British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

The role of good environmental data management in reducing risk, and the challenges involved Ely, P.; Frijs, H.


Most mines are required to monitor their environment to comply with permits and national, international or organisational standards. Is simply meeting these requirements enough to minimise risks? As in financial accounting, appropriate stewardship of environmental data is highly important, not only in its use as information throughout operational lifecycles, but also in the event it is scrutinised, or needs to be relied upon to make a case to stakeholders or regulators, or even defending a case in the unlucky event of an environmental disaster. This paper examines how responsible management of environmental data helps to mitigate risks and improve efficiency, and details some of the specific challenges involved. In the first instance many mines use spreadsheets to store their data. However, large spreadsheets tend to be difficult to manage and, especially, insecure. The first consideration is ensuring data is reliable. This means validation, security and auditability. Other challenges are ensuring monitoring has been completed in accordance with requirements; appropriate calculations completed, reports have been delivered on time, with accurate content and conform with permits and obligations. Adequate visualisation is also vital. Interpretation tools provide meaningful information, especially when comparing baseline readings with current performance and how compliant the operation is.

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