Management of Environmental RIsks During and After mine closure

towards Sustainability in Underground Coal Mines Closures – R&D project supported by RFCS under Contract No. RFCR-CT-2015-00004

Aims of MERIDA Project

This project aims to develop a methodology to manage environmental impacts and risks during and after coal mine closure and provide a generic tool that allows the industry to implement the methodology at any site. ­MERIDA will develop a best practice manual to be used by ­industry and ­decision-makers to assess systematically the major closure environmental risks, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Project Focus

Currently there is a lack of a detailed operational methodology that com­prises the management of environmental risks during and after underground coal mines closure. There is no specific guidance on the appropriate approaches, tools and techniques with due consideration to economic issues, and the way they should be used. This is true both at European level but also internationally.

MERIDA will identify the short and long-term consequences of coal mine closure on the environment and define appropriate and financially feasible mitigation measures that guarantee acceptable risk levels according to the environmental conditions and surface occupation nearby the mines.

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Our Approach

The proposed methodology has important differences with the previous tools
of environmental risk management:

Sustainability

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It will provide specific guidance on the issues that need to be ­considered when assessing the environmental impacts from ­underground coal mines at closure and post-closure stages, accounting for different operational, geological and environmental settings found across Europe.

Process optimization

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It will identify the physical and chemical processes that affect environmental risks during mine closure and post-closure and establish modelling and monitoring methods that should be implemented in order to make reliable environmental impact predictions.

Risk Management

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It will establish an integrated risk assessment methodology considering the uncertainty inherent in the data collection and the limitations and assumptions inherent in environmental impact prediction tools.

Technical Solution

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It will provide a practical methodology (written up as a technical ­guidance) that can be used for the evaluation of risk remediation measures in terms of their performance in risk reduction, practical implementation and cost.