Liability Assessment
: A Tool for Mine Closure Planning

  • Hernani Mota Lima

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Mine closure is seen as an inevitable and problematic consequence of the nature of the mining industry. In many countries, the public image of mining is still one of abandoned mine sites and lasting environmental liabilities. In addition to this legacy, lack in planning for mine closure has caused social and economic disruption in mining regions. Responsible planning for closure is a major ongoing issue for the mining industry around the world. It should involve a technical review of the operations, an assessment of mine closure liabilities and a cost benefit analysis from both engineering and environmental perspectives. At present, there is a growing concern over the long-term environmental liabilities of a mine closure process. Despite this concern, no comprehensive research has
been carried out on the relevance of a liability assessment for mine closure planning. The present research has focussed on the development of a liability assessment programme to assist mining companies in planning for mine closure. The research / covered the major themes. First, a review of sustainable development in mining, current practices on mine closure and current regulatory systems on mine closure in the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Brazil. Secondly, this research concentrated on the development of a new approach to closure planning based on environmental audit procedures. Finally, the developed approach was applied on a case study mine in Brazil to test the methodology. The research revealed the feasibility of using the liability assessment programme as a tool for mine closure planning. The programme showed to be practical for use within an environmental management system. Establishing robust environmental management systems, supported by liability assessment, will place the industry in a sound position to meet the mine closure challenge. Finally, this research provided a recommended strategy for mine closure in Brazil and suggestions for further research.
Date of Award2002
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorPeter Wathern (Supervisor)

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