RFG 2018 | European Hazardous Assessment of Mining Waste

Learn of the risks associated with the broad classification of mine waste under the European Mine Waste Directive
CIM Convention 2018
When: Thursday June 21 | 11:15am
Where: Vancouver Convention Center | Room 111
Title: Overcoming the Challenges Associated With European Hazardous Assessment of Mining Waste
Mine waste within Europe is governed by the Mine Waste Directive, however, hazardous waste classification falls within a broader scope encompassing all waste types including domestic and industrial sources. The EU Waste Directive is broadly applied to waste classification and to inform landfill acceptance criteria, however, there is a risk of misinterpretation using the same classification for mine waste.
Literal interpretation of the legislation could potentially over-emphasise minor risks, unnecessarily flagging parameters as hazardous or, under-estimate key risks, such as, potential acid rock drainage or metal leaching. Classification focusses on solid phase compositions with minimal consideration to leachate formation over time.
Correct designation is essential, as it influences the waste management plan and has implications for the categorisation of mining waste facilities. An assessment resulting in classification of a Category A facility can have administrative, economic and social implications on a mine in terms of monitoring, financial security and public perception.
This paper utilises published studies of European mining projects to highlight potential challenges faced. A significant amount of legislation exists and many documents have been updated or replaced, therefore experience in locating the most relevant information can greatly reduce this time-consuming process. Guidance is often focused on industrial or building waste and soil contamination, therefore professional interpretation is key to understanding how best to apply the guidance to mining waste streams and naturally occurring unaltered waste rock materials. 
Currently there is no clear guidance for minimum key parameters, mineralogy requirements or analytical detection limits, and identification of worst case compounds is open to an individual’s (mis)interpretation. Expert opinion is essential to inform such decisions and ensure that an adequate sampling program is selected.  Tailoring each site-specific classification is crucial and a variety of information sources should be consulted to provide the most relevant categorisation.
Meet our presenter:
Melanie Cox, Consultant GeochemistryMelanie Cox (SRK Cardiff)
Consultant (Geochemistry)
Bio | Email
SRK North America