Closure objectives for wastes and waste facilities

Objectives for closure of wastes and waste facilities

Päivi M. Kauppila, Geological Survey of Finland, P.O. Box 1237, FI-70211 Kuopio, FINLAND, e-mail: paivi.kauppila(at)

The closure objectives for mine wastes and mine waste facilities are site-specific depending on the characteristics, amount and utilization potential of the mine waste, its’ disposal technique and the structure of the waste facility as well as on the local environmental, climatic and socio-economic conditions and requirements. In all cases, the closure objectives should comply with the legislative obligations and requirements and with the best practices principles.

The overall objectives of closure of wastes and waste facilities can be defined as following (EC 2009, Heikkinen et al. 2008, Kauppila et al. 2013, UNEP/WHO 1998):

  • To minimise the (final) amount of disposed waste material prior closure
  • To restore the area into an environmentally safe condition and minimise long-term environmental impacts
    • To ensure chemical and physical stability of the waste facility
      • To prevent formation and transport of low quality mine drainage from waste facilities (contaminant release control through improved quality of runoff water and control of infiltration, water treatment if necessary)
      • Chemical stabilization of acid-generating mine waste through control of oxygen and water ingress
      • To prevent dusting from waste
      • To prevent emissions of toxic gases from waste facilities
      • To prevent dam failure and erosion of the waste facilities
  • To adapt the waste facility into the local landscape
    • To ensure sustainable vegetation at the site
  • To optimize potential land use after closure

During recent years, variety of design, construction, management and closure technologies for waste facilities have been developed to fulfil the closure objectives. Chapter “Closure technologies” presents and evaluates in detail different technologies available for the closure of waste facilities, and “Case studies” presents existing cases of the performance of these technologies in reality. Chapter “Characterization” provides an insight into the chemical, mineralogical and geotechnical methods used in mine waste characterisation when planning of the waste disposal, utilization and closure of waste facilities.

General objectives of mine closure are described in Chapter “Mine Closure Objectives“.


European Commission 2009. Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for Management of Tailings and Waste-Rock in Mining Activities. January 2009.

Heikkinen, P.M. (ed.), Noras, P. (ed.), Salminen, R. (ed.), Mroueh, U.-M., Vahanne, P., Wahlström, M., Kaartinen, T., Juvankoski, M., Vestola, E., Mäkelä, E., Leino, T., Kosonen, M., Hatakka, T., Jarva, J., Kauppila, T., Leveinen, J., Lintinen, P., Suomela, P., Pöyry, H., Vallius, P., Nevalainen, J., Tolla, P. & Komppa, V. 2008. Mine closure handbook. Espoo: GTK; VTT; Outokumpu Oyj; Finnish Road Enterprise; Soil and Water Ltd. 169 p.

Kauppila, P., Räisänen, M.L. & Myllyoja, S. (eds) 2013. Best Environmental Practices in Metal Ore Mining. Finnish Environment Institute 29en / 2011. 219 p.

UNEP/WHO 1998. Mine rehabilitation for Environment and Health Protection – a trainers manual. 430 p.