented and functional programming capabilities help to build modular
and easy-to-maintain applications. Finally, C-interoperability enables the use
of tools such as Python or spreadsheet applications for pre- and
This case study demonstrates how Fortran is used to model liquid flow in heap
leaching operation and how it integrates with a spreadsheet application.