Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 University of Venda, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture, Thohoyandou, South Africa.

2 University of Venda, Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, Thohoyandou, South Africa.



South Africa has 6100 documented abandoned mines. The government is responsible for the management and rehabilitation of these mines to address their environmental problems, physical hazards, and socio-economic issues. In general, rehabilitating abandoned mines involves making a series of critical decisions about the strategies to be implemented in rehabilitating the major features of these mines. This paper presents an expert system developed to aid in selecting appropriate strategies for rehabilitating abandoned mines in South Africa. This system is known as the Expert System for Selection of Strategies for Rehabilitation of Abandoned Mines (ES-SRSA). The ES-Builder (Version 3.0, McGoo software) was used to design the knowledge and rule-based components of the expert system. The rules of the expert systems were developed based on the documented knowledge of the problems of abandoned mines in South Africa and the information gathered by the researcher through visits to selected abandoned mine sites in the country. The ES-SRSA provides 45 recommendations of suitable strategies for dealing with the different problems of features such as underground entries, mine waste, surface mine excavations, silos and orebins, and other features like dilapidated buildings/infrastructure. Most of the rules of this expert system encourage the repurposing and reuse of these mine features to improve the social and economic status of the host communities. The use of this expert system has the potential of contributing to the reduction of the risks of implementation of ineffective strategies for the rehabilitation of abandoned mines in a country like South Africa.


Main Subjects

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