Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Extraction voids

Managing voids, such as mines and mineshafts

Extraction voids are holes you leave in the surface of the land or underground after you have removed minerals and waste rock.

The Mining Waste Directive (MWD) brings in new requirements for managing extractive waste, including managing extraction voids at mines and quarries.

This guidance applies to all mines or quarries in the UK that put extractive waste in extraction voids.

What you must do

Check if you need a permit or permission

You must check with your regulator whether you need planning permission to put your extractive waste into an extraction void.

Managing extractive waste in Northern Ireland and Scotland

Make sure you do not damage the environment or human health

If you put extractive waste into extraction voids to rehabilitate your mine or quarry or to build or maintain access for machinery, haulage ramps, bulkheads, safety barricades or berms in the void, you must make sure:

  • your extractive waste is physically stable and compacted when you put it back in the void
  • your external void walls are stable before you fill the void with extractive waste
  • you consider any impacts on groundwater flow if you use extractive waste that has a low permeability
  • you prevent soil or water pollution and prevent, minimise and monitor any leachate produced
  • you monitor your extractive waste and void to make sure it remains physically stable.

You must not put extractive waste back into a void which will be flooded, unless your regulator has given you permission to do this. 

SEE ALSO: Mining and quarrying sector guidance

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