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Remediation of mines

According to the law, the mine must undergo land reclamation and remediation by the operator. In order to ensure that there is sufficient money to for the land reclamation and remediation work, the operator provides a financial security that is managed by the supervisory authority.

When a mining operations, or parts of a mining operations, has concluded, land reclamation and remediation measures must be undertaken for the purpose of protecting the nature and the environment. Remediation involves several things, including cleaning up and decommissioning the business area or taking care of waste to minimise discharges over time.

The extent or cost of the land reclamation and remediation depends to a large extent lot on the materials broken up by the mining operations. In simple terms, mines and mineral processing with a certain amount of sulphide minerals generally require more extensive remediation measures compared to other mining and mineral processing. This is because some sulphide minerals easily weather in contact with oxygen, which can result in acidic, metal-containing water entering nature. Due to problems with the weathering of sulphide minerals, mining waste containing sulphide minerals is often covered with dense layers of soil or water, so as to limit the availability of oxygen.

Learn more about sulphide minerals

The objective with the land reclamation and remediation to create a long-term stable solution that avoids giving rise to environmental or safety problems for nature or humans. In some cases, the land reclamation can be done with a focus on the goal of re-establishing the original condition, such as a forest. If possible, the operator can establish something of value for the local community, such as a golf course or a park, if the geology allows this. However, the land can never be fully restored to its original condition.

Different techniques and technologies are used to limit discharges. These are described in a land reclamation and remediation plan developed by the operator in dialogue with the supervisory authority. It is the operator who is responsible for carrying out the land reclamation and remediation related to the mining operations. In order to ensure that there is sufficient money to for the land reclamation and remediation work, the operator provides a financial security that is managed by the supervisory authority. Financial security often consists of a bank guarantee, as a kind of insurance. The amount is determined during the examination for the processing of the environmental permit. The responsible party shall update its waste management plan and land reclamation plan, and thus also the financial security, every five years. Financial security can be adjusted if the waste management is to be altered.

Read more about mining waste and waste management

Last reviewed 2022-06-17