Posts Tagged ‘Botswana’

Fraser Alexander was a foreman on a mine in South Africa in the early 1900s.  He was in charge of building the sand and rock dumps.  He did this mostly by experience and native skill.  One of the problems was the collapse of the advancing face that carried the coco-pans and their rail lines to the bottom of the dump. Fraser had a team of mules to collect this material for reuse. He was so well organized, he sat in his hut most of the day and watched the workers. This is where the mine manager found him, “doing nothing”, and so fired him. He went home to sit on the stoep and relax.  (more…)

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The art, or is it science, of mine closure is still a youngster.  There is no agreed fundamental philosophy or even technical approach.  This is strange when you consider that mining has been around for a long time and many mines have been worked out.  Most have been abandoned as the many abandoned mine remediation programs attest.  Only in the past few years have we seen vigorous debate on the need for planning and contentious mine closure.  Much of this debate has been documented in the proceedings of the Mine Closure Conferences organized by the Australian Center for Geomechanics.  Yesterday I spent some time paging through the past conference proceedings.  Here are two extract that, to my mind, nicely capture the dilemma of those seeking a consistent philosophy of mine closure.  (more…)

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Bushmen women.

A long-time friend sent me a paper on sustainable tailings management.  I read the paper and replied thus:

“I confess, I am no more convinced by you than by anybody else about the need for a term like sustainable in the context of what you are doing—i.e., designing, building, and closing mine tailings dams.

Why not just say you are doing the right thing by people and the environment?


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