Mine environments have a life cycle because mine operations open when economically extractable resources are found and then close when the resource is mined out or economics change. Accurate long term planning is essential for mining operations to close successfully without leaving remediation legacies for future generations. This research programme delivers the New Zealand Mine Environment Life Cycle Guide to assist regulators, mining companies and other stake holders to negotiate mine closure successfully.
The key to successful closure is having good information on which to make long term predictions related to soil quality on the site as well as water quality that discharges from the site and this programme will provide tools and approaches to accurately make those predictions. Once soil and water is clean, complex ecosystems can re-establish however, the recovery process is relatively unknown, so our research also includes advancing knowledge about New Zealand’s unique ecosystems. The length of the life cycle also depends on the application of management and rehabilitation techniques which will be identified and studied in this programme.