Care and maintenance

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Care and maintenance is a term used in the mining industry to describe processes and conditions on a closed minesite where there is potential to recommence operations at a later date. During a care and maintenance phase, production is stopped but the site is managed to ensure it remains in a safe and stable condition.


The mine might be considered to be temporarily unviable,[1] due to current economic conditions or unfavourable resource prices,[2][3] which are expected to improve at a later date.[4]

Declining ore grades at some mines can also be a reason for care and maintenance announcements.[5]

In some cases controlling interest companies decide not to further funding for subsidiary operations.[6]

During closure[edit]

While the mine is closed, a care and maintenance program will manage environmental risks associated with tailings dumps, hazardous materials and open and underground pits.[7] Care of idle plant and machinery will also be included in the program. Public health and safety considerations and emergency response plans continue during the care and maintenance phase.

Some countries have legislative frameworks to ensure care and maintenance programs are in place before granting mine "closure certificates".[8][9]

A later decision to permanently close the mine may result in mine reclamation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Gold Places the Amapari Mine on Temporary Care and Maintenance", The America's Intelligence Wire, Financial Times Ltd, 2009-01-02, retrieved 30 October 2012
  2. ^ "Rayrock Yellowknife Resources Inc. to put Dee Mine on care and maintenance basis", Business Wire, Business Wire: 2140086, 1997-02-14, retrieved 30 October 2012
  3. ^ "First Nickel Places Lockerby Mine on Care and Maintenance", Canadian Corporate News, COMTEX News Network, Inc, 2008-10-19, retrieved 30 October 2012
  4. ^ "New Dawn's Turk Mine Moves from Care and Maintenance to Mine Development", CNW Group, COMTEX News Network, Inc, 2009-02-26, retrieved 30 October 2012
  5. ^ Iluka To Shut Mine
  6. ^ "CHARLOTTE GOLD". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 19 March 1951. p. 13. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  7. ^ Mine Closure Archived March 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine NSW Minerals Council
  8. ^ The South African legislative framework or mine closure The Journal of The South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
  9. ^ Care and Maintenance Western Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum