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CHAPTER 16.1 Site Environmental Considerations Michael G. NelsonINTRODUCTION (ISO) Standard 14001. The second example gives a descrip-Activities associated with mining have direct and lasting tion of surface coal mining regulations in the United States,effects on both the physical and the human environments. The probably some of the most detailed and specific regulationssocial, economic, and political effects in the latter category in existence. The third example describes the permitting andare often considered sustainability issues and are discussed approval process for the Safford mine, located in a historicbriefly in this chapter. Also in the latter category are issues mining area in southern Arizona (United States), and includesof worker health and safety, which are discussed in Part 15 of descriptions of the public input to this process. The fourththis handbook. example describes a successful approach to early involvement Mining includes the following activities, all of which of local communities in mine planning and permitting at thehave distinct impacts on the environment: Diavik diamond mine, which operates in a pristine northern environment where no mining had previously occurred. • Exploration. Economic deposits are identified and their characteristics are determined to allow recovery. HISTORIC MINING PRACTICES • Development. Preparations are made for mining. In the recent past, mining was done with little knowledge of • Extraction. Valuable material is removed for sale or its effects on the environment and, from a modern perspective, processing. with little concern for the effects that were known. The conse- • Reclamation. Disturbances caused by any of the preced- quences of this approach often resulted in significant damage ing activities are corrected or ameliorated. to the natural environment, including (but not limited to) • Closure. Activity ceases and the area is abandoned or returned to another use. • Unreclaimed mine pits, shafts, tunnels, and waste piles that may result in landslides and large amounts of blow- This chapter will address the environmental consider- ing dust;ations incumbent in the development and extraction in some • Surface and groundwater that may be contaminated bydetail, including the permitting process required (in almost all solid particulates and chemical contaminants released byjurisdictions) before mining activities begin. active and abandoned workings, or by waste piles; Environmental regulations vary among the countries • Abandoned pits, shafts, and tunnels that may create poten-of the world. Most large mining companies endeavor to fol- tial falling hazards to humans, livestock, and wildlife;low uniform practices at all their mines, regardless of loca- • Similarly, release of particulates and chemical con-tion, and have publicly committed to follow well-articulated taminants from mine workings or waste and spoil pilesstandards of sustainability, such as those described under that may cause direct injury to or damage the health of“Sustainable Practices” in this chapter. However, because of humans or animals;the variations in regulations, it is difficult to give a detailed • Erosion, with its consequent loss of soil and vegetation indescription of environmental requirements and practices that and around unreclaimed workings, that may be a signifi-applies worldwide. Thus, the focus of this chapter is to give cant problem; anda general description of environmentally sound practices and • Underground workings, current or abandoned, that mayprocedures. Some of the most important are illustrated by spe- cause surface subsidence, which can result in damagedcific examples. The first example shows the approach to envi- surface structures, and in fissures or escarpments that areronmental risk assessment taken by CODELCO (Corporación hazardous to humans and animals (Craig et al. 2001).Nacional del Cobre de Chile), the national copper corpora-tion of Chile, as part of its environmental management plan Examples of these kinds of mining-induced damages areunder the International Organization for Standardization readily found in any historic mining district. In fact, water Michael G. Nelson, Department Chair, Mining Engineering, College of Mines & Earth Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA 1643
1644 SME Mining Engineering Handbookcontamination and abandoned waste piles left by ancient • Seek to identify and internalize environmental and socialRoman mining activity in Spain resulted in rediscovery of the costs.ore body on which Rio Tinto, one of the largest mining com- • Maintain and enhance the conditions for viable enterprise.panies in the world, was founded (Raymond 1986). Social sphere In most cases, the environmental damage caused by miningwas not well understood. There were some notable exceptions, • Ensure a fair distribution of the costs and benefits ofsuch as the lawsuit in 1884 by downstream farmers against min- development for all those alive today.ing companies in California’s “Mother Lode” district. By that • Respect and reinforce the fundamental rights of humantime (well after the initial gold rush of 1849) those companies beings, including civil and political liberties, culturalused a method called hydraulicking, in which entire hillsides autonomy, social and economic freedoms, and personalwere washed away with a powerful stream of water so the security.gold-bearing gravels could be processed. The resulting debris • Seek to sustain improvements over time; ensure thatclogged streams and rivers and flooded meadows and fields, depletion of natural resources will not deprive futurecausing serious damage to agriculture (Hill et al. 2001). Other generations through replacement with other forms ofearly environmental lawsuits related to the mining industry capital.were directed at smelter operators by farmers who alleged that Environmental spheresmelter gases were damaging their crops. Such suits were filedin England in 1865 (Brubaker 1995), and in the United States in • Promote responsible stewardship of natural resources andKansas in the 1880s (Junge and Bean 2006) and in Utah in 1903 the environment, including remediation of past damage.(Lamborn and Peterson 1985). While these lawsuits may have • Minimize waste and environmental damage along thebeen driven more by economic concerns than by a pure concern whole of the supply chain.for the environment in the abstract, they certainly addressed • Exercise prudence where impacts are unknown orwhat today would be considered environmental issues. uncertain. The public’s expectations of the mining industry began to • Operate within ecological limits and protect critical natu-change in the 1950s, and by the end of the 1970s, governments ral capital.in developed countries had enacted broad environmental laws Governance spherethat had direct bearing on all industrial activities, includingmining (Kaas and Parr 1992). Although environmental stan- • Support representative democracy, including participa-dards still vary among countries, almost all major mining tory decision making.companies now state as policy that they will operate all their • Encourage free enterprise within a system of clear andmines, regardless of location, to first-world standards of envi- fair rules and incentives.ronmental protection and worker health and safety. • Avoid excessive concentration of power through appro- priate checks and balances.SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES • Ensure transparency through providing all stakeholdersLeading mining companies have recently formulated, and with access to relevant and accurate information.pledged to follow, standards and principles for sustainable • Ensure accountability for decisions and actions, whichdevelopment of mineral resources worldwide. While not all are based on comprehensive and reliable analysis.of these principles relate directly to environmental practices, • Encourage cooperation in order to build trust and sharedthey represent a significant change in approach for the min- goals and values.ing industry as a whole, a change that has already affected • Ensure that decisions are made at the appropriate level,environmental practices in the industry. For that reason, the adhering to the principle of subsidiarity where possible.principles of sustainable development (as applied to mineral In 2001, the board of the metals industry’s representa-extraction) are discussed here. tive organization, the International Council on Metals and the In 1999, nine of the largest mining companies decided Environment agreed to broaden the group’s mandate and trans-to embark on a new initiative intended to achieve a serious form itself into the International Council on Mining and Metalschange in the way industry approached today’s problems. (ICMM).They called this the Global Mining Initiative. It included a In 2002, ICMM member companies signed the Torontoprogram of internal reform, a review of the various associa- Declaration committing ICMM to continue the work startedtions the companies belonged to, and a rigorous study of the by the MMSD project and engage in constructive dialoguesocietal issues they had to face. As a result, the International with key stakeholders, and in 2003, the International CouncilInstitute for Environment and Development was commis- on Mining and Metals committed corporate members to imple-sioned to undertake the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable ment and measure their performance against the ten principlesDevelopment (MMSD) project. shown in Table 16.1-1 (ICMM 2006). Between 2000 and 2002, the MMSD project identi- Initially there was considerable debate in the min-fied critical issues associated with development of mineral ing community regarding the concepts of sustainability asresources in four “spheres”: applied to mineral extraction (NWMA 2002). Some argued that, because mineral resources are by nature finite, mineralEconomic sphere extraction can never be truly sustainable. However, these • Maximize human well-being. concepts have in general been adopted by most of the mining • Ensure efficient use of all resources, natural and other- industry, and they influence corporate practices in all areas of wise, by maximizing rents. mining activity.
