LOP III Ongoing Projects and the Next Guidelines Book

The Industry-Sponsored Large Open Pit (LOP) Program has been the premier source of geotechnical and hydrogeological research in large open pits and waste rock dumps since 2005, and has provided a number of very well received Guidelines that have become industry standards. Since 2019, LOP III has been running to add further geotechnical and hydrogeological value to the open pit mining life cycle. This includes supporting the delivery of several Research Projects on deep open pits and interaction with underground, education and training to address the looming lack of skilled geotechnical and hydrogeological graduates, and staffing and capability; amongst other. See here for details.

Closure planning, in particular, is a fundamental requirement of all existing and planned future mines.  The program for open pit Closure must consider the requirements of internal and external stakeholders, local regulatory requirements, global experience, leading practice and continuous improvement. Funded by LOP III, the Mine Closure Project focuses on the need for clarity on geotechnical and hydrogeological guidelines relating to Closure planning, definition of pragmatic objectives and measures of success, implementation and monitoring for open pits and waste dumps for Closure, and how these interact with adjacent land uses.  The opportunistic backfilling of pits with waste materials (waste rock and/or tailings) and pit lakes are also considered.  The project main objective is to develop the next LOP Guidelines (coming soon in 2022) on “Closure of Large Open Pits and Dumps”, to provide practical open pit mine closure guidelines for use by geotechnical and hydrogeological mining professionals addressing technical issues, design criteria, and reliability and realistic risks to end land users, outlined in a transparent and consistent manner.  The book is aimed at all stakeholders, including regulators and the community, who must have benchmarks by which to judge whether adequate closure studies and investigations have been completed to support and justify mining project approval, and ultimate mine closure.

The Guideline will provide a State-of-Practice that is balanced and objective from the perspective of the Operator, Regulator and Community and will draw heavily on actual mine closure experience to date.  But will also challenge the current status quo; and seek to define a paradigm shift to develop and implement better closure outcomes.  Mine closure is no longer simply a means to site relinquishment.  The case for change and how Closure Reimagined informs large open mining pits and waste rock facilities will be presented.

See here for more details about all the LOP Guidelines.