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ISRM Mine Closure Commission report is now available online for ISRM members

The final report of the Commission On Mine Closure under the presidency of Christophe Didier of INERIS, France, has now been completed and is available to members of the ISRM.

Several countries have a legacy of old, closed mines that now pose certain problems and in extreme cases, even danger to the public. The commission was set up to study the problem in international context and to propose a uniform method of handling the problem.

This work concentrated on the physical rock related aspects of mine closure and did not for instance include the social aspects in depth. The main problems arising from the closed mines relate to time dependant failure of old pillars or even overburdens spanning old works, resulting in surface subsidence.

The subsidence problems can be severe in certain cases, like the unexpected and sudden appearance of sinkholes on the surface. In other cases, the subsidence occurs over large areas over long periods of time and is easier to manage.

The report describes the mine closure situation in several countries, including ones not commonly associated with problems arising from the failure of abandoned mines like Japan and Korea. It is a reference work that describes different methods of handling the problem in different countries, including the legislative aspects.

Direct and indirect monitoring methods are described, as are technical methods of stabilizing old workings or protecting the public against the reopening of old mine shafts.

The report recommends a comprehensive risk management approach to handle the problem. Differentiation is made between gradual subsidence and sudden events. Depending on the nature of the expected effects, different reactions can be identified, ranging from doing nothing except to handle minor effects as they appear, to back filling old mines or even evacuation of villages in extreme cases.

The commission is currently in dialogue with the ISRM Board to extend the work of the first report, mainly to include countries that did not participate in the first commission.

The commission members contributing to the compilation of the final report were:

  • C. Didier, INERIS, France
  • J.N. Van der Merwe, University of Pretoria, RSA
  • Ö. Aydan, Tokaď University, Japan
  • M. Bétournay, CANMET, Canada
  • J.P. Josien, Geoderis, France
  • A. Kotyrba, GIG, Poland
  • M. Mainz, Heitfeld-Schetelig GmbH, Germany
  • W.K. Song, Korean Institue of Geosciences, Korea

    •  Go to the reports' download page