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Being a finite abstraction, sustainable mining is something of an oxymoron for what is inherently unsustainable activity. Nevertheless, in an era of increasing recognition of environmental and social damage through an ever-growing scale of mining coupled with increasing corporate social conscience for these activities, the mining industry usually works to reduce operational risk and retain its social licence to mine the community resource through a variety of strategies.
For best sustainable management of lease resources for companies, communities and the environment, pit lake management should be more than simply parochial meeting of regulatory criteria to lease relinquishment. Assessing current and potential end uses for pit lakes is an important, yet little-recognised way, in which significant benefits to all three of these stakeholder groups can be made over an indefinite long period of time and in a mutually beneficial fashion.
Dr Clint McCullough
Associate Professor Mark Lund