Mine closure planning - time for a holistic approach

Allistair James, Steve van Niekerk and Brandon Stobart

As a result of the new requirements in the new Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 and Regulation 527 promulgated in terms of the said Act, consultants are increasingly being called upon by mines' environmental managers to estimate the mines' current (premature closure) and end-of-life (post planned closure) liability for residual and latent impacts of mining operations. Typically, this involves:

  • a site visit entailing a brief inspection of the mine area and its workings
  • reviewing the mine's environmental management programme report (EMPR) and other relevant documentation for closure commitments and requirements, including a review of the risks identified in the EMPR for completeness and depth of understanding
  • measuring quantities from available mine plan drawings
  • estimating the cost of the closure scope of works by a third party (usually an earthworks contractor with the assistance of a demolition subcontractor)
  • formalising the estimated closure liability into a report suitable for submission to the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) authorities, and
  • an agreement between the DME and the mine as to the provision, in an acceptable form, of the required closure amount.

James, A., van Niekerk, S., & Stobart, B. (2005). Mine closure planning - time for a holistic approach. Civil Engineering, 13(8), 20-21.

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Journal article
South Africa
Mine closure planning - time for a holistic approach