1646 SME Mining Engineering HandbookTable 16.1-2 ISO 14001 standardsSystemic requirements e. Emergency situations a. Establish, document, implement, maintain, and continually improve an i. Establish, implement, and maintain procedures for potential environmental management system in accordance with the standard. emergency situations and accidents that could have an impact on thePolicy requirements environment. a. Establish, define, document, implement, maintain, and communicate the ii. Establish, implement, and maintain procedures to respond to actual organization’s environmental policy. emergency situations and accidents that have an impact on thePlanning requirements environment. a. Establish, implement, document, and maintain procedures to identify the iii. Test environmental emergency response procedures. environmental aspects of all activities, products, and services. iv. Respond to actual environmental emergencies and accidents. b. Establish, implement, and maintain procedures to identify and clarify v. Prevent or mitigate the adverse environmental impacts that the legal and other requirements that apply to the organization’s emergencies and accidents can and do cause. environmental aspects. vi. Review and revise environmental emergency preparedness and c. Establish, implement, and maintain environmental objectives and targets. response procedures. d. Establish, implement, and maintain programs to achieve environmental Compliance requirements objectives and targets. a. Measurement and monitoringOperational requirements i. Establish, implement, and maintain procedures to monitor and a. Personnel and resources measure the operational characteristics that could have a significant i. Provide the resources needed to establish, implement, maintain, and impact on the environment. improve the environmental management system. ii. Use and maintain calibrated or verified environmental monitoring and ii. Define, document, and communicate environmental management measuring equipment. roles, responsibilities, and authorities. iii. Keep a record of environmental monitoring and measuring activities. iii. Appoint someone to assume the role of management representative. b. Documentation b. Training i. Establish, implement, and maintain a procedure to periodically i. Ensure competency of those who perform tasks that could have evaluate how well the organization complies with all relevant legal a significant environmental impact by identifying training needs, and other environmental requirements. delivering training programs, and maintaining records of training ii. Record the results of the organization’s legal and other environmental activities. compliance evaluations. ii. Establish, implement, and maintain a procedure to make people c. Dealing with nonconformities aware of the organization’s environmental management system. i. Establish, implement, and maintain nonconformance management c. Communication procedures. i. Establish, implement, and maintain procedures to control ii. Change documents when nonconformities make it necessary. the organization’s internal and external environmental d. Controlling records communications. i. Establish environmental records for the organization. ii. Document the organization’s environmental policy, objectives, and ii. Establish, implement, and maintain procedures to control the targets, and the main parts of its environmental management system. organization’s environmental records. iii. Describe how the parts of the organization’s environmental e. Internal audits management system interact. i. Establish, implement, and maintain an environmental management d. Documents audit program and procedures. i. Control all environmental management documents and records ii. Conduct internal audits of environmental management system. required by the ISO 14001:2004 standard. iii. Report internal audit results to management. ii. Establish, document, implement, and maintain procedures to f. Environmental management reviews. manage and control operational situations that could have significant i. Review the suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of the environmental impacts. environmental management system. iii. Establish, document, implement, and maintain procedures to control ii. Assess whether or not the organization’s environmental management significant environmental aspects of goods and services provided by system, policy, objectives, or targets should be changed. suppliers and contractors. iii. Keep a record of all environmental reviews.ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS performance for organizations. However, ISO certification orISO 14001, issued in 2004, provides standards by which a equivalent has become a critical component to acceptance bycommunity or organization may put in place and implement environmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, anda series of practices and procedures that, when taken together, funding organizations.result in an environmental management system (EMS). The following example shows how a large mining com- An EMS is one part of an organization’s larger manage- pany (CODELCO) complies with part of ISO 14001.ment system. The EMS is used to establish an environmentalpolicy and to manage the environmental aspects of the organiza- Example 1. Identification and Evaluation oftion’s activities, products, and services. A management system Environmental Consequencesis a network of interrelated elements that include responsibili- CODELCO adopted a sustainable development policy inties, authorities, relationships, functions, processes, procedures, June 2003 (CODELCO 2009). In December 2006, the com-practices, and resources. A management system uses these ele- pany issued the Corporate Directive for Identification ofments to establish policies and objectives and to develop ways Environmental Aspects and Evaluation of the Risk of Theirof applying these policies and achieving these objectives. Impacts (CODELCO 2006), providing a detailed and system- ISO 14001 is a detailed document comprising many pages. atic method for assessing environmental risk, which is appliedIt describes systemic, policy, planning, operational, and com- to all projects and activities in the corporation. The directivepliance requirements. Table 16.1-2 outlines those requirements. includes the following steps: ISO 14001 is not a technical standard and thus does not 1. Identification of unit operations or activities, routine andin any way replace technical requirements embodied in stat- nonroutine, past, present, and future.utes or regulations. It also does not set prescribed standards of
Site Environmental Considerations 1647 Identification of Unit Operations or Activities, Routine and Nonroutine, Past, Present, and Future Identification of the Inputs and Outputs for Unit Operations or Activity Identified Identification of the Environmental Aspects for Each Input and Output Identification of the Environmental Impacts Associated with Each Environmental Aspect Identified Determination of the Probability of Occurrence (P) Determination of the Consequences of Occurrence (C) for Each Environmental Impact Identified for Each Environmental Impact Identified Determination of the Environmental Risk Magnitude MRA = P × C Determination of the Significance Level for Each Environmental Aspect Identified 1 ≤ MRA ≤ 8 16 ≤ MRA ≤ 64, or C = 8 The Environmental Aspect Is Not Significant The Environmental Aspect Is Significant Courtesy of CODELCO. Figure 16.1-1 Process for identifying significant environmental aspects 2. Identification of all the inputs and outputs for each unit impacts as the main elements. This allows the direction of the operation or identified activity. process and any associated equipment to achieve common 3. Identification of the environmental aspects associated objectives aligned with the corporate standards. Here, the with the inputs and outputs of each unit operation or iden- term process includes any activity of production, service, or tified activity. administration and is defined as a sequence of activities that 4. Identification of the potential associated environmental effect the transformation of certain inputs, with the use of cer- impacts of each identified environmental aspect. tain resources, labor, goods, and services, to satisfy those who 5. Evaluation of the environmental risk, as determined by receive or use the process output. A process map is defined the probability of occurrence of each potential identified as a diagrammatic representation of a process in the abstract, impact, as a function of its frequency, and the conse- showing connections among constituent activities and flows quences of that impact on the environment, as a function of material, energy, or information, and designed to facilitate of its reversibility and extent. understanding and analysis of the processes. Figure 16.1-1 6. Determination of the magnitude of environmental risk shows a process map for the identification of significant envi- (MRA, for the Spanish magnitud del riesgo ambiental), ronmental aspects. according to the probability and consequences, for each In the identification of unit operations and activities, potential impact identified. when there are areas or activities that are not defined within a 7. Determination of the degree of significance of each envi- specific organizational unit or may be subject to overlapping ronmental aspect, according to the value of the MRA for jurisdictions, the environmental management representative that aspect. in charge of environmental affairs, together with the leaders of those areas or activities, define the allocation of responsibility The directive follows ISO 14001:2004 and distinguishes for assessment of environmental risk.between environmental aspects and environmental impacts. In the identification of inputs and outputs, the responsi-An environmental aspect is an element of the activities, prod- ble personnel examine each unit operation or activity (routineucts, or services of one organization that can interact with the and nonroutine, past, present, and future). They identify allenvironment; environmental impact is any change in the envi- the inputs, including raw materials, resources, consumables,ronment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially intermediate or recycled products, energy, services, and inresulting from environmental aspects of an organization. general everything that the unit operation or activity receives The process begins with generation of the process map from the preceding unit operation. Similarly, they identify allfor each level in a given work center, using the environmental
1648 SME Mining Engineering HandbookTable 16.1-3 Evaluation criteria for the probability of occurrence Table 16.1-4 Evaluation criteria for consequences of theof an environmental impact occurrence of an environmental impact Criterion: Occurrence of the Impact, as a Function Criterion: Description of the Impact Based on Its of Its Frequency Value Reversibility and Extent Value The impact always occurs in association with a given High (8) The alteration of the original environmental conditions is High (8) activity, or the impact happens often or frequently. considered irrecoverable, or the extension of the impact Probability (P ) The impact is expected to occur sometimes, or the Medium (4) exceeds the limits for the area of direct and indirect impact is known to have occurred on some occasions. influence of the project activity, or it significantly alters environmental conditions, and it cannot be attenuated. The impact is expected to occur on one occasion, or Low (2) the impact is known to have occurred on one occasion. The alteration of the original environmental conditions is Medium (4) considered to be 50%–90% recoverable, or the extent Occurrence of the impact is highly unlikely, or the Negligible (1) of the impact does not exceed the limit of the area of impact has never occurred. direct and indirect influence of the project of activity, Consequence (C )Courtesy of CODELCO. or the impact significantly alters or has the potential to alter environmental conditions, but the effects can be mitigated by 50%–90%. The alteration of the original environmental conditions Low (2)the outputs, including products sent to market, intermediate is expected to be minor or transitory, or the possibleproducts, services to third parties, wastes and residues, and in alteration can, with appropriate control measures,general everything that the unit operation or activity delivers be transitory or reduced to minor levels, or the environmental impacts occur only within the companyto subsequent unit operations or activities. The output of one property.unit operation or activity may often be the input to the next The alterations in the original condition will not result Negligible (1)operation. In such cases, the line executive and the environ- in any noticeable changes to the environment, or it willmental management coordinators of both areas must define be possible to minimize any alterations so they will bewhich operation is responsible for the identification of envi- imperceptible, or controlled completely.ronmental aspects and the potential environmental impacts Courtesy of CODELCO.associated with this process flow, including the discharge,transport, required surge storage, and so on. When identifying the environmental aspects, it is importantto consider that different aspects can be associated with each Table 16.1-5 Values for environmental risk magnitudeoperation or activity, not just for those performing the immedi- Consequences (C )ate task but for third parties. An example is the incorrect execu- MRA Negligible (1) Low (2) Medium (4) High (8)tion of a maintenance task, which may have effects on both themaintenance worker and on those who use the equipment after Negligible (1) 1 2 4 8 Probability (P )maintenance. The identification of these environmental aspects Low (2) 2 4 8 16should consider (1) activities of all personnel who have access Medium (4) 4 8 16 32to the workplace, including contractors, suppliers, and visitors;(2) work in areas provided by the company and by third parties; High (8) 8 16 32 64and (3) activities that interact with other resources or protected Courtesy of CODELCO.areas, including tourist attractions, landscapes, or archaeologi-cal, anthropological, historical, or cultural heritage sites. The probability of occurrence of an environmental impact, Table 16.1-6 Significance criteria for environmental aspectsP, is evaluated according to Table 16.1-3, and the conse- Classification of Significance of Environmentalquences of an environmental impact are evaluated according to Environmental Aspect Leading toTable 16.1-4. Next, for each identified environmental impact, MRA = P × C Impact Environmental Impactthe corresponding value in Table 16.1-5 is calculated as the 1–8 Insignificant Insignificantproduct of the probability and the consequence for that impact. Finally, the significance of the environmental aspects that 16–64 Significant Significantgive rise to each environmental impact is determined from Consequence 8 Significant SignificantTable 16.1-6. There are two conditions under which an envi- Courtesy of CODELCO.ronmental aspect is classified as significant: when the MRAis 16 or higher, or when the consequences of an associatedenvironmental impact are high. The sheet, with its first two columns completed, is circu- Figure 16.1-2 shows an example of a worksheet used lated to experts within the company, each of whom assigns ato assess environmental risk by CODELCO’s vice president value of 1, 2, 4, or 8 to the probability and the consequence ofof corporate projects, Office of Sustainable Development each environmental aspect in the second column. This proce-(E. Córdova, personal communication). The first column of dure is similar to that used for hazard identification and riskthe worksheet is prepared by listing every function or activity assessment in the workplace (Chapanis 1986; Colling 1990).associated with a given project, in this case, the development The product of the probability and the consequence agreed onof the Pilar Norte (the North Pillar) sector of the El Teniente for each aspect determines whether the aspect is significant ordeposit. The second column is completed with the environ- insignificant, according to the procedures and criteria describedmental aspects and affected areas for each function or activity previously. Aspects with significant environmental aspects areas identified by project personnel. addressed as priorities in project planning and management.
