Sustainable Post-Mining Land Use : Are Closed Metal Mines Abandoned or Re-Used Space?
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CitationKivinen Sonja. (2017). Sustainable Post-Mining Land Use : Are Closed Metal Mines Abandoned or Re-Used Space?. Sustainability, 9 (10) , 1705. 10.3390/su9101705.
Sustainable land use in post-mining areas has received more attention only recently. This study examined landscape characteristics and post-mining land use in 51 metal mining sites in Finland. Studied mines were closed during the period of 1924–2016, and over half of them had been active more than 10 years. Mines were typically located in sparsely populated forest landscapes. Cultural and recreational functions were found in one third of the sites, especially in significant historical mining areas close to the population centers. Further, nearly one third of the post-mining sites included new activities related to industry and infrastructure. The diversity of post-mining functions was generally limited in small and isolated sites. Re-opening of five closed mines was planned or under development, and exploration permits (or claims) were applied or admitted for half of the post-mining areas. The results showed that every closed mine is unique and thus, sustainable post-mining land use requires careful evaluation of potentials and limitations (e.g., contamination and other hazards) of the sites. Increasing sizes of new mining projects calls for paying more attention on future post-mining landscapes in order to avoid degraded and underused areas from environmental, social and economic perspectives.