holistic mine closure planning
At Okane, we believe that mine closure can not be approached in a closed silo. Just as mine closure and rehabilitation is heavily impacted by all aspects of an operating mine site, it too will affect the way a mine is operated.
Making sure that closure is included in all aspects of an operation will help developing the best possible outcome for mine closure, reducing future environmental liabilities and costs.
Closure of a given mine site will involve many stakeholders, both internal and external to the operating company. It is important to ensure that all voices are considered when planning for closure in order to help with a smooth transition from operations, to closure activities, to rehabilitation of the site and future land uses. Involving stakeholders earl in the process of closure planning and putting forward an open dialogue will be beneficial to the process itself, showing transparency in the iterative process undertaken to reach a positive outcome for all involved.
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis
An FMEA is a top-down / expert-system approach to risk identification and quantification, and mitigation measure identification and prioritisation.
Its value and effectiveness depend on having experts with the appropriate knowledge and experience participate in the evaluation during which failure modes are identified, risks estimated, and appropriate mitigation measures proposed. In addition, it is important that a given site’s context is considered in terms of on and offsite impacts and regulatory requirements applicable to the engineered and natural systems and their surroundings.
An FMEA provides evaluators with the ability to perform a systematic and comprehensive evaluation of potential failure modes of the design / plan in order to identify potential hazards; although the application is not limited to this. An FMEA can be used to evaluate potential for failures in the site rehabilitation that could result in environmental impacts, legal and other obligations, effects to reputation with stakeholders, and human health and safety concerns. A risk profile can be developed for each of these concern areas. Once the failure modes and measures with the highest risk have been identified, it is possible to consider mitigation or alternative designs to reduce risks. FMEAs are therefore useful for capturing risks and implementing risk/liability reduction programs. The environmental community regularly uses this process for conducting environmental risk assessments. Engineers use this type of method to assess the risk of engineered systems. Mining companies can use this assessment method to evaluate the risk that their Rehabilitation and Closure Plans impose on the surrounding environment, workers and the public. This analysis methodology has been adapted for many applications over numerous industries including ‘systems’ approach and ‘criticality’ analysis.
At Okane, we use the FMEA approach to engage stakeholders, both internal and external, in the process of developing the best outcome for the closure of mine sites.
Environmental Regulatory Guidance
Our approach to mine closure planning and design aims to involve stakeholders from the early stages of a project. By documenting this engagement process, including the FMEA process used as the framework to closure design development, we can show regulators that a given closure approach is the right methodology for a given site. Time and time again, Okane’s approach to mine closure planning and design has moved through approvals with regulators, by thoroughly documenting the design development process and our collaborative approach to mine closure.
Being a highly specialized boutique consulting firm, Okane is often called upon to participate for specific aspects for a given project. We are always eager to participate in larger projects with other consultants, playing on our collaborative strengths to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved for mine closure.