British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

From exploration to post-closure : the benefits of using terrain stability assessments in mine life planning Stevens, Victoria; Tashe, Natalie


Terrain stability assessments are an important a planning tool that is used from the routing trails for mineral exploration through construction, to post-closure changes in stability from mining activities. Quantifying landscape stability conditions can influence mine design and reclamation plans, while sitespecific terrain stability assessments for construction of exploration trails and drill pads will help prevent localized instability. Mechanisms of alterations to terrain stability will change through the life of a project, and may include such forces as landscape-level groundwater fluctuations associated with pit dewatering; slope loading resulting from waste rock dumps; subsidence resulting from underground mines, or alterations to hydrologic networks due to infrastructure construction that directs drainage onto downslope terrain. All of these mechanisms can affect reclamation planning and end-land use objectives. The benefits of applying diligent terrain stability assessment protocols are two-fold: economic and environmental. Economic benefits can be derived from lowered project costs for access road maintenance, proactive versus reactive planning, and reduced mitigation and monitoring measures associated with post-closure activities. Environmental benefits include reduced impacts from landslides negatively affecting sensitive receptors such as fisheries habitat or wetland environments, and by preserving soil resources.

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