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Reducing economic impacts from interim closure

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 a drop in commodity price, seasonal closures, unforeseen weather events, a failure in a major processing plant component, labor disputes, agency shutdowns, or litigation.  

Planned or unplanned temporary closure does not release an operator from their compliance obligations. Temporary closure planning has to consider:
• Removing blasting materials, fuels, and reagents from the site
• Maintaining public safety
• Maintaining wildlife protection measures
• Maintaining stormwater runon and runoff controls
• Managing process fluids
• Continuing environmental monitoring
• Stabilising excavations and workings
• Controlling toxic or deleterious materials
• Dewatering

An unplanned interim closure has the potential to cause major economic losses through loss of key staff, environmental compliance issues, improperly stored equipment and consumables, lack of security, leading to theft and vandalism, restocking fees, and re-negotiation of contracts.

A successful interim closure will be well-planned prior to the occurrence and should involve the different areas of the operation, including the mine (operations and maintenance), mill/process (operations, maintenance, dewatering), the environmental department, the safety department, and administration (purchasing, human resources, and accounting). The kickoff meeting will define the anticipated parameters, including environmental and safety compliance and monitoring, security, mobile and stationery equipment storage, handling of stored fuels, oils, blasting materials, and reagents, whether dewatering can be curtailed or set at a maintenance level, and staffing levels.

SRK professionals can help with the different facets of interim closure planning to reduce the potential economic impacts and position the mine for a smooth start. In addition to our expertise in interim closure planning, SRK provides final closure planning services throughout the world.

Valerie Sawyer:

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