2.12 Closure and rehabilitation phase

At the final stage of a mine’s life, the key air quality issues are generally associated with wind-generated dust from exposed areas. For closed uranium mines, radon flux from rehabilitated areas may also be significant, requiring careful monitoring procedures for accurate flux determination and consequent management of the area (Bollhöfer et al. 2006).

Rapid rehabilitation of waste dumps and mined areas is the best way to reduce the dust potential. This can occur progressively through the operational stage, as areas reach this condition, as well as during mine closure. Apart from incompletely rehabilitated areas, there may be other sources of residual emissions, notably tailings disposal areas, which by nature may be difficult to revegetate and which may be potentially large reservoirs of fi ne dust particles, in some cases containing hazardous components. For tailings areas there is no silver bullet for dust control or prevention.

The best way to stop dust from affecting sensitive areas is to use several diverse factors or methods of dust control. As described in Section 11, these methods can include:

  • natural barriers, such as grass, shrubs and trees
  • chemical veneers
  • water (although this is always a temporary measure)
  • wind fences.

Each of these methods provides different dust control effectiveness, utility and cost implications.

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