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Mining Environmental Management Codes of Practice Briefing & Review by Colin Sparman.

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Presentation on theme: "Mining Environmental Management Codes of Practice Briefing & Review by Colin Sparman."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mining Environmental Management Codes of Practice Briefing & Review by Colin Sparman

2 Definition What is a code of practice? It is not law but it is a set of guidelines set by industry standards. These guidelines should be followed unless there is a better course of action that accomplishes the same, if not better standards.

3 Justification These Codes of Practice were intended to provide critical environmental guidance to the Mining Industry, particularly small and medium ‐ scale gold operations. The importance of the Codes of Practice is even more enhanced by the development of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

4 Background – The Regulations The Mining (Amendment) Regulations 2005 were promulgated in Specifically, Regulation 248 of the Mining (Amendment) Regulations 2005 stipulated that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) prepare a Code of Practice for Mining Environmental Management prior to its incorporation into the Regulations.

5 Background -GENCAPD In December 2003, under the GENCAPD project, several detailed Codes of Practice for the small-scale and medium-scale mining industry were prepared. Multi-stakeholder approach and involvement in the preparation.

6 Background - Development The GENCAPD 1 aims: The first phase of GENCAPD (completed) was established to respond to the need for adequate regulation of the mining sector in Guyana. It focused on strengthening environmental management capacities, the improvement of industry practices and the building of institutional development.

7 Background - Development The GENCAPD objectives: -A documented set of information on mercury contamination in the human population -A natural environment capable of maintaining sustainable gold mining activities -A system capable of monitoring and enforcing regulations for mercury use in gold mining -Population fully educated and aware of the dangers of mercury contamination

8 Background - GENCAPD The codes covered 6 areas: 1.Code of Practice for Mercury Use 2.Code of Practice for Mine Reclamation 3.Code of Practice for Mine Effluents 4.Code of Practice for Contingency and Response Plans 5.Code of Practice for Mine Waste Management and Disposal 6.Code of Practice for Tailings Management

9 Background - Development The GENCAPD Codes were reviewed by GGMC Appropriate / amenable to local environment / conditions There was considerable inputs from Mr. Sam Wright - Consultant in preparation of the current Codes

10 The Codes of Practice Ten (10) provisions of the Codes of Practice for Environmental Management are currently indentified: Use of Mercury Tailings Management Contingency and Emergency Response Plans Mine Effluents Mine Reclamation and Closure Plans Mine Waste Management and Disposal Environmental Effects Monitoring Program Quarrying Sand and Loam Mining Use of Small Dams [ for the Control of Water/Tailings]

11 The Codes of Practice Each code is presented as follows: 1.Introduction 2.Mission and Objectives 3.Scope 4.Principles and Standard Practices 5.Code Implementation 6.Monitoring and Surveillance 7.Emergency Measures 8.References 9.Appendices

12 Disclaimer / Reminder These codes are not intended to serve as a design manual nor as an operating manual but to provide practical guidance and advice on how to meet the requirements for environmental management.

13 Code – Use of Mercury Mercury use in Guyana gold ‐ mining operations is both an environmental and an occupational health and safety (OH&S) issue. Because of the hazards mercury poses for both the environment and the health of persons exposed to it, priority must be given to addressing mercury and its use in precious metals beneficiation.

14 Code – Tailings Management Tailings management is often the most significant environmental challenge associated with mining projects. A spate of past and well ‐ publicized incidents involving tailings impoundments, such as the Omai spill in 1995, has placed the mining industry in general under intense scrutiny. The environmental, financial, and political consequences of well ‐ publicized failures have made it clear to the mining industry that safe tailings management practices are in its own best interest. The main public concerns regarding tailings containment are: 1. Structural stability of dams and the possible release of large volumes of water and semi ‐ fluid tailings 2. Potential impact of tailings operations on the quality of life of people living in the immediate area, and 3. Potential pollution of ground and surface water.

15 Code – Contingency and Response Plans The continued progressive development of the mining industry in Guyana requires that the various stakeholders take a greater role in its (the industry’s) management and regulation. With respect to the issues of safety, emergencies and community notification, the small and medium ‐ scale gold and diamond mining industry in Guyana must do more to meet public and regulatory expectations. Mining operations with facilities that pose significant risks to nearby communities or sensitive environments should plan for emergencies.

16 Code – Mine Effluents The sluicing of ore produces large amounts of suspended material that can be discharged into receiving waters. According to estimates, over 200,000,000 m 3 of tailings, consisting of more than 80% water, are generated each year by dredges in alluvial mines. A large percentage of this material flows directly into the receiving environment, causing turbidity plumes in waterways, reduced light penetration, siltation, channel alteration and changes in stream ‐ bottom characteristics along with their dramatic impacts on riverine ecosystems. The only pollution ‐ control measure practiced by the small and medium scale gold and diamond mining industry is to reduce particulate matter in water discharged into surface watercourses using settling ponds.

17 Code – Mine Reclamation and Closure Plans Site disturbance before, during and after mining is the most visible impact to the public. The mined ‐ out, abandoned, and un ‐ reclaimed mine properties reflect environmental degradation, socio ‐ economic limitation, poor management practices and non ‐ compliance with existing mining regulations. In some cases land instability and catastrophic ‐ failures of structures such as tailings dams represent a potential risk during and perhaps long after operations. Mine reclamation and closure is the process of decommissioning a mining operation with the broad objective of leaving the area in a safe and stable condition consistent with the surrounding physical and social environment and projected post ‐ mining land use.

18 Code – Mine Waste Management and Disposal Mining generates a disproportionally high levels of waste compared with other industries. Because the concentration of valuable material is so small (especially in metal and diamond mining), most of ore rock extracted is turned into waste that must be managed and disposed of. Small and medium scale gold and diamond mining generates large amounts of tailings through the excavation,( including by hydraulicking) and processing of surficial alluvial, eluvial and saprolitic material that, if unmitigated, usually end up in the watercourses, causing turbidity plumes as well as mercury mobilization. Careful planning before and during construction is essential to prevent excessive erosion, while ensuring a stable and safe landform amenable to rehabilitation/re-vegetation.

19 Code – Use of Small Dams for the Control of Water / Tailings Small dams are used extensively in small and medium ‐ scale mines to manage/contain tailings, water and effluent discharges. They are therefore very critical in mining environmental management. Small dams are usually not constructed with the same rigorous technical planning and oversight as large dams. Materials used in their construction are generally selected from onsite sources and constructed by existing (not specialized) machinery. Small earthen dams are therefore much more susceptible to structural instability and failure. Instability and failure of small dams are often related to poor siting and construction, uncontrolled flows, seepage and over topping.

20 Perceptions Inadequate Mining Techniques Low Recovery & Productivity Poor Compliance with Regulations & Standards Poor Health & Safety, Negative Environmental Impacts

21 Recommendations Members are advised to obtain copies of these codes (electronic copies can be made available) Study the Codes Seek clarifications whenever in doubt These documents are subject to review Your feedback is essential

22 Thank You Further information: Mr. Lennox Tucker – GGMC Mr. Colin Sparman - GGDMA


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