Site Environmental Considerations 1649Function or Environmental Affected Probability Consequence Magnitude ClassificationActivity Aspect Area Particulate emissions Work area 8 1 8 Not significantOperation of diesel equipment Gas emissions Work area 8 1 8 Not significant Fuel consumption Work area 8 1 8 Not significant Potential for spills Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 SignificantHandling hazardous materials Generation of hazardous solid residues Work area 8 2 16 Significant Welding gas discharge Work area 8 1 8 Not significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantEquipment maintenance and repair Potential for spills of hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 Significant Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 No Significant Generation of non-process wastewater Agua o Suelo 1 4 4 Not significant Generation of trash and other wastes Work area 4 1 4 Not significantInstallation of workplace utilities and structures Generation of any solid residues Work area 4 2 8 Not significant Potable water consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Welding gas discharge Work area 4 1 4 Not significantCivil, mechanical, and electrical area control rooms; emergency Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 Significantdrifts; main electrical room; transformer room; air shaft connections Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significantat level; extraction drift connections at level; hydraulic breakerfoundations and control rooms; fan rooms Water consumption Natural resources 8 1 8 Not significant Potential for spills of hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 Significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantElectical cables, cableways, and lights Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 Significant Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significantInstallation and assembly of ventilation doors Water consumption Natural resources 8 1 8 Not significant Potential for spills of non-hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 Significant Generation of hazardous solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantInstallation of compressed air system Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 Significant Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significantFoundations and other concrete structures for hydraulic breakers Water consumption Natural resources 8 1 8 Not significant Potential for spills of non-hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 Significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantInstallation of hydraulic breakers with hydraulic power systems and Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significantcontrol panels Water consumption Natural resources 8 1 8 Not significant Potential for spills of hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 Significant Potential for spills of non-hazardous materials Work area 4 2 8 Not significantInstallation of fire prevention system Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Water consumption Natural resources 8 1 8 Not significant Emission of welding gases Work area 4 1 4 Not significantInstallation of industrial water system Potential for spills of non-hazardous materials Work area 8 2 16 Significant Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Welding gas discharge Work area 4 1 4 Not significantInstallation of water system for fire control Potential for spills of non-hazardous materials Work area 4 2 8 Not significant Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantInstallation of hydraulic power system Potential for spills of hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 SignificantInstallation of ventilation fans Potential for spills of non-hazardous materials Work area 4 2 8 Not significant Potential for spills of non-hazardous materials Work area 8 2 16 SignificantInstallation of steel arch-type roof supports Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 Significant Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significantModification and reconditioning of equipment washdown areas Water consumption Natural resources 8 1 8 Not significant Potential for spills of hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 Significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantConstruction of civil and electrical maintenance shops Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Potential for spills of hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 Significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantInstallation of bridge crane Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Potential for spills of hazardous materials Ground & air/Work area 4 4 16 Significant Emission of welding gases Work area 4 1 4 Not significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantInstallation of water treatment (de-acidification) plant Electrical energy consumption Ground & air/Work area 4 1 4 Not significant Water consumption Work area 8 1 8 Not significant Potential for spills of hazardous materials Work area 4 4 16 Significant Generation of any solid residues Work area 8 2 16 SignificantInstallation of air compressors and lubrication systems Electrical energy consumption Natural resources 4 1 4 Not significant Potential for spills of hazardous materials Work area 4 4 16 SignificantCourtesy of CODELCO.Figure 16.1-2 Identifying and evaluating environmental effects of projectsENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING Information flow is essential in a sustainable stake-The conveyance of information is critical at all phases of a holder society. Information comes in differentmining project. All of the people and institutions with an inter- forms and is of variable quality. Information aboutest in how the project is conducted should be well informed of a company and its operations is used by a range ofthe ongoing plans for and progress with the project. MMSD actors, such as communities, investors, employees,addressed the issue of access to information in a report titled lenders, suppliers, and customers, often throughBreaking New Ground (MMSD 2002): appropriate accounting and reporting procedures
1650 SME Mining Engineering Handbook based on defined indicators and measurement tech- • The overall mine plan should include consideration of the niques. Within the industry, information is used by requirements of reclamation and restoration. Placement of management to monitor performance efficiency and waste piles, tailings ponds, and similar materials should the impacts of operations. At the exploration phase, be carefully planned to minimize rehandling of material. accurate geoscientific data and maps are crucial. At the same time, other considerations will be specific to a given project. For example, The working group that prepared Breaking New Groundheld a workshop in 2001 in Vancouver. The workshop pro- • Design and location of roads developed for explorationvided the opportunity to discuss the information used in should consider future needs for mining and process-preparing the report and examine how that information was ing. This will minimize unnecessary road building andviewed and handled by the mining industry. It was concluded decrease effects on the local ecosystem; andthat information often fails to flow to communities in a timely • When containment ponds are required for drilling fluidsand transparent fashion, that disclosure practices often fall or cuttings, consideration should be given to the futureshort of current best practice, and that one-size-fits-all systems use of those ponds for tailings impoundment, storm waterof public reporting or a global reporting standard would be an catchment, or settling ponds.extremely difficult initiative to develop. The distinct nature of The mining operation should be thoroughly planned, inspecific mines, projects, companies, locations, and commu- consultation with government agencies and people living innities means that a different mix of indicators, metrics, and the region. Historic, cultural, and biological resources shouldevaluations is needed. One effective way of scoping the need be identified, and plans made for their protection. This is espe-for information around any project is to ask the community cially important in areas where indigenous people have littlewhat they need to know in considering project proposals. exposure to the technologies used in mining. Mining compa- The ISO 14001 standard includes disclosure as an out- nies should take the appropriate steps to ensure that the indig-come of the environmental auditing and management systems. enous people understand the mining plans. The indigenousThe standard mainly addresses internal environmental man- peoples’ values and land-use practices must be understood,agement systems. Certain items within the standard refer in and steps must be taken to protect them. In some locations,general terms to external communications as part of an orga- this will necessitate the involvement of anthropologists, soci-nization’s EMSs. ologists, and other experts. It may also require a planning and There are also voluntary initiatives to standardize the approval process that differs from those to which the companyway corporations convey information. Most closely examined is accustomed. For example, some indigenous peoples makeby the MMSD was the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). It decisions by group consensus, necessitating large communitywas convened in 1997 by the Coalition for Environmentally meetings that may last for several days.Responsible Economies “to make sustainability reporting asroutine and credible as financial reporting in terms of compa- Mine Developmentrability, rigour and verifiability” through “designing, dissemi- Development is the preparation of the facilities, equipment,nating and promoting standardized reporting practices, core and infrastructure required for extraction of the valuable min-measurements and customized sector specific measurements.” eral material. It includes land acquisition, equipment selectionThe GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines suggest that and specification, infrastructure and surface facilities designreports include a CEO statement; key indicators; a profile of and construction, environmental planning and permitting, andthe reporting entity; policies, organization, and management initial mine planning.systems; management performance; operational and product Hunt (1992) provided a useful checklist for mine develop-performance; and a sustainability overview (GRI 2009). ment projects in the form of a questionnaire (see Table 16.1-7). While some aspects of this list are specific to operations inSOUND ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES the United States, its breadth and detail make it a worthwhilePast publications have provided detailed descriptions of envi- resource for almost any mining project. It includes consider-ronmental regulations and permitting procedures for a given ations for projects in areas where no mining has occurred, forlocation―often the United States. In this chapter, a more gen- projects in previously mined areas, and for expansion projectseral approach is taken by describing the principles of sound at operating mines.environmental practice, which can and should be applied in anypolitical jurisdiction. However, some examples of regulations Infrastructure and Surface Facilities Design andand accepted practice are given for illustrative purposes. Construction Before discussing the individual activities involved in Infrastructure and surface facilities may include all of themining, it is important to point out that, in general, mining following:activities should be conducted with the future in mind. Thiswill not only minimize the environmental effects of each • Roads and railroadsactivity, but will also result in significant cost savings. This • Power plants, electric power lines, and substationsapproach will lead to some considerations that are very broad • Fuel supply lines and tank farmsand apply to almost all projects. For example, • Dams, diversions, reservoirs, groundwater well fields, water supply lines, water tanks, and water treatment plants • Government officials and all residents in the area of the • Sewage lines and sewage treatment plants proposed mine should be well informed of and directly • Maintenance shops involved in all project plans from the beginning. Such • Storage sheds and warehouses involvement will help address the concerns of local people • Office buildings, parking lots, shower facilities, and as they occur and may well obviate formal objections when changehouses permit applications are filed; and
