In the current climate of environmental protection, environmental monitoring data often play a crucial role in the planning process leading to the extraction of minerals from open excavations. Yet often the relatively modest capital and human resource commitments required to operate an effective monitoring network in the early stages of development are allowed to obscure the real long-term benefits of collecting high-quality data. In this paper the pressures facing those responsible for commissioning environmental monitoring networks are set out. Common problems faced are described, along with the consequences of inadequate monitoring. The economic value of good data is emphasized and ways in which this can be achieved are summarized with particular emphasis on the need for regular reviews of incoming data.