Why is mine rehab still a challenge?

Author(s): 
Matthew Law interviewed by Mining News
Date: 
Thursday, April 11, 2019
First presented: 
www.miningnews.co.za
Type: 
Article
Category: 
Mining
Environmental/Social

Despite South Africa’s mine closure laws comparing well internationally, the country can boast very few examples of successfully implemented mine closure; instead, over 6 000 mines have been abandoned without adequate rehabilitation.

This situation is unlikely to endure; soon, mine closure will be regulated under the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998), which will require that provision is made for the ongoing rehabilitation, closure and management of residual environmental impacts. This is the belief to Matthew Law, senior environmental management consultant and economist, SRK Consulting.

“Too often, both mine owners and regulators overlook the importance of scientifically derived, realistic closure targets – with owners making overambitious, impracticable commitments that cannot be implemented, or are ignored during the life-of-mine,” he says. He notes that the new regulations will also impose strict penalties for defaulters, including possible imprisonment – while stakeholders become increasingly vocal about inadequate closure.

Acknowledged: Mining News and www.miningnews.co.za

SRK Africa