Site Environmental Considerations 1651 • Worker accommodations (housing, cafeteria, infirmary, • Identification of possible legal or technical restrictions and recreation facilities) that may make approval difficult or require special atten- • Houses for pumps, fans, and hoists tion in the permitting process • Waste piles and impoundments • Identification of environmental resources information • Ponds for catchment of surface and groundwater, and that will be required and the development of a plan and mine drainage schedule for collection of the required data • Industrial and household waste landfills Development of a comprehensive permit plan during the Six general environmental considerations apply to the initial stages of mine development is critical. The plan shoulddesign and construction of surface facilities and infrastructure: identify predecessor information that must be generated at each stage in the permitting, thereby identifying critical path 1. Select locations of surface structures and infrastructure issues and potential bottlenecks. A Gantt chart is often used to minimize the effects of their construction and use on for this purpose. For example, if the groundwater discharge surface water, groundwater, plant and animal ecosystems, permit for the tailing impoundment takes 2 years, and the and nearby human habitation. Surface structures and design must be submitted with the application, the mine may infrastructure include roads, railroads, and power lines, need to move the “design tailing impoundment” task up on for example. the schedule. It is recommended that an environmental per- 2. Remove and store topsoil for future use from areas that mitting specialist be tasked with preparing the comprehen- will be later reclaimed. sive permit plan. 3. Control runoff so that water exiting the boundaries of the per- After preliminary planning, permit applications must be mitted mine site is captured and treated as required to meet completed. Many jurisdictions require a detailed environmen- applicable discharge standards. Many jurisdictions permit tal audit, which is then described in a report, often called an mines as zero-discharge facilities, meaning that all water or environmental impact statement, or EIS. Depending on local solid waste is contained within the permitted mine area. regulations, the EIS may be issued for public review and com- 4. Protect surface water and wetlands. Because these fea- ment. Topics covered in an EIS usually include the following tures may exist directly over mineral reserves, their relo- 19 areas: cation may be necessary. 5. Revegetate disturbed areas. Recontour the land to a 1. Permits required and permitting status defined standard and revegetate with an approved mix of 2. Ownership of surface and mineral rights seeds and plantings. 3. Ownership of the company or companies that will be 6. Control emissions of dust and noise to meet the require- operating the mine, including contractors ments of local regulations and the reasonable expectations 4. Previous history of the entities described in Item 3 of persons living nearby. In particular, if explosives are 5. Information on archaeological, historical, and cultural used, control air blast and ground vibration as required. resources within the planned mine site and adjacent areas 6. Hydrology of the mine site and adjacent areas, including Specific considerations for some surface facilities or the presence of potential pollutants and plans for dealinginfrastructure include with them • Maintenance shops should be designed to avoid contami- 7. Potential for dust and air pollution, and plans for mitigation nation of soil and water by spilled fuel and lubricants; 8. Plans for use and control of explosives • Surface facilities should be designed to minimize energy 9. Plans for disposal of mine waste, including methods for consumption, using solar water heating and alternative controlling dust generation, slope stability, and seepage electric power generation wherever possible; and of contaminated water • Surface facilities should also be designed architecturally 10. Plans for impoundments, and methods for preventing to harmonize with the natural surroundings in the locale. failure or overtopping 11. Plans for construction of backfilled areas during mining,Environmental Planning and Permitting and for backfilling of mine excavations when mining isThe forward-thinking approach mentioned earlier is espe- finished, including methods for preventing slides or othercially important in environmental planning and permitting. In instabilitythe permitting process, careful planning is imperative, so that 12. Potential for surface subsidence, both immediate andinformation is gathered efficiently, the applications submit- long term, and proposed methods of preventing subsid-ted to regulators meet all requirements, including timely sub- ence or compensating for its negative effectsmission, and mine planning costs are minimized by avoiding 13. Potential for fires in mine workings, at outcrops, and inredesign required after agency review. As pointed out by Hunt spoil piles, and methods for prevention and control of(1992), “One of the most serious deficiencies encountered such firesby many operators in the permitting process is to fail to ade- 14. Planned use of injection wells or other undergroundquately plan the time required to collect baseline data and to pumping of fluidsprovide for public and agency review of applications.” Hunt 15. Information on previous mine workings, plans forgoes on to list the major tasks and activities required during reclaiming previous workings, and description of how theearly phases of environmental planning: planned workings will interact with previous workings 16. Socioeconomic impact analysis • Identification of the regulatory agencies that will be 17. Visual impact analysis responsible for permitting the proposed mining operation 18. Noise impact analysis • Acquisition of all necessary permitting forms and copies 19. Biological assessment and impact analysis of applicable regulations
1652 SME Mining Engineering HandbookTable 16.1-7 Environmental audit checklistCategory Checklist ItemsPermits Provide a list of all permits existing, applied for, and in preparation for the mine. Indicate the current status of each permit. If the mine has National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, air permits, waste permits, water withdrawal permits, or other permits, include a listing of each applicable permit. Are any additional permits required for the facility but not already obtained? Were any citizen protests or comments filed on any of the permits? If so, describe the issues raised. What is the status of the bond on each permit? Indicate the amount of bonding liability under each permit.Surface and mineral rights Is the surface property owned or controlled by the mining company?information Does the mine have a specific written agreement with each surface owner pertaining to and providing applicable rights to the surface? If the mine is an underground mine, do the surface rights specifically include language that says the company has the right to subside? Has the mine ever received any complaints from a surface owner or any of the surrounding landowners? Indicate the nature of any complaint received. With respect to mineral rights, has there ever been a claim made suggesting that the mining company does not have complete and full mineral rights? Have any other entities been granted access rights to the property that may conflict with the rights to extract the mineral (e.g., oil wells, pipelines, utility easements, etc.)?Ownership and violation Is the mine permit held by any company not owned and controlled 100% by the operator?information Is the mine permit being held by an independent contractor? Is the mine operation being conducted by any company not owned and controlled 100% by the permittee? Is the mine being operated by an independent contractor? Give a a brief summary of applicable relation. If the mine is permitted by or being operated by an independent contractor, has a review been completed of the contractor’s violation history with regard to any other mines potentially affiliated with the contractor? If the mine is permitted by or being operated by an entity only partially owned, has a review been completed of the contractor’s violation history with regard to any other mines potentially affiliated with the other parties? How is the relationship between mine personnel and the mine inspectors (excellent, good, poor)? If poor, please describe the problems encountered. Have there been any citizen complaints filed on the mine? If so, please describe the complaints filed.Information on archaeological Within the permit area and adjacent areas, including the area over existing, past, and proposed underground workings,sites, cemeteries, etc. does the mine contain any of the following features? • Are there any federal lands? Indicate the type of federal land involved. • Is there any archaeological or historical site that has been previously identified? Indicate the type of site involved. • Are there public roads where there is not a specific written approval for mining through or under the public road by the agency that has jurisdiction over the road? • Are there occupied dwellings where there is not a specific written waiver from the owner of the occupied dwelling? • Are there any public buildings, schools, churches, community, or institutional buildings? • Are there any public parks? • Are there any public or private cemeteries?Hydrology Has the mine obtained all necessary water discharge permits? Is the mineral being mined associated with potential pollutants, such as high-sulfur-bearing strata? Has the mine ever experienced any difficulties with poor-quality mine drainage? Briefly describe the situation encountered. Does any of the mine water need to be treated to meet effluent limitations or other applicable standards? Has any poor-quality mine drainage been observed on any part of the permit area, in any of the surrounding areas, whether associated with the mine or not? Have any of the surrounding landowners or occupants ever complained about loss of water or the mine contaminating their water supplies? Is the water used by surrounding landowners of poor quality? For example, is the water discolored, does it have a bad odor or bad taste, or are there other problems with water quality in the area? Has the mine ever had any complaints about the water level in streams increasing or decreasing, or the fish population in streams increasing or decreasing? Are there any in-stream treatment facilities or in-stream sediment ponds associated with the mine? Are there any wetland areas, wet areas with cattails, or similar aquatic vegetation that could be considered wetlands, within the vicinity of the mine?Air pollution Has the mine obtained all the necessary quality permits? Have there been complaints about dust or air quality discharges from the mine? Are mine haul trucks covered with tarps to minimize dust and to prevent material from falling off? Is there a program for controlling dust and air pollution from the mine?Explosives Has the mine had any complaints from landowners pertaining to blasting or the use of explosives? Is the mine access limited because of topographic conditions, or is it possible for local people to obtain unauthorized access to the mine site? If it is possible for unauthorized persons to obtain access to the site, what measures are currently taken to control this access? Are any personnel other than trained mine personnel allowed within the mine pit or the mine property in an area that may ever be subject to blasting? (continues)
Site Environmental Considerations 1653Table 16.1-7 Environmental audit checklist (continued)Category Checklist ItemsWaste disposal Does the operation include a facility for the disposal of mine waste? Have there ever been any discolored or bad-quality water seeps from the waste pile? Does the groundwater indicate any levels of pollution from the waste pile? What is the worst-case chemical analysis for the waste material being disposed of at the mine? Have there ever been any signs of slumping or instability of the waste pile? Does the waste pile have any public roads, homes, occupied dwellings, or other structures downstream that could be affected by failure? Is the waste pile routinely inspected and certified by a professional engineer to verify that it is being built in accordance with the approved plan? Are there any abandoned mine waste piles within the vicinity of the mine, including the area overlying underground workings? Do any of the abandoned mine waste piles show any signs of instability or poor mine drainage? Does the disposal of any domestic or other nonmine waste occur within the property boundaries, including the disposal of garbage by mine or nonmine personnel? Has a survey been done to determine whether there is any nonmine waste on the property? Are there any abandoned nonmine waste piles within the mine property? What does the mine do with trash from the mine?Impoundments Are there any large impoundments within the vicinity of the mine or included in the mine permit? Are there any public roads, facilities, dwellings, or other such facilities downstream of an impoundment that could be affected by the impoundment’s failure? If so, briefly describe. Are all impoundments routinely inspected and certified by a professional engineer to verify that they are being built in accordance with the approved plans? Have any of the impoundments ever experienced overtopping?Backfilling Has the mine ever experienced a slide or instability of backfilled material or of outslope material?and slides Does the mine have an excess spoil fill? Does the mine have a durable rock fill? Were any of the fills constructed in a location where there was a stream or running water prior to mining? If the mine is a surface mine, what is the maximum size pit and the size of the total pit currently open for the mine? How many cubic meters (cubic yards) of material would be required if the mine was closed today and the pit had to be backfilled? What is the maximum amount of highwall currently open on the operation, including total length and height? How many cubic yards (cubic meters) of material would be required if the mine was closed today and the highwall had to be completely eliminated?Subsidence Does the mine include longwall or pillar removal mining? Has the mine ever identified any substance subsidence? Have there ever been any complaints by surface owners about surface subsidence? Does the mine have any significant problems with roof or floor control?Mine fires Have there ever been any mine fires, including outcrop fires, identified on the mine property?Underground injections Does the mine have any injection wells or pump any fluids or other material of any type underground? If the mine is an underground mine, has an evaluation ever been completed to determine what will occur after the mine is closed and the mine workings become flooded? If yes, briefly describe the resulting conclusion.Previously mined areas Does the area affected by the mine include a previously mined area? Are there any of the following problems on the previously mined area? • Bad water drainage? • Unstable spoil? • Spoil on the outslope? • Refuse material on the outslope? • Unreclaimed areas where revegetation will be difficult? • Unreclaimed highwall?Miscellaneous How close is the nearest house? Have there been complaints about the use of roads in the area? Has the mine ever received a closure or cessation order? Are there cleaning or other chemical solvents located at the mine? Have all necessary forms been filled out and provided in regard to “right to know” requirements for chemical exposure? Have all transformers or other electrical equipment been checked for polychlorinated biphenyl contamination? Is oil or fuel stored on the property? What types of facilities are provided for oil or fuel storage? Are there any underground storage tanks? Have all such tanks been tested? Are there any oil or gas wells, or similar facilities on the property that could conflict with mining?Source: Hunt 1992.
