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Gecamin Conferences

Experts showcased their experiences in mine closure at Planning for Closure 2016

The international congress on planning for mining operation closure gathered over 150 professionals from 17 countries.

The First International Congress on Planning for Closure of Mining Operations, Planning for Closure 2016, gathered over 150 professionals at Hotel Grand Hyatt Santiago from November 20 to 22. Delegates attended 54 presentations from authors from 17 different countries, 11 plenary presentations and 1 panel discussion.

The abundant presence of mining company representatives and foreign experts, especially from Europe, drew delegates as the majority of their mines ceased activities many years ago. As such they had many successful experiences in rehabilitation and retrofitting mine sites.

“They already have the real experience and have undergone closure; they are advancing and continue to monitor [the mines]. Conversely, we are just beginning to think about it and in many cases are worried about collaterals and budgets. We still need to believe a little more in what we are doing now and not in 50 years”, commented Héctor Lagunas, Chair of Congress and Environmental and Permits Manager at Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi

Likewise, the Co-Organizer of the Congress, and Director of the Mine Engineering Department at Universidad de La Serena, Dr. Hugo Maturana, commented that “we started a bit late with closure plans in Chile, maybe, if we had had this issue on the forefront a while ago, environmental costs would be less today and possibly also the impacts”.

Meanwhile, the technical coordinator and academic from Universidad de Chile, Jacques Wiertz, added that “if all agree on the importance of early closure planning and for it to be included as a key objective of project design, it is evident that we still have much to learn on how to do this successfully”.

In this sense, experts value initiatives such as Planning for Closure as an opportunity for the exchange of visions, opinions and experiences on closure pans, which promote a greater spectrum of knowledge on these issues for the industry at large.

Planning for Closure 2016 was host to numerous experts with different closure approaches, from sociology to ecology, passing through the different scientific disciplines like geology, geomorphology and hydrogeology or geochemistry, and through the more technical aspects such as evaluation of an orebody, mine planning, geotechnics and hydraulics.  

“Mining is and will continue to be a necessary activity and we have to define a way to come to a consensus. Under what conditions can it and must it be carried out, focusing all our efforts on an increasingly sustainable mining industry, which generates benefits for all during all stages, including closure”, concluded Prof. Wiertz.