New mine rehabilitation provisions are set to take effect during the early parts of this year which could see South African mining companies setting aside millions more to accommodate these new regulations.
Mine closures in South Africa is serious business. The process is governed by some of the strongest environmental mining regulations in the world with mines only being allowed to operate if they hold funds in a mine closure trust fund or other financial provisions set aside specifically for environmental rehabilitation.
In the past mines, would simply close by locking up the gate and never looking back but thanks to the extensive regulations in place, mine rehabilitation programmes involve much more. Today they need to ensure that the site is safe and stable, remove pollutants that are contaminating the site, restore the biodiversity that was there before mining started and restore waterways to what they were before mining started at that site.
As one would imagine these activities require extensive planning and can be quite expensive. The greatest challenge to mine rehabilitation, according to a number of studies, is the accurate calculation of financial provision for rehabilitation.
Many mines underestimate the amount of money they will need to conduct a proper mine rehabilitation and according to Professor Tracy Humby from the Wits School of Law, this has terrible social costs associated for the communities left behind.
xMMP (exploration, Mining & Minerals Processing) is a mining “ERP” solution that covers the Total Life of Mine (‘LOM’). Managing mineral rights (tenements) claims, exploration, drilling, EPCM for the development phase, actual mining, stockpiles, plant, shipping and dispatching all the way to mine rehabilitation.
So how can mines ensure they are going about mine rehabilitation the right way?
At the outset of mining operations, mines should compile a rehabilitation plan showing all areas including an aerial extent of the main mining activities, as well as the anticipated mined-out area at the time of closure. This will assist with the amount of financial provision and can be calculated in accordance with the Department of Mineral Resources guideline.
Mines should also ensure that the rehabilitation plan is compatible with the closure objectives and that the amount calculated distinguishes between those areas that can be rehabilitated concurrently and those that can only be rehabilitated at closure. Once there is a plan in place it needs to be reviewed annually along with the financial provisions made for rehabilitation.
From handling the mineral rights at the start of the mining process to planning for mine rehabilitation at the end of the cycle, managing the Total Life of Mine (LOM) can be overwhelming at the best of times.
The xMMP (exploration, Mining & Minerals Processing) solution from Resolve Immix is a mining “ERP” solution that covers the LOM. The solution provides mine owners and managers with current, reliable business intelligence that will help ensure they can not only increase compliance and production but make the necessary provisions for thorough mine rehabilitation in the future.