Singam, J, Balla, LK & Singh, DP 2006, 'Strategies in Mine Closure Vis-à-Vis Some Indian Underground Mines', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 835-841, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_75
Mine closure is an intricate phase in the life of the mine, which calls for comprehensive planning beforehand.
Many investigations need to be made hand in hand with the mine plan in order that the site is released in an
ecologically sustainable state of the society. However, in some instances of mine closures in India,
progressive closure planning phases need further improvements to avoid adverse socio-economic impacts on
the local community. The typical mine closure case of Bharat Gold Mines Limited, and some coal mines of
various coalfields in India are posing stern challenge to the mining community. If closed early, it may lead to
permanent loss of natural resource and unethical, however, extending the life of a mine without proper
evaluation may be uneconomical and unsafe. There has to be a balance between the two alternatives in the
life of a mine with due regard to safety and modern mining technology available indigenously and also
globally. This paper presents some of the legislative and social aspects of mine closure, including some of
the formalities to be fulfilled in Indian mining scenario.
The Scientific closure of mining operations is an issue of recent origin in India. Till recently there were no
guidelines for systematic and scientific closure of mining operation keeping in view the conservation of
minerals, environmental and safety aspects (Ambesh, 2005). Management of socio-economic impact of large
mines and panning for the closure of mines and effective regulation of small scale mines has caused
increasing international concern over an number of features of the mining industry (Philip et al., 2005).
Operational and environmental management related to a gold mine closure, in the context of declining gold
prices was discussed by Aluson and Paul (2000). They stated that social responsibility of business is to
increase profits with due regard to formulation of corporate strategy incorporating the kind of economic and
human organization. The strategy also should define the range of business the industry is to pursue, the kind
of economic and non-economic contributions intend to make to its shareholders, employees, customers and
communities. Citizenship means active commitment and responsibility making a difference in one
community, society and ones country. Internal/external conflicts of real as well as unreal nature in various
organizations are most common while dealing with closure of mines and need to be pursued in the context of
sociological and psychological principles (Ujjwala and Jayanthu, 2006). Conventionally, many of the
coalmines were planned in feasibility stage with the primitive methods of extraction: Bord and pillar and
Long wall mining in India (Jayanthu et al., 2000b). The main deficiency of the established techniques could
be that they are usually adopted productively in some of the local geo-mining conditions of the mine and
may not be economic and safe always in another site-specific geomining conditions. Other shortcomings of
the techniques are that they are deficient for all the in-situ condition in remote regions that are difficult to
access at the planning stage, although some of the recent geophysical techniques (Ground Penetration Radar)
could be used to probe the reserves ahead of the workings. Some times, innovative strategies to avert the
absolute closure were also implemented in India by converting under ground mines to opencast mines.
About 1835 Mt of coal has been standing on pillars of thick seams scattered in various Indian coal fields
(Jayanthu, 1999a, 1999b). Around 30% of the developed thick seams are underneath protected surface while
the rest 70% are amenable to caving. Adverse strata control problems are experienced at the time of the
major roof falls in goaf involving loss of life and considerable quantity of coal in some of the depillaring
panels, more often in thick seams (Jayanthu et al., 1998). Such geo-mining problems lead to adoption of
closure as an ultimate alternative in case of many mines in India. Many scientific investigations were
conducted to deal with such problems especially in thick seams including high horizontal stresses in typical
Mine Closure 2006 ― Andy Fourie and Mark Tibbett (eds)
© 2006 Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, ISBN 0-9756756-6-4
Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia 835
coalfields to avert the closure of mines in South Eastern and Western Coalfields of India (Jayanthu et al.,
2000a, 2000b). Particularly, in Jharia Coalfield of India (JCF), there is about 19497 Mt of coal available for
extraction (Singh et al., 1994). However, about 7500 Mt coal is only amenable for opencast mining. Because
of many geo-mining problems including strata control problems and surface structures, extraction in mines
could not be continue as per the feasibility reports prepared a few decades back based on the then available
mining technology. Thus innovative mining technologies need to be implemented with due regard to global
mining scenario. (Jayanthu et al., 2000a, 2000b). About 1200 MT coal could be extracted out of total reserve
of 20000 MT and lack of coking coal reserve cannot be cited as reason for coking coal import. (Rai, 2005).
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