1654 SME Mining Engineering Handbook Some countries require one comprehensive permit that County, Arizona, about 12.9 km (8 miles) north of Safford. Itaddresses all environmental aspects, but some countries, such comprises four porphyry copper deposits—Dos Pobres, Sanas the United States, require many individual permits cov- Juan, Lone Star, and Sanchez—located along the southwest-ering myriad aspects. The following example illustrates the ern slope of the Gila Mountains north of the Gila River.planning and permitting process for a surface coal mine in the The Phelps Dodge Corporation (PD; now a part ofUnited States. Freeport-McMoRan) acquired an interest in the prop- erty in 1957 and began underground development in 1968.Example 2. Premine Planning and Permitting for Underground activity stopped in 1982, and by 1992 interestSurface Coal Mines in the United States had shifted to the oxide mineralization in the area. By 1994,Table 16.1-8 describes reclamation requirements for sur- PD owned most of these mineral deposits, but some extendedface coal mining based on requirements given in the Surface onto public lands administered by the U.S. Bureau of LandMining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977. Management (BLM). The portions of the deposits on BLMUnder SMCRA, specific requirements are given for obtaining land were controlled by PD through mining claims filed undera mining permit, and formal documents must be filed (CFR the U.S. General Mining Law of 1872 (Cooper 2008).2009). In an effort to consolidate its holdings in the Safford A large amount of information is required for preparation Mining District, PD proposed a land exchange to the BLM,of the reclamation and operations plan. Table 16.1-9 summa- in which PD would acquire public lands (referred to as therizes those requirements. selected lands) within and adjacent to its existing private prop- erty in the mining district in trade for other lands (the offeredGovernment Agency Review of Permit Applications lands) in Arizona currently owned by PD. Both parties signedThe processing of a permit application begins with the sub- an Agreement to Initiate (ATI), which began formal consider-mission of a completed application for a new permit, permit ation of the land exchange.revision, or permit renewal to the regulatory authority and The administration of public lands in the United States isends with the final decision to approve or deny the applica- often controversial, especially in the western states. In mosttion. Agency review begins when the applicant officially files areas, groups of citizens have organized to oppose almostthe permit application. For most permits, after the agency any development on those lands. These groups are often sup-determines the application is complete, they begin the formal ported by large, well-funded environmental organizations,review process, notify affected parties, and begin a public such as the Sierra Club. Before making a decision about thecomment period. In most cases, members of the public will land exchange, the BLM decided to prepare an EIS to complybe able to both submit written comments and request a hear- with provisions of the U.S. National Environmental Policying on the merits of the particular application. If the permit is Act (NEPA). After the parties agreed to formally consider agranted, the operator may be required to post a bond. Upon land exchange, public scoping took place in late fall of 1994approval of the bond, mining operations may commence. and baseline studies commenced. Most agencies will conduct a detailed technical review of Under the U.S. Clean Water Act, the U.S. Army Corps ofeach application received to ensure that all applicable regula- Engineers (ACE) issues permits for the discharge of dredgedtory requirements are met. As part of this technical review, the or fill material into the navigable waters at specified disposalapplicant is notified of any deficiencies identified in the appli- sites. Review of these permits usually requires several monthscation as submitted and provided an opportunity to respond after notice and the opportunity for public hearings. In lateto the agency comments and to correct deficiencies. Failure 1995, ACE stated that it would likely require an EIS as partto provide an adequate response or to correct any permit defi- of its environmental review for a Section 404 permit to imple-ciency could result in denial of the application. ment the foreseeable mining uses if the land exchange was The time required for agency reviews will range from authorized. At about the same time, PD accelerated the plan-a few months to 2–3 years. This time can be even longer in ning and development schedules for the Dos Pobres/San Juanareas where opposition to a project is well coordinated and project.well funded. The permitting for the Safford mine in Arizona, PD submitted a mining plan of operations (MPO) indescribed in detail in this section, took 13 years. Thus it is May 1996, which allowed the BLM, ACE, and EPA (U.S.extremely important that permit applications be prepared with Environmental Protection Agency), as cooperating agencies,great care and reviewed meticulously to minimize delays by to consolidate their respective environmental reviews for thethe agencies. proposed mining activities. The MPO alternative provided In some countries, efforts have been made to speed agency employees and the general public with more informa-up the permit review process. For example, in Chile, when tion regarding the potential effects of the foreseeable miningenvironmental regulations were promulgated in 1994, spe- uses of the selected lands and also conformed to regulations ofcific approval times were specified. The maximum time for the Council on Environmental Quality and the guidelines pub-approval of an Environmental Impact Declaration is 90 days, lished in NEPA’s Forty Most Asked Questions (NEPA 2009).not including the days required for response to questions from In response to PD’s submittal of an MPO, the BLM deter-regulatory agencies. For the more complex environmental mined that the EIS should reflect the fact that an MPO wasimpact study, which requires establishment of baseline stan- now the proposed action and made the land exchange proposaldards and community participation, the maximum is 180 days one alternative to the MPO. The BLM also involved ACE and(República de Chile 2002). EPA as cooperating agencies in the EIS process. The BLM then reinitiated the scoping process begun earlier because sub-Example 3. Freeport-McMoRan’s Safford Mine mittal of the MPO represented a significant change in scopeExploration of the Dos Pobres/San Juan area of the Safford from the original land exchange proposal. In December 1997,Mining District began in about 1940. The district is in Graham The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) became a cooperating
Site Environmental Considerations 1655Table 16.1-8 SMCRA reclamation requirementsRequirement DescriptionOperations plan • The type and method of coal mining, procedures, and proposed engineering techniques; anticipated annual and total production of coal, by tonnage; and the major equipment to be used for all aspects of those operations • The construction, modification, use, maintenance, and removal of the following facilities: retention dams, embankments, and other impoundments; overburden and topsoil handling and storage areas and structures; coal removal, handling, storage, cleaning, and transportation areas and structures; spoil, coal processing waste, and noncoal waste removal, handling, storage, transportation, and disposal areas and structures; mine facilities; and water and air • Existing structures proposed to be used in connection with or to facilitate the surface coal mining and reclamation operation • Blasting practices and blast monitoring systemMaps Locations of • Lands proposed to be affected throughout the operation and any change in a facility or feature to be caused by the proposed operations • Buildings, utility corridors, and facilities to be used • The area of land to be affected within the proposed permit area, according to the sequence of mining and reclamation • Each area of land for which a performance bond or other equivalent guarantee will be posted • Each coal storage, cleaning, and loading area • Each topsoil, spoil, coal waste, and noncoal waste storage area • Each water diversion, collection, conveyance, treatment, storage, and discharge facility to be used • Each air pollution collection and control facility • Each source of waste and each waste disposal facility relating to coal processing or pollution control • Each facility to be used to protect and enhance fish and wildlife and related environmental values • Each explosives storage and handling facility • Each sedimentation pond, permanent water impoundment, coal processing waste bank, and coal processing waste dam and embankment, and fill area for the disposal of excess spoilAir pollution control plan Description of fugitive dust control practices and a monitoring program to provide sufficient data to evaluate the effectiveness of the fugitive dust control practices proposed to comply with federal and state air quality standardsFish and wildlife information All listed or endangered species, and all unusual habitats; protective measures to be undertaken during mining and reclamation; and plans for habitat enhancementReclamation plan • A detailed timetable for the completion of each major step in the reclamation plan • A detailed estimate of the cost of reclamation of the proposed operations required to be covered by a performance bond, with supporting calculations for the estimates • A plan for backfilling, soil stabilization, compacting, and grading, with contour maps or cross sections that show the anticipated final surface configuration of the proposed permit area • A plan for removal, storage, and redistribution of topsoil, subsoil, and other material • A demonstration of the suitability of topsoil substitutes or supplements, based on analysis of the thickness of soil horizons, total depth, texture, percentage of coarse fragments, pH, and areal extent of the different kinds of soils • A plan for revegetation including, but not limited to, descriptions of the revegetation schedule; the species and amounts per acre of seeds and seedlings to be used; methods to be used in planting and seeding, mulching techniques, and irrigation (if appropriate); pest and disease control measures, if any; measures proposed to be used to determine the success of revegetation; a soil testing plan for evaluation of the topsoil results; and the handling and reclamation procedures related to revegetation • A description of the measures to be used to maximize the use and conservation of the coal resource • A description of measures to be employed to ensure that all debris, acid-forming and toxic-forming materials, and materials constituting a fire hazard are disposed of properly, and a description of the contingency plans that have been developed to preclude sustained combustion of such materials • A description, including appropriate cross sections and maps, of the measures to be used to seal or manage mine openings, and to plug, case, or manage exploration holes, other boreholes, wells, and other openings within the proposed permit area • A description of steps to be taken to comply with the requirements of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other applicable air and water quality laws and regulations, and health and safety standards • Description of the land use within the proposed mining area before mining, and of the proposed land use after mining and reclamation are complete • A general plan and a detailed design plan for each proposed siltation structure, water impoundment, and coal processing waste bank, dam, or embankment within the proposed permit area, and of the plans for removing each such structureHydrology • Sampling and analysis methodology • Baseline information • Groundwater information, including the location and ownership for the permit and adjacent areas of existing wells, springs, and other groundwater resources; seasonal quality and quantity of groundwater and usage. Water quality descriptions shall include, at a minimum, total dissolved solids or specific conductance, pH, total iron, and total manganese. • Surface water information, including the name, location, ownership, and description of all surface water bodies such as streams, lakes, and impoundments; the location of any discharge into any surface water body in the proposed permit and adjacent areas; and information on surface water quality and quantity sufficient to demonstrate seasonal variation and water usage • Baseline cumulative impact area information • Alternative water source information • Probable hydrologic consequences determination • Cumulative hydrologic impact assessment • Hydrologic reclamation plan • Groundwater monitoring plan • Surface water monitoring plan (continues)
1656 SME Mining Engineering HandbookTable 16.1-8 SMCRA reclamation requirements (continued)Requirement DescriptionGeology • Sufficient detail to assist in determining the probable hydrologic consequences of the operation on the quality and quantity of surface and groundwater in the permit and adjacent areas, including the extent to which surface water and groundwater monitor- ing is necessary; all potentially acid- or toxic-forming strata down to and including the stratum immediately below the lowest coal seam to be mined; and whether reclamation can be accomplished and whether the proposed operation has been designed to prevent material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area, including, at a minimum, the following: A description of the geology of the proposed permit and adjacent areas down to and including the deeper of either the stratum immediately below the lowest coal seam to be mined or any aquifer below the lowest coal seam to be mined that may be adversely impacted by mining. The description shall include the areal and structural geology of the permit and adjacent areas, and other parameters that influence the required reclamation and the occurrence, availability, movement, quantity, and quality of potentially impacted surface and groundwaters. • Analyses of samples collected from test borings, drill cores, or fresh, unweathered, uncontaminated samples from rock outcrops from the permit area, down to and including the deeper of either the stratum immediately below the lowest coal seam to be mined or any aquifer below the lowest seam to be mined that may be adversely impacted by mining. The analyses shall result in the following: (a) logs showing the lithologic characteristics including physical properties and thickness of each stratum and location of groundwater where occurring; (b) chemical analyses identifying these strata that may contain acid- or toxic-forming or alkalinity-producing materials and to determine their content, except that the regulatory authority may find that the analysis for alkalinity-producing materials is unnecessary; and (c) chemical analyses of the coal seam for acid- or toxic-forming materials, including the total sulfur and pyritic sulfur, except that the regulatory authority may find that the analysis of pyritic sulfur content is unnecessary.Diversions Stream channel and other diversions to be constructed within the proposed permit area, including maps and cross sectionsProtection of area Measures that will be taken to protect any publicly owned parks and historic places within the proposed permit areaPublic and private interests Description, including appropriate maps and cross sections, of measures that will be taken to ensure that the interests of the public and landowners affected are protected if during mining the operator undertakes the relocation or use of public roadsDisposal Description, including appropriate maps and cross-sectional drawings, of methods for disposal of excess spoil, including the proposed disposal site, the design of the spoil disposal structures, the