Authors: Kauppila, T; Bellenfant, G; Solismaa, L; Mittelstadt, P

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Kauppila, T, Bellenfant, G, Solismaa, L & Mittelstadt, P 2019, 'Digitalisation of continuous mine closure planning and management: an EIT RawMaterials initiative', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 1023-1030.

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The current paradigm in mine closure is continuous, or progressive, mine closure, which is the industry standard for best closure outcomes. However, this is a complex management challenge because mine closure is a long, evolving process that can be hampered by changes in ownership and management. It involves external stakeholders, and the jointly planned post-closure land uses influence all closure plans and actions. Closure is also an official process with regulatory requirements and financial sureties. Continuous closure also means continuous reduction of unknowns, risks and (financial) liabilities. Therefore, the constant accumulation of data and plans and the whole process need to be well documented. Such a complex undertaking needs tools that help in managing the process. We must take this beyond the conventional closure management plans (CMPs) written on paper to a digital system with enhanced capabilities for continuous closure management. At the same time, the authorities are going digital. Some European Union Member States and other countries around the world have set up, and are pursuing, egovernment initiatives that are designed to help interaction with the authorities when applying for permits and licences, and submitting environmental impact assessments, etc. (EIAs) (e.g. the digital permit process management system in Germany called BergPass). This also concerns mining projects and the closure of mines. This development also means that CMPs need to comply with these systems, which also emphasises the need for digital closure management systems such as Closurematic: Management Tool for Continuous Mine Closure. The Closurematic project (2018–2021), funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology on RawMaterials (EIT RM), is creating a new digital system for managing the mine closure process. Closurematic is a versatile digital tool to help mining companies and consultants plan, carry out, manage, monitor, communicate, and document mine closure at every step of a mining project. The tool adds value to a mining company’s assets by creating continuity in the long-term management of closure-related data. Its main functions will include an easily adaptable master plan (using tailored templates), extended interactive guidance to help the user, links to the best international practices, a geographic information system (GIS) interface, a file repository to store documents relating to the closure, and interactive tables and charts to monitor the closure actions and associated costs.

Keywords: mine closure, software, digitalisation, continuous closure, progressive closure

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