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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Improving sustainability in mines closure by transforming open pits into fish farms

Brenda Herrera

Improving sustainability in mines closure by transforming open pits into fish farms

‘Progress towards sustainability is made when value is added in terms of the ecological, social and economic well-being of the communities’ (Otchere et al, 2004). Within mining, this progress has to inevitably include the closure of operations and its impact on the communities. The objective of this dissertation is to evaluate the possibility of constructing a fish farm in the open pit of one of Yanacocha’s sites of operation, San Jose. If accepted by the communities, the fish farm should effectively:

• “Guarantee that the exhaustion of natural non-renewable resources would not affect the future generations through the substitution of these resources by other ways of capital” (MMSD, 2002) ,
• Lessen the negative socio-economic impacts of the mine closure and
• Expand the economic activities of the communities into new areas.

This study combines a review of the existing literature on mine closure and related sustainability issues, several case studies, and a field trip to Cajamarca, which includes interviews with residents and other key actors in the mining sector.



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.