Closurematic: developing digital management tools to reduce the environmental impacts of mine closures
Tailings rehabilitation (Pontgibaud, Puy-de-Dôme, France, 2014).
© BRGM - Arnaud Pidon
Mining projects are unique industrial undertakings due to their inherently limited life time.
Mine closure is a critically important process for Europe's mining sector. Operations in densely populated regions require environmental excellence in all mining projects. Mine closure and the post closure period are of key importance in reducing the environmental impact of mining. The post closure period offers numerous opportunities to generate sustainable regional benefits from mining, provided that the closure is properly planned and managed.
Mine closure is a lengthy, continuous process that starts from the initial planning phase of the mining project. Progressive mine closure with ongoing reduction of risks and uncertainties is the modern industry standard for best closure outcomes. However, it presents a major management challenge due to the complexities, uncertainties and numerous internal and external stakeholders involved. The financial undertakings are also considerable. In most cases, official closure plans are required by the mining and environmental authorities.
The complexity and the long-term nature of mine closures mean that static mine closure management plans (CMP) are not well suited to the current practice of progressive mine closure. There is a need for digital management tools to assist planning, execution and monitoring of the process, as well as communication and management of closure-related data and documents.
A new and innovative project for the raw materials sector
EIT RawMaterials and its partners GTK, BRGM and DMT, together with M-solutions and Hannukainen Mining, received funding for this new and innovative project to develop digital tools to assist the mine closure process and its management.
Closurematic, a 3-year project launched in February 2018 in Kuopio, Finland, aims to improve mine closure performance thanks to digital tools. The project will create a system of templates together with guidance for drafting mine closure plans in all phases of the mining operation, context-sensitive technical support for closure issues, features to handle data management and capitalisation and tools for monitoring and managing the closure process.
The project is coordinated by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK). The other partners are the French Geological Survey (BRGM), DMT consulting group (a division of TÜV Nord Group), M-Solutions Oy, and Hannukainen Mining Oy.
EIT RawMaterials, initiated and funded by the EIT (EU Institute of Innovation and Technology), is the largest and most dynamic consortium in the raw materials sector worldwide. Its mission is to develop the raw materials sector as a driver of growth in Europe by increasing its competitiveness and attractiveness through radical technological innovation. EIT RawMaterials is partnered by over 120 academic and research institutions and businesses from more than 20 EU countries.