Asean workshop mulls sustainable management of mine closures
VIENTIANE — Government officials and experts from Laos and Asean member countries involved in the supervision and management of mining are currently discussing international standards for sustainable mine closures.
The three day workshop on a mine closure legal framework in Asean member states was opened yesterday in Vientiane by the Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Chansone Senbouttalath and the German Ambassador to Laos, Mr Jens Lütkenherm.
The workshop has been organized by the Department of Mines, Ministry of Energy and Mines in cooperation with the Asean Secretariat and the Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia.
The workshop is being conducted within the framework of the Lao-German Technical Cooperation project “Sustainable Development of the Mining Sector” financed by the German government and implemented by the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources.
The workshop aims to build capacity in the mine closure legal framework of responsible government agencies from Asean member states in order to understand how to achieve and manage sustainable mine closures.
Experts related to the resources sector say mining plays an important role in the economies of many Asean member states such as Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Asean, with more than 600 million consumers, has a large industry base that can offer vast opportunities for investment and trade in the region’s rich mineral resources. Asean’s Nay Pyi Taw Declaration from 2014 states that mineral development is pivotal in strengthening Asean unity and solidarity as well as Asean’s central role in maintaining and promoting economic integration in the region and thus strengthening Asean Economic Community integration.
However, non-sustainable mining poses risks such as severe environmental pollution and negative social impacts. Sustainable development of the mining sector means that investments in mineral projects are financially profitable, technically appropriate, environmentally sound and socially responsible.
The mine closure process is an integral part of any mineral project and includes decommissioning and rehabilitation activities. Mine closure can occur at any stage of mine cycle operations.
Mine closure activities should be completed in accordance with a plan approved by a qualified government organization. Mine closure plans are an indispensable element of sustainable mining. The development and approval of mine closure plans are new in some Asean member states.
Some countries have established detailed mine closure requirements and procedures while other nations currently have few or no applicable laws, regulations or standards.
As part of the workshop, experts have been providing an insight into international standards on the legal framework of mine closures. Participants of Asean states are informing the meeting about their respective country’s situation in order to enable information exchange.
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