Authors: Zhou, JW; Zhou, AG; van Zyl, D; Tang, ZH; Bu, JW


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Zhou, JW, Zhou, AG, van Zyl, D, Tang, ZH & Bu, JW 2011, 'Mine closure in China – problems, strategies and forecasts', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Mine Closure 2011: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 501-509,

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There are currently 112,983 mines in China, among them are 75,748 open pit mines, and one third of all the mines will be closed within ten years. The main challenges for mine closure include physical stability problems, land destruction, loss of water resources, water and soil pollution, and large volume waste. Many pieces of legislation and regulations concerning mine closure have been issued by different government departments to protect the environment. From 2001 to 2008, CNY 15.9 billion (equivalent to US$ 2.373 billion) was spent to deal with the recovery and management, 1,418 mine sites were restored and remediated relying on these funds, more than 80% of the money was used to control geologic hazards and land reclamation at mine sites. China has established 61 national mine parks on mine sites, and 18 of them have been opened to the public by December of 2010. In the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” (2011–2015) published on March 16, 2011, China has set the target of "green mining" and environmental protections by the mining industry. Based on the current situation in China, the following are high priorities in the opinions of the authors: (1) More practical laws and regulations should be developed and implemented to improve mine closure practices, strengthening regulatory enforcement is important for future mine closure and reclamation. (2) Consistent application of the “polluter pays principle” should be adopted. (3) An interagency report review board, governed by the Ministry of Land and Resources, should be established to provide comprehensive review mechanisms. (4) Research should be conducted on new mining and processing technologies for the mining industry as well as reclamation technologies for mine closure projects. (5) Companies should establish special management units and monitoring systems to deal with mining environmental protection. (6) Community committees should be formed in all the mining regions to facilitate participation of civil society in the decision-making processes.

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