Developing a Guide for Acid Rock Drainage at Mine Sites

Project Info

International Network for Acid Prevention (INAP)



The global mining industry is dedicated to finding solutions for the challenges that acid rock drainage (ARD) can cause at mine sites. Acid rock drainage, results when sulfide minerals are exposed to oxygen and water. Metal and coal mines need to carefully manage their operations and facilities so acid water that is formed does not adversely impact surrounding water resources and other receptors.

With a focus on environmental protection, government assessments and regulations, and stakeholder engagement, the International Network for Acid Prevention (INAP), a global consortium of mining companies dedicated to meet the challenge of acid drainage, retained Golder to develop the first version of the Global Acid Rock Drainage Guide (GARD Guide). Our team of internationally recognized experts created the GARD Guide with these specific objectives:

  • Address the issues associated with sulfide mineral oxidation and related environmental impacts.
  • Utilize and improve the best global practices, customize where necessary for unique geologic, climatic, and topographic conditions.
  • Develop a risk-based, proactive, consistent approach to encourage planning and implementing prevention and control of ARD at the source.
  • Promote the integration of an ARD Management Plan within mine operations from conception through final closure.
  • Leverage existing global ARD expertise and share this knowledge with developing countries.
  • Support relevant principles and other guidance, such as the Equator Principles and guidelines developed by the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM).

The GARD Guide summarizes the best technical and management practices related to ARD, with the goal of creating a body of work with industry and external stakeholder credibility. The Guide supports the industry to provide high levels of environmental protection, assists governments in the assessment and regulation of mining activities, and enables stakeholders to have more confidence in the understanding of acid prevention plans and practices.

The Guide provides a structured system to identify and catalogue proven techniques for characterization, prediction, monitoring, treatment, prevention, and management of ARD. To accomplish this, global best practices were identified and synthesized into a cohesive state-of-the-art summary, while also acknowledging that different conditions (related to deposit type, mining and processing method, climate, regulatory requirements, stakeholder expectations, etc.) require use of different options.

The GARD Guide is based on a Wiki model and resides online at The number of times the website has been accessed since its inception in 2009 is in the hundreds of thousands, clearly demonstrating that the Guide has a significant audience and is a useful tool for addressing the challenge of ARD. Golder, a widely recognized global leader in the prediction, evaluation, mitigation, and prevention of environmental issues related to mining activities, has continued to assist INAP with GARD Guide updates to ensure it remains current and relevant.

To learn more about the GARD Guide and discover how it can assist you in managing acid rock drainage at your mine site, visit

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