Mine Closure and Environmental Impact Assessment Workshop in Argentina


In February 2019, CIRDI’s learning team delivered a one-week course on mine closure in Santa Cruz and Buenos-Aires, Argentina. The training was designed for government regulators and professionals, following the request by the Canadian Embassy in Buenos Aries in early 2016 about supporting the former Argentine Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) with the development of a national mine closure policy. The course provided a complete overview of mine closure planning starting from conceptual planning at the feasibility stage and included case studies, guest presentations, and a 1-day policy seminar.

Santa Cruz is located in Southern Patagonia and, is currently the province with the highest production of metal mining and has the largest number of projects in operation, such as Cerro Negro (gold and silver, Goldcorp), Cerro Moro (gold, Yamana Gold), and Don Nicolás (CIMinas), among others. Currently, two projects are planned for closure in 2020 – Cerro Vanguardia (gold and silver, AngloGold Ashanti) and Manantial Espejo (silver and gold, Pan American Silver) – there is no specific provincial regulation for mine closure in place. The provincial authority has expressed deep interest in working on two topics: an introduction to mine closure and good practices in environmental and social impact assessment.

The overall aim of the workshop series was to build the capacity of the various stakeholders involved in mine closure in the skills and knowledge of leading international and Canadian practices related to mine closure and impact assessment. The purpose of the workshops was to introduce a compendium of lessons learned on the topics to aid in the ability of participants to develop and implement contextually appropriate policy and practice in their own work. The overall initiative involved three distinct activities:

  • Mine Closure Overview – Santa Cruz
    A basic introduction to leading practices in mine closure, with a focus on examples from the Canadian context and stressing on the importance of early planning
  • Good Practices in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment – Santa Cruz
    Build awareness and capacities to undertake environmental and social impact assessments for mining projects aligned with international best practices in the field. Focusing on the preparation and review of environmental assessments for mining projects
  • Leading Practices in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment – policy seminar, Buenos Aires
    Strengthen awareness and capacities regarding environmental and social impact assessments for mining projects aligned with the international best practices in the field

Gabriel Castillo presenting in front of the participants of the workshop in Argentina, 2019. Photo: CIRDI