Focus on Facility Closure

Issue: 
#45
Publications on closure have increased since 1970, and are increasingly focused on waste rock and tailings issues.
Mine and facility closure trends The field has changed a lot since SRK’s last newsletter with a closure theme, which we issued in July 2000. The above photograph illustrates one example of the current state of the practice. The graphs below show how some of those changes are really part...
SRK has been appointed by Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) to close their Mining Pond B.
Closure of Mining Pond B at Richards Bay Minerals, South Africa In 2007 when Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) decided to close their Mining Pond B, SRK was appointed to manage the project. Prior to removing the pond and rehabilitating the pond area, the dredger had to be docked for transfer...
A new set of guidelines to be issued jointly by the DMP and the Environmental Protection Authority, describes the new standards that will apply to all mining operations in the future.
What goes up… The Australian mining industry is booming again! Despite the global financial downturn of 2009, mining investment continues to rise, with strong export growth in the iron ore, gold and coal sectors in 2010 and 2011. So, is it prudence or terminal pessimism that has motivated the Western...
Innovative tailings closure eliminated hazardous environmental contaminants and created recreational space for community.
From abandoned site to community asset The Yankee Girl site is an abandoned tailings area located on the shore of a river in the small community of Ymir, British Columbia, Canada. Tailings periodically eroded into the river and oxidation resulted in the release of contaminants, including cadmium, lead and zinc,...
Closure in Arctic utilises permafrost as contamination barrier and prevents feasibility of extensive laboratory testing, requiring innovative solutions.
Closure north of 66° It’s another bitterly cold morning. Mine reclamation work has continued with the use of mobile light towers since the sun set for the season. A call comes in over the radio; the boom on an excavator has cracked. Minus 52°C has won the battle. The soil...
Russian land rehabilitation requirements are established later in mine life, and primarily focused on topsoil.
Land rehabilitation requirements and practices in Russia Russian legislative requirements on closure and rehabilitation are contained in federal laws and related regulations, under titles law “About subsoil”, Land Code, law “About environmental protection”, “Instruction about the work order on liquidation and temporary closing-down of dangerous industrial projects related to the...
Ecological risk assessment for safety of wildlife, vegetation, important consideration in mine closure.
Using ecological risk assessment to establish closure criteria Does an open pit lake represent a toxic threat to wildlife after closure? If a former process pond is converted into an evapo-transpiration (ET) basin to manage heap leach and tailings drainage, does it create soil conditions that are hazardous to vegetation...
SRK involved in closure and rehabilitation of historic Silvermines region of Ireland, reducing health and safety issues while preserving heritage.
Rehabilitation and construction issues for Silvermines, Ireland The Silvermines area in County Tipperary, Ireland comprises an area of around 5km2 plus a 74ha tailings facility. A number of abandoned open pits and underground mines were worked there, mainly from the 17th to 20th century, for lead, zinc, copper and barites...
Mitigating risks at tailings closure in Nevada ensures long-term management with minimum cost.
A risk-based approach to tailings facility closure SRK recently undertook the closure design and implementation for the tailings facility at a defunct operation in central Nevada, USA. The facility stored gold cyanide tailings in three individual cells of differing heights and construction. Initially, SRK needed to access and review all...
SRK supported the closure of San Manuel facility from concept to final implementation.
San Manuel, Arizona: from mining to reclamation The San Manuel property is a former integrated mining, milling and smelting operation located in central Arizona, USA. Large-scale mining activities started with underground block cave operations in the 1950s. In the mid-1980s, mining was expanded to include a surface heap-leach facility and...
SRK is an expert at mine closure planning to comply with Chinese and international mining industrystandards.
Mine closure planning in the Chinese mining industry SRK stands at the forefront of mine closure planning in the Chinese Mining Industry. SRK China has completed numerous Independent Technical Reviews (ITRs), covering stock exchange listing, acquisition and/or financing for both domestic and internationally based mining projects. Through this due diligence...
Mine closure regulation in Turkey The “Regulation on Reclamation of Lands Disturbed by Mining Activities,” published in December 2007 and amended in January 2010, is a milestone toward establishing requirements for mine closure planning in Turkey. It requires that reclamation plans for mining projects be appended to the Environmental Impact...
SRK has developed tools for assessing demolition costs of mines in closure.
Demolition costing An integral part of any facility closure is estimating the cost of removing the mine infrastructure that cannot be used for other purposes. This cost, while considerable, usually forms a smaller portion of the total closure liability. The approach taken in assessing demolition costs depends on the level...
Using SRK's flotation tailings process and planning for closure early, overall costs were reduced.
Capital expenditure to reduce long term closure liability SRK Reno recently designed and permitted a flotation tailings disposal impoundment in Nevada. The conceptual engineering design envisioned traditional grading, embankment construction, and a single synthetic liner overlain by a drainage system with a gravity outfall passing through the synthetic liner into...
Successful interim closures consider environmental impacts while non-operational and minimize economic impacts.
Reducing economic impacts from interim closure Interim or temporary closure can be defined as the cessation of the operation of a mine, or a mining or processing activity, as a result of a planned or unplanned activity. Cessation of operations can be precipitated by a number of factors such as...
Soil covers are designed for temperate climates, and when used in cold regions may have unpredicted effects.
Soil covers for cold region mine closures Soil covers are widely used in the closure of tailings and waste rock. However, current soil cover practices are based on experience from temperate regions, and on the theoretical basis provided by agricultural soil physics, which is also derived largely from studies in...
SRK assists gold mining companies in complying with the International Cyanide Code.
How did the International Cyanide Code get started? In response to public concern about environmental impacts from gold mining operations, the mining industry set up a stakeholder group under the United Nations Environmental Program to address prevention planning. The group developed a certification program to demonstrate responsible management of cyanide,...
Complying with International Cyanide Code for closure requires planning to protect health and have sufficient funds for the task.
Closure planning to comply with the International Cyanide Code About 10 years ago, a multi-stakeholder group created a system that demonstrates a company’s voluntary commitment to environmental standards under the International Cyanide Code. Companies certified under the Code (referred to as Signatories) have publically committed to comply with its requirements...
SRK assisted British Columbia government and local stakeholders in reducing acid rock drainage into the Tsolum River, allowing the return of salmon to the river.
Engineering solution to save Pacific salmon in the Tsolum River In partnership with local communities, the BC provincial government and local industry, SRK developed a long-term solution to control copper-bearing drainage that has been contaminating the headwaters of the Tsolum River for decades. The objective of the project was to...
SRK Cardiff & Cardiff School of Engineering are collaborating to characterise the impacts associated with mine waste at historical sites in central Wales.
Using abandoned mines as field laboratories SRK Cardiff and Cardiff School of Engineering are collaborating to characterise the impacts associated with mine waste at historical sites in central Wales, stretching back over 800 years. Our study will systematically collect representative mine waste samples from historic mine dumps. Working with industrial...
Considering closure throughout mine life allows management of economic costs and takes advantage of opportunities while active.
The Environmental Management Plan and closure planning During 2009, SRK Johannesburg completed a number of environmental compliance audits as part of due-diligence exercises. These reviews showed that closure planning is frequently limited to strategies presented in an Environmental Management Plan (EMP). These EMPs are generally prepared during authorisation, years before...
The last two decades have seen a significant evolution in both the methods and purposes for estimating closure costs.
Closure cost confusion The last two decades have seen a significant evolution in both the methods and purposes for estimating closure costs. As part of this evolution, changes in how closure cost estimates are used have resulted in coincident changes in the scope, methods employed, and level of detail required...
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