Wright, A 2016, 'A common-sense approach to mine closure design in the remote Western Australian interior', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2016: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 635-648, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1608_47_Wright
In recent years Western Australia has seen a far greater focus on mine closure planning, with both the Government and the Mining Industry tackling implementation of rather conceptual mine closure strategies that are set early in the mine life. Both practitioners and Government stakeholders have the best of intentions when setting mine closure objectives, standards and completion criteria, but just how realistic are these when it comes to implementation?
This paper looks at what might be considered both pragmatic (cost-effective and achievable) and responsible with regard to mine closure in the arid WA Goldfields region. It draws on twenty years of keen observation of the successes and failures of mining industry efforts in this region and recent scientific findings by several local consultants. The focus is on closure design of those mine landforms that remain post closure — mine pits, waste rock dumps, stockpiles, leach pads and tailings storage facilities. It examines the actual set of field conditions under which mines operate, post-closure modelling time frames and research (and predicative modelling) limitations. The paper suggests where closure design efforts should be focused and how best we might interpret the current WA Government mine closure guidelines. It identifies several closure design aspects that remain misunderstood by many stakeholders, resulting in unrealistic expectations and closure criteria.
Keywords: realistic closure designs arid environment
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