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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-3: Large Scale Exploitation - 26. Large Scale Exploitation Licensing | 26.6 Protection of Open Pit/Shaft Mines

Protection of open pit/shaft mines refers to provisions that specify the steps required by a mining licence-holder to secure the area in and around mines for the duration of mining activities. Mine sites are potentially dangerous places. The machinery and equipment used in large scale exploitation projects for excavation and hauling is enormous and in nearly constant use in and around the mines during production. Dynamite is used to free ore from rock formations. Subsidence and cave-ins are a constant risk. Mine waste in tailings piles and tailings ponds may be highly toxic. Therefore, mining laws often do, and should, require large scale exploitation licence holders to implement comprehensive plans to secure the mine site, including the processing facilities, waste piles, tailings ponds, access roads and equipment storage and maintenance facilities, etc. and restrict access to authorized, trained

The provisions of the mining law requiring mine security and safety planning aim to protect both mine workers and members of the surrounding communities as well as other visitors from harm. Such provisions may require the licence holder to develop a site security and safety plan that meets standards set out in the regulations. Submission and approval of the plan may be required as a prerequisite to the commencement of operations; and the site security and safety measures will typically be subject to periodic inspections and adjustments as conditions at the mine change over time.

These obligations are singled out here because of their importance, although the requirements are often spelled out in regulations rather than in the mining law itself. Depending on the jurisdiction, the responsible administrative authority may be different than the Regulating Authority for the mining sector. These obligations are covered as part of the environmental topics in Part D of the Guiding Template.