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Open pit mining waste rock dumps represent very significant structures on most open pit mine sites. If they
are not developed well they represent a significant risk to the environment and there are substantial numbers
of legacy sites worldwide where waste rock dumps have caused various and severe pollution of the wider
environment. Whilst historically this may have been seen as acceptable, it is most certainly not the case
today. Legislation, community expectations and corporate governance now demands that mining waste rock
dumps have a minimal impact on the external environment whether the mine is developed close to urban
populations or in remote locations.
In addition to increasing environmental standards, the waste rock dump represents a significant financial
investment costing multi-million dollars to construct with up to half the total truck hours being spent
developing the structure. However, with good planning, the waste rock dump represents an opportunity to
significantly reduce costs as well as improve the environmental outcomes.
This paper discusses the considerations that need to be undertaken to give the opportunity for a low
environmental risk and low cost rock dump to be developed.
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Management and Operations
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