November 1999
Volume 51    Issue 11

Mine closure: a conceptual review

Mining Engineering , 1999, Vol. 51, No. 11, pp. 22-25
Lima, H.M.; Wathern, P.

The concept of closure, decommissioning and rehabilitation originated as a formal requirement for nuclear installations and soon included the uranium-mining industry. This concept has now involved the rest of the mining industry (Campbell and Emery, 1995). Mining is usually a relatively short-term land use and, as a consequence, a closure plan is an important aspect of a mining project. Its main aim is the rehabilitation of the disturbed area after mining to recreate a stable and productive locality that is acceptable to the local community and the regulatory agencies (Stepheson and Van Den Bussche, 1996). In the past, many mining companies have seen mine closure as a casual event. However, there are now three main reasons that justify the application of a closure plan. First, planning for closure during all stages in a mine’s life results in a large cost savings. Second, the regulatory environment now requires a closure plan. Third, but not least, directors of companies can be jailed for failing to show due diligence in environmental performance, including closure (Mckenna, 1996). Whereas the implementation of a closure plan may incur some cost, ignoring it can be very expensive

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