removal, if appropriate, of the site and structures, and any requisite geotechnical investigationRoads Description, including plans and drawings, for each road to be constructed, used, or maintained within the proposed permit areaSource: CFR 2009.agency in the preparation of this EIS, specifically to contribute The draft EIS informed readers that the 60-day commentits expertise in the areas of Indian trust resources and tribal period would end on November 25, 1998. During this period,consultation. Protection of groundwater resources was of par- BLM received three requests by electronic or regular mail forticular interest to the Indian (indigenous) people in the project an extension of the comment period. BLM notified these threearea. requesters via electronic mail and the public at large by a notice In September 1998, the draft EIS was published. It was published in the Federal Register on November 30, 1998, thatmore than 400 pages long (not including seven appendices), the comment period was being extended until December 18,and included 108 tables and 73 figures. It addressed the scop- 1998. The public was notified of a second extension of the com-ing issues shown in Table 16.1-10. The EIS also identified the ment period until January 29, 1999, through a notice printed inlaws, regulations, and other government actions applicable to the Federal Register on December 18, 1998. Thus, the publicthe project, including nine federal acts, five federal executive comment period lasted a total of 127 days.orders, six federal land-use or management plans, and twelve Three public open house meetings lasting 4 hours eachstate and local laws. were held at BLM field offices in Safford, Tucson, and A groundwater model and the Model, Monitor, and Phoenix on, respectively, October 27, 28, and 29, 1998.Mitigate program for groundwater protection were prepared. Representatives from the BLM, ACE, and EPA were presentBoth documents were reviewed at length by the BLM’s in each meeting. A total of 212 members of the public attendedhydrologist, the BIA, and a consultant retained by the BIA. the three meetings. A tribal open house meeting was held onHowever, the agencies disagreed on these and other issues, December 4, 1998, on the San Carlos Apache reservation andand the BIA withdrew as a cooperator in June 2000, without was attended by 23 persons representing the tribe. Graphicfacilitating consultations with Indian tribes regarding poten- depictions of the mine layout and selected and offered lands,tial impacts to trust resources. In April 2001, BLM reinitiated a summary of the impacts of the project, and self-addresseddirect consultations with the Gila River Indian Community comment sheets were available to the public at these meetings.and the San Carlos Apache Tribe, which continued throughout Within the comment period, BLM received 269 letters onthe preparation and evaluation of the EIS. the draft EIS including two letters originally sent to ACE. Of Publication of the draft EIS was followed by a 60-day the total, 127 letters were from private individuals and 142 werepublic comment period that was extended twice, and during from persons representing organizations, groups, businesses, orwhich public and tribal open house meetings were held in four agencies. The BLM identified 650 comments in these letters.locations. Notices were published in the Federal Register and All comments made in the letters were addressed byin the Eastern Arizona Courier. BLM. Those comments, and the responses to them, were
Site Environmental Considerations 1657Table 16.1-9 Information needed to prepare reclamation and operations plans for surface coal mining in the United States Natural Factors Cultural FactorsTopography Geology Location Type, intensity, and value of use Relief Stratigraphy Accessibility Agricultural Slope Structure Travel distances ForestryClimate Geomorphology Travel times Recreational Precipitation Chemical nature of overburden Transportation networks Residential Wind patterns and intensity Coal characterization Site size and shape Commercial Humidity Soils Surrounding land use Industrial Temperature Agricultural characteristics Current Institutional Climate type • Texture Historical Transportation/utilities Growing season • Structure Land-use plans Water Microclimatic characteristics • Organic matter content Zoning ordinances Population characteristicsAltitude • Moisture content Land ownership PopulationExposure (aspect) • Permeability Public Population shiftsHydrology • pH Commercial or industrial Population density Surface hydrology • Depth to bedrock Private or residential Age distribution • Watershed considerations • Color Type, intensity, and value of use Number of households • Flood plain delineations Engineering characteristics Agricultural Household size • Surface drainage patterns • Shrink–swell potential Forestry Average income • Runoff amounts and qualities • Wetness Recreational Employment Groundwater hydrology • Depth to bedrock Residential Educational levels • Groundwater table • Erodibility Commercial • Aquifers • Slope Industrial • Groundwater flow amounts and • Bearing capacity Institutional qualities • Organic layers • Recharge potential Terrestrial ecology Natural vegetation • Characterization • Uses and survival needs Crops Game animals Resident and migratory birds Rare and endangered species Aquatic ecology Aquatic animals Aquatic plants Aquatic life systems • Characterization • Uses and survival needsSource: Adapted from Ramani et al. 1990.organized into 14 categories. Discussion of the categories and The BLM determined that all the issues and comments raisedthe responses to the letters required 95 pages in the EIS. A in the late letters had already been raised by other commentersreview of that material showed that those letters came from and were being considered in the preparation of the final EIS.the following sources: In August 2001, PD submitted an updated MPO that addressed several concerns raised during the draft EIS pub- • Fifteen from other government agencies, requesting clari- lic comment period. Specifically, PD modified the crushing, fication or further response to specific issues pretreatment, and material handling elements of the MPO to • Seven from individuals, objecting to specific aspects of reduce impacts and increase the efficiencies of the ore produc- the project or to the project in general tion processes. As a result of PD’s continuing optimization • Five from nongovernmental organizations, objecting to efforts, the projected water usage, truck haulage and associ- specific aspects of the project or to the project in general ated air emissions, tank storage, and sulfuric acid truck deliv- • Five from Indian tribes or related organizations, object- eries were meaningfully reduced. ing to specific aspects of the project or to the project in In July 2004, the BLM issued a Record of Decision general (ROD) in favor of the land exchange, allowing the project to • One from an Indian tribe stating no objection to the move forward (BLM 2004). In August the San Carlos Apache project Tribe and Western Mining Action Project (WMAP) claimed • One from PD, requesting clarification or further response that the land exchange between BLM and PD did not benefit to specific issues the public interest and should not take place, and both partiesThe remaining 235 letters expressed support for the project or filed protests to the ROD. WMAP claimed that BLM failed tofor the proposed land exchange. meet its responsibility to ensure that springs and water holes In addition to the 269 letters received during the comment will not be dewatered, instead saying, “Groundwater pumpingperiod, 24 letters were received after the close of the extended and aquifer drawdown from the proposed mine will signifi-comment period on January 29, 1999. These letters are not cantly reduce and/or eliminate a number of springs and waterincluded in the official administrative record for this project; holes in the area” (Jones 2004a). The same groups also ques-however, all were read by BLM and analyzed for comments. tioned the validity of PD’s mining claims on selected lands
1658 SME Mining Engineering HandbookTable 16.1-10 Scoping issues addressed in the Dos Pobres/San Juan Environmental Impact StatementLand Use Physical Resources Biological Resources Cultural Resources Socioeconomic Resources Indian Trust ResourcesPublic lands management Climate Vegetation Archaeological Population and Indian trust assets resources demographicsAccess and recreation Air quality Wildlife resources Traditional cultural Local and regionalEncumbrances Geology Special interest properties economy species/critical habitatAgriculture and grazing Soil Infrastructure BiodiversityMineral rights Groundwater quality/ Transportation quantitySurface water rights Surface water quality/Noise and vibrations quantity (includingVisual resources legally constituted surface waters of theHazardous materials United States)Source: Data from BLM 2004.in the Gila Mountains, saying the validity of the claims was One example of these organizations is Earthworks,assumed by BLM when it prepared the EIS and the ROD. The which is “a non-profit organization dedicated to protect-WMAP protest accused BLM of basing the EIS and ROD on ing communities and the environment from the destructivethe assumption that the mine was going to be built “without impacts of mineral development, in the U.S. and worldwide”determining if the projects would comply with federal law” (Earthworks 2009). Earthworks is the sponsor of the No Dirty(Jones 2004b). Gold campaign, which has organized opposition to mines By September, BLM had responded to the protests and proposed in Canada, Costa Rica, Ghana, Papua New Guinea,allowed the ROD to stand. PD proceeded to file for air qual- Peru, Romania, and the United States (No Dirty Gold 2009).ity and aquifer protection permits and began the final feasi- The No Dirty Gold campaign has been particularly effective inbility study for the project (Stockton 2005). The feasibility persuading prominent retail jewelers to pledge not to use goldstudy was completed in 2006. Construction at the site began produced from mines that the campaign judges to be noncom-in June of 2007, and the first cathode copper was produced on pliant with its “Golden Rules,” which are as follows:December 31, 2007 (Cooper 2008). 1. Respect basic human rights outlined in international con- ventions and law.Public Participation in the Review of Permits 2. Obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of affectedThe environmental regulations in most jurisdictions pro- communities.vide an opportunity for public participation in the permitting 3. Respect workers’ rights and labor standards, includingprocess. Notice of the submittal of the permit application is safe working conditions.usually advertised locally, with information provided on the 4. Ensure that operations are not located in areas of armedschedule for public comment, the availability of the applica- or militarized conflict.tion for public review, and the location where comments may 5. Ensure that projects do not force communities off theirbe submitted and hearings requested. lands. Interested persons or organizations, particularly those 6. Ensure that projects are not located in protected areas,who may be adversely affected by a proposed mine, have the fragile ecosystems, or other areas of high conservation orright to submit comments and objections to the issuance of the ecological value.permit during the public comment period. Requests for hear- 7. Refrain from dumping mine wastes into the ocean, rivers,ings or conferences on the application must also be submitted lakes, or streams.within the time provided for public comment. In most juris- 8. Ensure that projects do not contaminate water, soil, or airdictions, affected persons who file comments on the applica- with sulfuric acid drainage or other toxic chemicals.tion, and the applicant if the permit is denied, may appeal the 9. Cover all costs of closing down and cleaning up mineagency’s decision through an administrative or judicial hear- sites.ing. In an administrative hearing, evidence will be accepted, 10. Fully disclose information about social and environmen-and the administrative law judge or review panel will render tal effects of projects.a decision to uphold or overrule the agency determination. 11. Allow independent verification of the above (No DirtyAdditional appeals from a final administrative decision can be Gold 2009).brought to appropriate state or federal courts if desired by anadversely affected party. Clearly, these rules are quite similar to the principles Recently, there has been an increase in opposition to of sustainability adopted by ICMM. However, some of themining projects in developing countries, from individu- rules are particularly difficult for mine operators. For exam-als and environmental organizations in developed countries. ple, Rules 4, 5, and 6 offer no consideration of the fact thatThese organizations are well funded and expert in using legal ore deposits are located without respect to political condi-maneuvering to delay or prevent projects they oppose. Legal tions, protected areas, or human communities. Similarly,delays are but one tactic used to prevent development projects the independent verification in Rule 11 may be difficult(Olpin 1991). to attain. Career environmentalists are often mistrustful of
Site Environmental Considerations 1659government agencies and mining company personnel, so agreements address shared responsibility for train-“independent verification” implies inspection and approval ing, employment and business participation.by someone selected by the environmental organizations.Unfortunately, these organizations do not get increased The negotiations with indigenous communities werefinancial support by giving approval to mining and other conducted according to the traditions of those communi-resource development projects; quite the contrary, a mining ties. Diavik’s representatives met with each communitycompany may be reluctant to allow “independent verifica- and discussed all the issues until a consensus was reached.tion” of this type. Reportedly, this sometimes took several days (R. Davey, per- The direct involvement of organizations like Earthworks, sonal communication).Greenpeace, Oxfam, and others in the permitting process Diavik’s commitment to community development andmakes it even more important for mining companies to form investment is evident in the Diavik Socio-Economic Monitoringgood relationships with local people and governments well Agreement (SEMA), which was formalized in 1999 betweenbefore permit applications are filed. An excellent example of Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. and the Government of Northwesta project where this was done successfully is the Diavik dia- Territories. The agreement was ratified by local indigenousmond mine, described in the following example. communities and outlines Diavik’s commitment to provide training, employment, and business opportunities to north-Example 4. Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. erners and, more specifically, indigenous northerners. DiavikThe Diavik diamond mine operates in the Northwest Territories individualized these commitments through participation agree-of Canada, one of the most untouched and ecologically sensi- ments negotiated with each of the same five aboriginal groupstive environments in the world. The mine is surrounded by (Diavik 2009b):tundra and is home to bears, wolverines, and migrating cari- 1. Tlicho Governmentbou. The water of nearby Lac de Gras is exceptionally pure 2. Yellowknives Dene First Nationand hosts many species of fish and birds. 3. North Slave Metis Alliance Development of the Diavik mine required about 10 years. 