Coppin, NJ 2013, 'An ecologist in mining – a retrospective of 40 years in mine closure and reclamation', in M Tibbett, AB Fourie & C Digby (eds), Mine Closure 2013: Proceedings of the Eighth International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Cornwall, pp. 295-309, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1352_24_Coppin
The author has been involved in mine waste reclamation and mine closure for 40 years. This paper charts a personal journey from the 1970s to the present day and considers how developments in the understanding of the science and of the regulatory, social and political changes that have occurred have influenced approaches to mine closure, reclamation and post-mining regeneration.
This is not just a retrospective; it also looks forward to the future, to the lessons still to be learned and where important challenges still remain: pats on the back reflecting short-term results rather than long−term sustainable function; design for closure, so often talked about but rarely taken on board meaningfully; what to do with a hole in the ground, open pits and quarries that present unique challenges and sometimes opportunities; social licence to operate and how community engagement is so important; re-inventing the wheel and the need for reclamation trials; when is a mine no longer a mine but closed, and how this uncertainty can frustrate the planned closure process; and who pays and the need to internalise the external reclamation costs.
In conclusion, it is noted that it is not just research and the knowledge gained and published that is important, but how this is applied and used in a practical way, in the real world of a life-of-mine and contractual environment with financial and management constraints and risks.
Bradshaw, A.D. (1997) What do we mean by restoration? In Restoration Ecology and Sustainable Development, K.M. Urbanska, N.R. Webb and P.J. Edwards (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Bradshaw, A.D. and Chadwick, M.J. (1980) The Restoration of Land, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.
Coppin, N.J. and Bradshaw, A.D. (1982) Quarry Reclamation – the establishment of vegetation in quarries and open pit non-metal mines, Mining Journal Books, London.
Coppin, N.J. and Richards, I.G. (1990) Use of Vegetation in Civil Engineering, CIRIA & Butterworths, London.
Coppin, N.J. (1995) Landscaping and Revegetation of China Clay Wastes, Project undertaken by Wardell Armstrong, Department of the Environment, London.
Coppin, N.J. and Styles, R. (1995) Ecological principles for vegetation establishment and maintenance, in Slope Stabilisation and Erosion Control, A Bioengineering Approach, R.P.C. Morgan and R.J. Rickson (eds), E & F Spon.
Cornwall County Council (2000) St Austell China Clay – Tipping and Restoration Strategy, Cornwall, UK.
Cornwall Council (2013) Technical Paper M1 – China Clay: Minerals Plan within the Proposed Cornwall Local Plan, Cornwall Council.
Grigg, C.F.J, Coppin, N.J., Box, J. and Davies, I. (1998) Re-creation of heathland habitats in the China Clay mining area of Cornwall, in Landreclamation – Achieving Sustainable Benefits, in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the International Affiliation of Land Reclamationists, H.R. Fox, H.M. Moore and A.D. McIntosh (eds), Nottingham, UK, 7–11 September 1998, A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.
Matrix+ Consulting (2008) Planning for Integrated Mine Closure: Toolkit, International Council on Mining and Metals, London.
Miller, C.G. (2005) Financial Assurance for Mine Closure and Reclamation, International Council on Mining and Metals, London.
MMSD (2002) Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development. Breaking New Ground, Earthscan Publications Ltd., London.
Natural England (2013) China Clay Woodland Project, viewed May 2013,
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (1991) Rehabilitation of Mines – Guidelines for Proponents, Sudbury, Ontario.
Pearman, G. (2009) 101 Things to Do with a Hole in the Ground, Post Mining Alliance, Eden Project, Bodelva, UK.
SRK (1999) Steffen, Robertson & Kirsten (UK) Ltd. A Technical Framework for Mine Closure Planning, prepared for Mineral Industry Research Organisation, UK.
Williamson, N.A., Johnson, M.S. and Bradshaw, A.D. (1982) Mine Waste Reclamation, Mining Journal Books, London.