3.5 Elements of the monitoring program

Typical elements of environmental and socioeconomic monitoring, and indicative frequencies of monitoring throughout all stages of project development, are outlined in Appendix 2. Operational monitoring is not specifically addressed in Appendix 2, although some operational monitoring parameters, including water balance, ore and waste production rates and composition, have direct relevance for other aspects of monitoring, such as discharge water quality and acid and metalliferous drainage management.

As noted in Section 2.2.2, each project has specific regulatory monitoring requirements. However, the incorporation of additional monitoring parameters and performance evaluation criteria is essential to the identification and proactive management of environmental, social and work health and safety issues during the project’s life. Leading practice methods go beyond regulatory requirements and aim to further investigate potential high-risk aspects, quantify and mitigate impacts before substantial incidents occur, and develop solutions and assess the success of control measures. As noted in Section 3.1, a risk-based approach is recommended to ensure that, regardless of the size of a mining operation, site-specific monitoring programs incorporate appropriate monitoring elements, parameters, frequencies and applicable performance criteria on which to assess the monitoring data.

Appendix 2 should be considered ‘indicative’ of a leading practice monitoring program. It is intended to provide a basis for establishing a detailed program that is relevant to site-specific sensitivities and the nature and scale of potential impacts. The elements outlined in Appendix 2 are not necessarily exhaustive for all mining projects; nor is each element and suggested frequency of monitoring relevant to all projects.

Further guidance on the identification of suitable monitoring parameters, frequencies and performance evaluation criteria is in other leading practice handbooks.

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