General closure objectives

Tommi Kauppila, Geological Survey of Finland, PO Box 1237, 70211 Kuopio, Finland; tommi.kauppila(at)

This section reviews the general objectives of mine closure. These are mainly based on internationally accepted definitions and objectives.

General objectives of mine closure

A commonly cited general objective of mine closure is that it should ensure long-term physical, chemical, and biological stability of the site to minimize potential environmental and health risks. This should preferably be achieved in a manner that requires as little long-term active involvement (operation, maintenance and monitoring) as possible.

In addition to controlling risks and minimizing harm and environmental degradation, the opportunities related to mine closure should be considered as well. Therefore, the general objectives of mine closure also include securing beneficial and widely agreed post mining land uses as well as seeking to sustain the social and economical benefits the mining project has brought to its surrounding communities.

Several sources provide more detailed lists of general mine closure objectives. Table 1 has been modified mainly from Heikkinen, Noras & Salminen (eds) (2008) and Yukon Water Board & Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources (2013).

Table 1. General closure objectives.

Value/objective Closure objectives
Physical stability All remaining structures and facilities are physically stable, able to withstand the foreseeable environmental conditions and events, pose no threat to health and safety, and perform their long term functions as designed.
Geochemical stability Any contaminants must not be released and transported from the site at concentrations that may be harmful to human health or biota or otherwise unacceptable.
Biological stability The biological environment is restored to a natural, balanced, self-sustaining ecosystem typical of the area or compatible with the planned post mining land use. The other mine closure measures must provide for physical, chemical, and hydrological conditions that enable such sustainable ecosystems.
Aesthetics The site is brought to a visually acceptable state.
Natural resources Closure secures the amount and quality of the natural resources of the site (biological, water, mineral, energy etc.)
Post-mining land use Closure and reclamation are such that the desired post-mining land use is optimized. The post-mining land uses have been selected using best practice approaches.
Social and economic issues Closure minimizes adverse local and regional socio-economic effects and seeks to maximize the benefits. The views, expectations, and expertise of the local community are taken into consideration.
Financial issues Outstanding liability and risks are minimized after reclamation activities are complete. Mechanisms are in place to facilitate post closure monitoring.



Heikkinen, P.M., Noras, P. & Salminen, R. (eds) 2008. Mine Closure Handbook. Environmental Techniques for the Extractive Industries. Vammalan Kirjapaino Oy, Vammala. 169 p. ISBN 978-952-217-042-2

Yukon Water Board & Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources 2013. Reclamation and Closure Guidance. 41 p.