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Development of risk criteria for water management aspects of mine closure
Expanded Title:A stalemate situation currently exists, in which mines are unable to obtain mine closure certificates because of perceived unmanageable post-closure risks to the water resource. This is a complex problem with causative factors originating from both the mining industry and the regulator. While it seems intuitively correct for regulators and potentially impacted stakeholders to insist that mine closure should not be approved unless it can be demonstrated that there is zero risk that there will be long-term residual impacts on the water resource, this logic is flawed because zero risk can never be demonstrated and proved in advance. In consequence, mine owners are convinced that mine closure will never be approved no matter what measures they implement, so the perceived best course of action has become to do the minimum, and wait. The result is a catastrophic situation: mine owners do not develop and submit rigorous closure plans with regard to water management issues, where regulators do not approve mine closure plans and where mines that have ceased operations only implement minimum-level care and maintenance measures until such time as financial resources are exhausted and the mine reverts to an abandoned and ownerless status. The mine closure plan is an overarching plan which integrates the outputs of numerous specialist studies and management plans, including the post-closure water management plan. The post-closure water management plan also feeds into the mine’s Integrated Water and Waste Management Plan (IWWMP). This study has produced a guidance document defining the technical aspects and procedures that need to be followed in order for mines to be able to manage and minimise their long term risks and liabilities and to provide the regulator with the requisite information to be able to review and approve a post-closure water management plan. The risk criteria are aligned with the revised GN704 regulations and were developed based on extensive stakeholder engagement with the DWS Best Practice Guideline G4:Impact Prediction (BPG G4) and Best Practice Guideline G5: Water Management Aspects for Mine Closure (BPG G5), international practice, and the application of sound scientific principles. By following the processes and methodology described in this report and the BPGs G4 and G5, the mine will have undertaken the appropriate risk management process to understand, manage and minimise its long term exposure to risk and liability associated with post-closure water impacts. If the questions defined in this guidance document are answered using the methodology set out in the relevant BPGs then there is no technical or scientific reason for the regulator to not approve the post-closure water management plan at the end of mine life.
Date Published:01/04/2015
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Mine water - Closure and rehabilitation
Document Keywords:Ground Water
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2127/1/15
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0658-2
Authors:Pulles W
Project No:K5/2127
Organizations:Golder Associates (Africa) Pty Ltd
Document Size:18 325 KB
Related Documents:Guidance for the Mining Industry for the Management of Post-Closure Water
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