Successful mine site closure is rooted in early planning. This is crucial in the design and implementation of a robust mine waste and water management plan which is supported by operational monitoring data analysis that allows the identification of issues in a timely manner and integration of changes rather than reactive adaptation, risking costly or restrictive closure efforts. These issues are exemplified in the life cycle of waste rock piles where the geochemical composition of waste rock, planning and adaptation are key factors in the design of fiscally and environmental responsible infrastructure, operation and closure. This presentation describes innovative processes applied early on during mine planning and operation. These processes include information management tools to improve identification, monitoring and forecasting of mine waste composition; decision charts for mine waste material classification, use or deposition in waste stockpiles; waste rock pile monitoring, instrumentation planning; data recording and analysis; and adaptive management planning that incorporates operational flexibility. Specific examples are provided to demonstrate where challenges were identified and the related impact on mining operations, as well as where these processes were used successfully.