Presenting closure plans to communities

A4   |   Letter

SRK News | Issue 58
Mine Closure: Can closure create opportunities?

Daryl Hockley, Corporate Consultant     


The typical mine closure plan is a lengthy report designed to meet all the requirements of owners and regulators, not to mention SRK’s numerous technical specialists. Is it any wonder that the average person has trouble forming a clear picture of the plan’s final results?  

For over ten years, SRK’s Vancouver staff have been working with clients to more fully engage community groups, and other stakeholders in mine closure planning. Bridging the gap between the detail required by good technical practice and the clarity needed for effective dialogue is one of the key challenges. We won’t claim to have it all figured out yet, but we have developed one tool that seems to be helpful.

The renderings above are produced using a program called 3DS-Max, formerly known as 3D-Studio. The 3D-Studio series is one of the premier animation platforms in use today for movies (Avatar, anybody?), video games, and other virtual modelling. SRK Vancouver staff has developed a workflow that allows the engineering drawings typically found in closure plans to be transformed into 3D-Studio models, and then rendered to produce individual pictures and even short videos of closed and reclaimed mine areas.  

The workflow is the key. Really anyone could do this, given enough time. But doing it with an efficient workflow makes it possible to see what the site will look like under many closure options, and that helps to truly engage community groups in the closure planning process.  

The graphics shown here were used in a multi-day closure planning meeting with over 90 community participants. They helped to show people exactly what each option would leave behind for their children and grandchildren. Interestingly, even the veteran engineers and scientists in the room took great interest in these graphics. Maybe the innate 3D visualisation skills that we mining and geology types like to boast about are not quite as effective as we think? Or maybe it’s just that a picture really is worth a thousand … engineering drawings!  

Daryl Hockley:


SRK North America