Author: Richard J Frechette
Conference: 1st International Congress on Planning for Closure of Mining Operations
Date: November 20-22, 2016
This articles makes a case for two closures approaches: (1) a plan developed pre‐mining; or (2) a plan developed during late operations or post‐mining. A pre‐mining closure plan that dovetails with a tailored operating plan can achieve goals with modest and low‐volatility post‐mining capital expenditure. A post‐mining closure plan can capitalize on practical yet innovative techniques to yield best‐achievable results with the resources available.
Either case has its place for consideration depending upon where on the timeline the mine owner has taken possession of the property. In the first case, the closure obligation can be closely managed during operations by careful execution of a holistic plan that integrates purposeful operating activities to advance closure efforts and reduce associated costs incurred post‐operations. It can be demonstrated that any closure plan can be implemented at lower cost if operations are modified to cater to specific, even if limited, aspects of the closure plan. In the second case, practical objectives can be developed and achieved with a realistic understanding of techniques and activities that can be successfully executed under the circumstances that exist at actual mine closure. One of the keys to success if following this second approach is to employ a skilled and experienced practitioner of closure planning.
The situations that lead to the circumstances where each case is applicable and the general thought process that may be employed are explained in this article. Some practical examples of closure elements to consider and how they can be used to bolster the argument for each case are provided to equip the reader with concrete illustrations.
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