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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: July 18th 2003

:: Global Centre For Post Mining Regeneration  

Rio Tinto, the Eden Project and English Nature (the UK Government agency for conservation in England) are working in partnership to build a business case for a global centre for post-mining regeneration (GCPMR). As part of a one-year feasibility study, the partners have commissioned research into the Centre’s viability.

The Centre, which would be based at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, would be devoted to developing innovation, understanding and implementation of good practice in post-mining regeneration. The aim is to take forward the mine closure work of the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) Project (Mining Journal, May 24, 2002, p.369 and Mining Environmental Management, July 2002, pp.19-28).

The feasibility study involves review and consultation on all aspects of the proposed GCPMR’s development, organisation and work from local, European and international perspectives.

A global mining consortium of international specialists, directed by ECUS Ltd and MDS Mining & Environmental Services, is reviewing current good practice worldwide in all aspects of mine closure from environmental to socio-economic. The experts involved include Professors Alan Baker, University of Melbourne, Clive Bell, University of Queensland, and John Cooke, University of Natal, three of the world’s leading researchers on post-mining regeneration, along with Anthony Hodge, associate of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and Rebecca Knol, an independent consultant.

John Eyre, Camborne School of Mines, and Dr Paul Mitchell are reviewing the activities of existing networks and centres of excellence worldwide, including education and training provision relating to mining and sustainable development.

The Eden Project is an educational visitor attraction devoted to promoting the sustainable use of the planet’s resources, is itself an example of sustainable post-mining regeneration. For 150 years the site was a working china clay pit. The sterile quarry was recreated as an educational garden, using soils manufactured from mine and organic wastes. It now employs 600, and has generated an estimated annual £160 million for the local economy since it opened in 2001.

Eden is in the centre of England’s globally important china clay mining area of central Cornwall. This new GCPMR partnership brings Rio Tinto together with English Nature, which has achieved significant success in restoring over 750 ha of china clay waste tips to high biodiversity heathland habitat, in association with the china clay mine operators. At the same time, English Nature is developing a management plan to improve socio-economic conditions in the region, while sustaining this habitat, which is a priority under the UK National Biodiversity Action Plan.

Project co-ordinator Dorothy Harris says even if the case is not made for the Centre, a number of planned outputs will make important contributions to the understanding of the mining industry and sustainable development worldwide.



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