4. Kitikmeot Inuit AssociationThe first claims were staked in 1991 and 1992. Sampling and 5. Lutsel K’e Dene First Nationexploration continued, and Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. wasformed in 1996. In 1997, baseline environmental studies were Commitments under SEMA are reported publicly twice acompleted. As required by Canadian law, a project descrip- year. Diavik has consistently exceeded expectations outlinedtion was submitted in March 1998, and the environmental in SEMA:assessment report followed in September of the same year. • Diavik committed to supporting a 40% northern workRegulatory and financial approvals were given in 1998 and force during construction. At its conclusion, Diavik hadproduction began in 2003. reached 44% northern employment. In planning the mine, Diavik consulted extensively with • Diavik committed to reaching levels of northern pur-local communities about its operation and effects. Diavik chasing of 38% during construction. At its conclusion,is committed to providing training, employment, and busi- Diavik had actually reached 74%, representing aboutness opportunities to residents in local communities of the Can$900 million (US$853 million) in contracts withNorthwest Territories and the West Kitikmeot region of northern companies, of which approximately $600 mil-Nunavut, ensuring that it leaves a legacy of economically and lion was with indigenous companies.socially stable local communities in the region. The process • During operations, Diavik had committed to purchasingfollowed in developing agreements with indigenous peoples 70% of its annual requirements for goods and servicesis described by Prest (2002): from northern companies. • For operations, Diavik committed to 66% northern At the start, we developed a shared vision with our employment and 40% indigenous employment for its communities with regards to project development. operations. In 2007, Diavik’s work force averaged As part of that vision, right from the beginning we 785 people, 67% of whom were northern, with one-half integrated social and environmental dimensions into being indigenous. our project plans. We had regular meetings with our all neighbor- The mine meets its environmental protection commit- ing aboriginal and other communities. We incorpo- ments through a comprehensive management system. This rated traditional knowledge learned from community system is ISO 14001:2004 certified and is responsible for elders and members. We are proud to say that infor- managing environmental protection activities, ensuring that mation learned from our aboriginal communities has all employees are properly trained, anticipating and avoiding definitely led to a better designed project. environmental problems, ensuring regulatory compliance and As a third step in the engagement process, we due diligence, and ensuring consistency with the corporate entered into a number of formal agreements for the environmental policy of the company (Diavik 2009a). project. There are three legs to this framework, the Diavik has several active programs that contribute to Environmental Agreement, the Socio-Economic environmental protection and sustainable development val- Monitoring Agreement, and, separate Participation ues. In some cases, the measures taken in these programs go Agreements with each of our five aboriginal groups. beyond the strict legal requirements that apply to the project [Diavik’s] Participation Agreements are legally area. The programs include the following: binding, private contracts which contain mutually • Caribou management. A small portion of the Bathurst beneficial provisions for both the company and caribou herd passes through the Lac de Gras region during individual aboriginal communities. Parts of these
1660 SME Mining Engineering Handbook spring and fall migrations. To protect caribou passing near specifically to the planning of the mine workings, including the mine, haul roads display advisory signs to ensure that gaining access to the mineral deposit, removing the valu- caribou and other wildlife have the right of way. Diavik able mineral, and handling any waste material produced. The annually monitors the caribou within the region, with the activity as comprehended here also includes tasks described assistance of elders from local indigenous communities. as mine design. Although the details of these processes are • Water quality management. During early meetings with described in the next section, planning for them is begun in the local communities, the indigenous people emphasized the development stage, and is thus discussed at this point. importance of preserving water quality in the lakes and In mine planning, the specific day-to-day operations of drainage. Diavik constructed an extensive water collection the mine are set out, analyzed, and documented. Mine plan- system to help protect the surrounding lake waters. Sumps, ning continues throughout the life of every mine to account pipe networks, storage ponds, and reservoirs collect runoff for changing geologic and economic conditions. The objec- water, which is used in processing and can then be treated tive of mine planning at each point in time is to determine before release to the environment. In addition, the Aquatic the manner in which the mine should be operated to opti- Effects Monitoring Program ensures that lake water is mize the goal(s) of the operating entity, usually the return on regularly sampled and analyzed at set locations over the investment. Although mine planning varies with site-specific complete range of depth, in all seasons of the year. conditions, the following points must be determined in the • Fish habitat. The mine constructed rock-fill dikes to initial plan, and continually reevaluated throughout the life access the three ore bodies under the lake, so that mining of the mine: operations occupy less than 0.5% of the area of Lac de • The extent of the mineral deposit Gras. However, even this small area removed some fish • The market for anticipated products of the mine habitat, so Diavik constructed a coarse rock-fill area on • The manner in which the deposit will be accessed for the outside of one dike to provide new fish habitat. During extraction mining, rock shoals are constructed inside the dike area; • The equipment and personnel that will be used for when the mine closes, these will become fish habitat. The extraction area behind the dikes will be flooded, the dikes will be • The operating sequence for extraction breached to locate islands, and the area returned as part of • The disposition of extracted material, both waste and Lac de Gras. Thus there will be no net loss of fish habitat, valuable mineral as required by Canadian fisheries regulations. • The interactions of mine workings with adjacent or over- • Progressive reclamation. The progressive reclamation lying areas and properties practiced at Diavik uses knowledge gained through com- munity consultation to prepare the mine site for eventual Initial mine planning will obviously take place concur- closure. Some examples include the contouring of country rently with the environmental planning and permitting, and rock piles to create smooth hills that allow caribou safe the consideration of environmental consequences of the initial access, and the creation of new fish habitat. Revegetation mine plan will be included in this process. studies and waste rock management projects are also being conducted. Extraction • Closure security. Diavik is committed to complete Mining methods may be classified according to a variety of closure of the mine site. It has committed a substantial schemes. Here it is convenient to distinguish surface mining, amount of financial security to guarantee full closure underground mining, aquatic or marine mining, and solution when mining ceases, as established in the environmental mining. Solution mining is the removal of valuable minerals agreement. The value of this security is revised regularly from in-place deposits by dissolving the mineral in a suitable to adjust for the projected environmental liability and its liquid that is then removed for recovery of the desired con- associated cost of closure versus efforts the company has stituent. It may also be called in-situ mining or in-situ leach- made to progressively reclaim the site. ing. Solution mining uses techniques similar to those used • Sustainable development research. Diavik is cooperat- in the extraction of petroleum and natural gas, and is thus ing with Canadian universities and researchers in numer- not discussed further in this chapter. The operational details ous scientific studies of the environment and geology and environmental considerations of surface mining, under- at the mine site. Recent studies have included research ground mining, and aquatic or marine mining are discussed into effects of mine blasts on fish, evaluations of poten- separately. tial plant species for reclamation, and monitoring of dust distribution using lichen as a bioindicator. The results of Surface Mining these research projects are published regularly and are Surface mining is the removal of material from the earth in available on the Internet (Diavik 2009b). Research results excavations that are open to the surface. In some cases, mate- are routinely incorporated into operating and reclamation rial is removed directly from the earth’s surface; for example, practices at the site. Diavik is also examining the effect of sand and gravel may be removed directly from deposits of the arctic climate on diamond waste rock piles, an area of those materials put in place by ancient lakes or rivers. In other which little is known. This research will facilitate long- cases, material that has no economic value (overburden) cov- term protection of the environment and has long-term ers the valuable material and must be removed. applications throughout the world. A typical operational cycle for surface mining, described in detail by Saperstein (1992), is as follows:Mine Planning 1. Install erosion and sedimentation controls.All of the development activities described to this point con- 2. Remove topsoil from areas to be mined.stitute mine planning. However, the term as used here refers
Site Environmental Considerations 1661 3. Prepare the first drill bench by leveling the bench with a streams, damage wildlife habitat, and cause flooding that bulldozer, inspecting and scaling the highwall as required, endangers wildlife and humans living near the mine. and laying out the blastholes. • Consider the effects of increased traffic to and from the 4. Drill the blastholes. mine site, especially when product haulage will result in 5. Blast the rock. a marked increase in heavy truck traffic. 6. Load the fragmented material. 7. Haul the fragmented material—waste to the waste dumps Underground Mining and product to the load-out for sale or to subsequent Underground mining is the removal of material from the processing. earth in excavations below the earth’s surface. Access to such 8. Manage the waste dumps as required by contouring waste underground workings may be gained through a drift or adit, piles to a stable configuration or returning waste to mine a shaft, or a slope. Drifts and adits are horizontal tunnels, usu- workings for use in reclamation. ally in a hillside, that connect to the mineral deposit. In the 9. Prepare mine workings for reclamation by case of minerals like coal that occur in seams (near-horizontal a. Recontouring to the original contour, or to another deposits of fairly uniform thickness and considerable areal approved and stable configuration. extent), the drift may be developed in the mineral itself. Travel b. Returning the stored topsoil to the mine site and in drifts is by rail or rubber-tired vehicles. Shafts are vertical spreading it uniformly on the recontoured surfaces. tunnels developed from the surface to access mineral bodies10. Reclaim the prepared surfaces by below. Travel in shafts is by cages or cars, which are lowered a. Revegetating with an approved mixture of seeds and and raised by a mechanism on the surface, similar to elevators plantings. in tall buildings. Slopes are tunnels neither vertical nor hori- b. Irrigate and maintain revegetated areas as required zontal and may be lineal or spiral. Travel in lineal slopes may until a stable condition is reached. be by rubber-tired vehicles or hoists but rarely by rail. Travel11. Remove temporary drainage controls and stream diversions. in spiral slopes (also called ramps) is by rubber-tired vehicles. The environmental considerations that must be addressed Saperstein (1992) has described in detail a typical opera-during surface mining include the following: tional cycle for underground mining in which material is frag- mented by drilling and blasting, as summarized: • Control drainage from mine workings to avoid contami- nation of surface water, groundwater, and the existing 1. Enter the workplace after the previous blasting round is ecosystem. Treatment may be required to remove particu- detonated. lates or chemical contamination. 2. Ensure that the workplace is in good condition and safe for • Control inflow or surface water and storm runoff so these continued work by checking that ventilation is adequate waters are not contaminated by passing through the mine and that blasting fumes have been removed; providing for workings. dust suppression; checking for the presence of hazardous • Carefully analyze the groundwater regime in and around gases; and inspecting for and removing loose material. the mine workings, and provide monitoring wells as 3. Load the fragmented material. required. In some cases, it may be advisable to minimize 4. Haul the fragmented material to the appropriate location. the interaction of the mine workings with groundwater 5. Install ground support as required. by pumping out the aquifers in and around the mine. 6. Extend utilities as required: ventilation, power (electric- There are many potential uses for this water. For exam- ity or compressed air), and transportation. ple, it might be used in the processing of ore, discharged 7. Survey and drill blastholes for the next round. directly to surface drainages or discharged to constructed 8. Load the explosives and connect the detonation system. wetlands on the surface. 9. Leave the workplace and detonate the round. • Consider the formation of “pit lakes” when mined-out This cycle is typical for the mining of narrow, steeply dipping surface workings fill with water. This water, which may veins (typical of metal ores), and for massive deposits of lime- originate from surface runoff or flow from underground stone, salt, and dimension stone, where the vertical extent of aquifers, may become acidified or otherwise contami- the valuable mineral is 6 m (6.6 yd) or higher. nated, and the effects of such contamination on the envi- The operational cycle for methods in which material is ronment (including wildlife, plant life, and humans) must mechanically fragmented and removed in a continuous pro- be managed. cess may be similarly summarized: • Design and construct waste dumps and tailing impound- ments to minimize erosion and protect surface and 1. Enter the workplace after the required ground support has groundwater. been installed. • Control emissions of dust and noise to meet the require- 2. Ensure that the workplace is in good condition and safe ments of local regulations and the reasonable expectations for continued work by checking that ventilation is ade- of persons living nearby. In particular, if explosives are quate and that blasting fumes have been removed; pro- used, control air blast and ground vibration as required. viding for dust suppression; checking for the presence of • When mining is done at night, consider the effects of arti- hazardous gases; and inspecting for and removing loose ficial light on wildlife and humans living near the mine. material. • Control slope stability and landslides. Of course, this is 3. Cut and load the fragmented material until the limit for also necessary for successful mining operations, but inad- advance is reached. equate control of slope stability may also lead to environ- 4. Concurrently, haul the fragmented material to the appro- mental damage. Slope failure may block or contaminate priate location.
1662 SME Mining Engineering Handbook 5. Remove fragmentation, loading, and hauling equipment is almost always a type of bucket or shovel. In the simplest from the workplace. case, it may be a metal bucket moved by chains or steel cables 6. Install ground support as required. that are attached to a pole. The bucket is dropped through the 7. Extend utilities as required: ventilation, power (electric- water and into the solid material on the bottom. As the bucket ity or compressed air), and transportation. is retracted, its weight and trajectory force its leading edge 8. Survey as required to ensure that the mined opening is into the solid material, and the bucket fills. When the bucket maintaining the required dimensions and directional comes to the surface, it is emptied. This type of dredge is usu- orientation. ally installed on the shore near a body of water that covers a valuable mineral deposit.This cycle is typical for mining in near-level seams of rela- More complex dredge mechanisms attach several bucketstively soft material that have considerable areal extent and are to a wheel or a ladder. A ladder is a structure designed to sup-thinner than 6 m (6.6 yd), such as coal, trona, phosphate, and port a series of buckets attached to a chain, which moves con-potash. tinuously in a loop. Both mechanisms are usually installed in a Seven environmental considerations must be addressed floating vessel, the dredge. While moving, the bucket wheel orduring underground mining: the dredge ladder is lowered into the unconsolidated material 1. Locate ventilation fans and hoist houses to minimize the below the surface, picking up that material and returning it to effects of noise on wildlife and humans living nearby. the dredge where it is either further processed or transferred to 2. Whenever possible, dispose of mine waste in under- the shore for further usage. The dredge vessel may operate in ground mine workings. a natural body of water or in an artificial body called a dredge 3. When waste dumps are constructed on the surface, pond. A typical operational cycle for dredging is comprised of design them to minimize erosion and protect surface and the following steps: groundwater. 1. If dredging in a dredge pond, complete subitems a–g; if 4. Control drainage from mine workings to avoid contami- not, proceed to Step 3. nation of surface water, groundwater, and the existing a. Locate a source of water for filling the pond. ecosystem. Treatment may be required to remove particu- b. Install erosion and sedimentation controls, and divert lates or chemical contamination. surface water as required. 5. Control inflow or surface water and storm runoff so these c. Prepare dikes or dams required for the dredge pond. waters are not contaminated by passing through the mine The perimeter of the dredge pond must extend beyond workings. the extent of the mineral to be recovered to allow for 6. Carefully analyze the groundwater regime in and around deposition of overburden or tailings removed in the the mine workings, and provide monitoring wells as first pass of the dredge. required. In some cases, it may be advisable to minimize d. Fill the dredge pond. the interaction of the mine workings with groundwater e. Remove vegetation. by pumping out the aquifers in and around the mine, and f. Remove and stockpile topsoil. discharging the pumped water to constructed wetlands on g. If necessary, remove overburden with excavating the surface. equipment, and place overburden in stable piles. 7. Analyze and predict the subsidence likely to result from h. Proceed to Step 3. mine workings. Design workings to minimize the effects 2. If dredging from the shore, prepare the site for installa- of subsidence on surface structure, utilities, and impor- tion of the dredge mechanism. tant natural features such as lakes, streams and rivers, and 3. Install the dredge. wildlife habitat. 4. Remove by dredging any overburden that was not removed in Step 1g.Aquatic or Marine Mining a. When dredging in a natural body of water, the over-Aquatic or marine mining is the removal of unconsolidated burden will be deposited under the water in an areaminerals that are near or under water, with processes in which from which the valuable mineral has already beenthe extracted mineral is moved by or processed in the associ- removed or in an area under which there is no valu-ated water. This type of mining may also be referred to as allu- able mineral.vial mining or placer mining. The two major types of aquatic b. When dredging in a dredge pond or from the shore,or marine mining are dredging and hydraulicking. the overburden will be deposited beside or behind Materials typically recovered by aquatic or marine min- the dredge in an area from which the valuable min-ing have usually been deposited in fluvial, aeolian, or gla- eral has already been removed or in an area undercial environments, and are thus unconsolidated. They include which there is no valuable mineral. When mining in aaggregate (sand and gravel) and materials deposited because dredge pond, the overburden will for a time be at leastof their relatively high specific gravities. The latter depos- partially under water; when mining from the shore,its are called placers and include native (naturally occurring) it will not. However, in both cases, the overburdenprecious metals, tin (as the oxide cassiterite), heavy mineral will over time drain and be left exposed. It will thussands (oxides of zirconium, hafnium, titanium, and others), require reclamation as described in Steps 12 and 13.and precious stones. In some cases, placer deposits are mined 5. Remove the valuable mineral by dredging.by methods described in the section on surface mining; in 6. Process the valuable mineral as required to concentratesuch cases, the environmental precautions given for those the valuable constituent(s). This processing is almostmethods apply. always done on the dredge and is integrated with the Dredging is the use of a powered mechanism to remove dredging of the material.unconsolidated material from a body of water. The mechanism
Site Environmental Considerations 1663 a. When dredging in a natural body of water, the tail- downstream with serious consequences for agriculture in the ings will be deposited under the water in an area downstream areas. from which the valuable mineral has already been Hydraulicking is still a very inexpensive method for mov- removed or in an area under which there is no valu- ing large volumes of unconsolidated material and is still used able mineral. on a limited basis with five precautions: b. When dredging in a dredge pond or from the shore, 1. Material discharge from a hydraulicking operation must the tailings will be deposited beside or behind the be captured and treated to remove solids, including, in dredge in an area from which the valuable mineral particular, any fine, suspended solids. This will require a has already been removed, or in an area under which settling pond, and chemical flocculants may also be neces- there is no valuable mineral. When mining in a pond, sary. Even water that appears to be clear must be tested by the tailings will for a time be at least partially under appropriate methods and treated on the basis of those tests. water; when mining from the shore, it will not. 2. Tailings, overburden, and deactivated settling ponds must However, in both cases, the tailings will over time be reclaimed appropriately, usually by recontouring and drain and be left exposed. They will thus require rec- revegetation. It may be necessary to remove and stockpile lamation, as described in Steps 12 and 13. topsoil for use in reclamation. Coarse gravel, which may 7. Remove the valuable constituent(s) for sale or further accumulate in separate piles, should receive special atten- processing off-site. tion to ensure it is reclaimed properly. 8. Deposit the tailings under the water in an area from which 3. The area of the mining operation should be isolated from the valuable mineral has already been removed or in an the flow of surface streams and runoff to prevent con- area under which there is no valuable mineral. tamination of those waters. 9. Continue dredging until reaching the limits of the 4. Discharge of water from the hydraulicking operation dredge’s cables and other connections, the limits of the should be managed to prevent interference with the exist- pond, or the boundary of the deposit. ing flow regimes in the drainage. The quantities and10. If dredging in an artificial pond, prepare and fill the next velocities of discharge should not modify the existing pond as in Step 1, and transfer the dredge. If dredging in a stream flow in a manner that will cause erosion, under- natural body of water, move the dredge to the next location. cutting of banks, or flooding.11. Begin dredge operation in the new location by return- 5. Highwalls and embankments produced by hydraulicking ing to Step 3. Simultaneously, and in accordance with the should be reclaimed, again by recontouring and revegeta- approved reclamation plan, reclaim overburden and tailings tion. Even when topsoil is removed and stockpiled, there piles from previous work, according to Steps 12 and 13. may not be enough topsoil for the reclamation required.12. Prepare mine workings for reclamation: In such cases hydroseeding will likely be required. a. Recontour to the original, stable contour, or to another, approved and stable configuration. CONCLUSION b. Return the stored topsoil to the mine site, and spread Activities associated with mining have direct and lasting it uniformly on the recontoured surfaces. effects on both the physical and the human environments. In13. Reclaim the prepared surfaces: the recent past, mining was done with little concern for its a. Revegetate with an approved mixture of seeds and effects on the environment. The consequences of this approach plantings. often resulted in significant damage to the natural environ- b. Irrigate and maintain revegetated areas as required ment. However, as political and cultural norms changed, and until a stable condition is reached. new legal requirements were enacted, almost all major mining14. Remove temporary drainage controls and stream diversions. companies adopted rigorous policies and procedures for sus-There may be considerable variation in the cycle, depending tainability, community engagement, and environmental riskon how the dredge is transported between sites. assessment and mitigation. These companies apply such poli- Hydraulicking is a method of mining placer deposits that cies throughout their operations, many of which are world-was used extensively in the past but has fallen into disfavor wide. In addition, many mining companies work actively tobecause of the potential for serious effects on the stability of remediate environmental damage caused by historic miningthe remaining surface and on nearby surface waters. operations in areas where they have past or current operations. Hydraulicking required a large deposit of auriferous allu- Thus, environmental considerations are an important partvium and a source of water that would provide sufficient vol- of the modern mining industry. These considerations includeume and pressure head. Overburden and pay gravel were both preproject planning, permitting, compliant operation, recla-removed by high-pressure water that flowed through a monitor— mation, and closure. These considerations must be includeda large nozzle that could be rotated horizontally and vertically. in all project planning, and feasibility studies must accountMaterial removed by the flow from the monitor moved to the bot- for the influence of environmental considerations on projecttom of the valley, where the flow was controlled so that overbur- schedules and costs.den passed directly into the stream channel and pay gravel flowedthrough a sluice or similar recovery device for recovery of the REFERENCESore. Tailings from the sluice also flowed into the stream channel. BLM (U.S. Bureau of Land Management). 2004. Dos Pobres/ As mentioned earlier, hydraulicking of the placer gold San Juan Project Record of Decision. www.blm.gov/az/deposits in the famous California Gold Rush of 1849 led to st/en/info/nepa/environmental_library/arizona_resourcesevere contamination of the rivers that drained the area of the _management/dos_pobres.print.html. Accessed Octobergold deposit. 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