FIGURE 4.13 Schematic showing an in-pit tailings disposal system. SOURCE: AREVA Resources Canada, Inc.
level, and an engineered cover is installed to prevent contamination and stabilize the area.
Although reclamation and closure have always been considered during mine development, current practice has advanced to the point where the reclamation and closure plan is an important element for any mine’s ultimate success. Reclamation and closure are planned during the earliest stages of the project, and encompass the initial gathering of comprehensive baseline environmental data, developing detailed cost of closure estimates, through to the actual implementation of the reclamation plan to ultimately trigger bond release (Feige, 2008). These plans consider all disturbances associated with the mine and processing plant areas. Closure activities may involve some postclosure water treatment where a treatment facility is required, and long-term sampling is undertaken.
Modern mine practice is to carry out continuous rehabilitation during the life of an operation. Appropriate reclamation and closure are guaranteed by a bond to ensure that sufficient resources are available should the operating company fail prior to final reclamation and closure. It is difficult to envision and describe all postclosure requirements, but modern practice is to review risks and assess opportunities to reduce final closure impacts early in the project design phase. Such impacts encompass not only technical and environmental issues, but also socioeconomic issues such as future site use.