Mine Closure Hub

Resources for communities

Developed by the Sustainable Minerals Institute, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Mine Closure Hub – resources for communities is a virtual space that provides information about mine closure and post-mining transition that’s relevant for host communities and other stakeholders.

Access the Mine Closure Hub – resources for communities

Navigate through the key areas and materials using the links below.

Meet the Mine Closure Hub development team

Dr Sandy Worden

Sandy Worden
Research Fellow
Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining
+61 7 3346 3496


Lucía Neme-Gaviola

Lucía Neme-Gaviola
Research Assistant
Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Patricia Munguia Llort

Patricia Munguia Llort
Senior Co-ordinator,
Knowledge Transfer
Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Rosemarie Tapia Rivera

Rosemarie Tapia Rivera
Transformational Learning Program Coordinator
Sustainable Minerals Institute


Contact the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Email csrm@uq.edu.au

The following case study vignettes showcase some of the ways that community members can participate in mine closure planning and strategies for post-mining transition.

The vignettes cover closure and post-closure participation and are drawn from Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

Contact the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Email csrm@uq.edu.au


  1. Laurence, D. 2006. Optimisation of the mine closure process. Journal of Cleaner Production 14: 285-298.
  2. Bainton, N.A. and Holcombe, S. (2018). The Social Aspects of Mine Closure: A Global Literature Review. Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), The University of Queensland: Brisbane.
  3. Australian government. (2016) Mine Closure. Leading Practice Sustainable Development Program for the Mining Industry. https://www.industry.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-05/lpsdp-mine-closure-handbook-english.pdf
  4. Bainton, N.A. and Holcombe, S. (2018). The Social Aspects of Mine Closure: A Global Literature Review. Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), The University of Queensland: Brisbane. p. 29.
  5. Chaloping-March, M. 2008. Business Expediency, Contingency and Socio-political realities – a case of unplanned mine closure. In (eds) A.B. Fourie, M. Tibbett, I.M Weiersbye and P.J. Dye, Mine Closure 2008 Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Mine Closure. Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth. Pp 863-872
  6. Integrated Mine Closure: Good practice guide (2nd edition). https://www.icmm.com/en-gb/guidance/environmental-stewardship/integrated-mine-closure-2019
  7. Bainton, N.A. and Holcombe, S. (2018). The Social Aspects of Mine Closure: A Global Literature Review. Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), The University of Queensland: Brisbane.
  8. Haggerty, J., Gude, P. H., Delorey, M., & Rasker, R. (2014). Long-term effects of income specialization in oil and gas extraction: The U.S. West, 1980–2011. Energy Economics45(0), 186-195. doi: 10.1016/j.eneco.2014.06.020; Smith, M. D., Krannich, R. S., & Hunter, L. M. (2001). Growth, decline, stability, and disruption: A longitudinal analysis of social well-being in four western rural communities. Rural Sociology, 66(3), 425-450
  9. Bainton, N.A. and Holcombe, S. (2018). The Social Aspects of Mine Closure: A Global Literature Review. Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), The University of Queensland: Brisbane.
  10. Minerals Policy Institute 2016 Ground truths: taking responsibility for Australia’s mining legacies, http://www.mpi.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Ground-Truths-2016-web.pdf
  11. Kung, A., Everingham, J., and Vivoda, V. (2020) ‘Social aspects of mine closure: governance & regulation.Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining. The University of Queensland: Brisbane.
  12. The survey was undertaken by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) in 2019-2020. The IGF is a voluntary initiative supporting more than 75 nations committed to leveraging mining for sustainable development to ensure negative impacts are limited and financial benefits are shared. 
  13. The IFC is an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset-management services to encourage private-sector development in less developed countries. It is a member of the World Bank Group.
  14. Holcombe, S., Elliott, V., Keeling, A., Berryman, M., Hall, R., Ngaamo, R., Beckett, C., Moon, W., Hudson, M., Kusabs, N. and Ross River Lands Office. 2022. Indigenous Exchange Forum: Transitions in Mine Closure. St Lucia: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, University of Queensland.

Other resources

Click on the hyperlink to access the resource.

Contact the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Email csrm@uq.edu.au

Glossary of terms

This glossary of terms has been developed to help navigate the technical language used by mining companies, including around mine closure.


A resource with economic value that an individual, community group or mining company owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide a future benefit. Includes infrastructure, human resources, natural resources, institutions and relationships. These are sometimes referred to as capitals because they can be used to generate additional resources; for example, people’s human resources (skills and education) can generate economic returns and higher earnings.

Care and maintenance

Phase following a temporary interruption to mining operations. The site is secured. Infrastructure is maintained intact. Activities are carried out to reduce potential for environmental impacts for the period of time before the mine reopens or activities are undertaken to progress mine closure.

Capacity building

Developing the ability of individuals, groups, institutions and organisations to identify and solve problems. A managed process for upgrading skills, improving procedures and strengthening organisational competence.

Closed mine

Mine at which all mining activities have stopped but where responsibility for regulatory compliance and permit obligations remain with the owner, agent, manager or permit holder.

Closure activities

Actions that will be carried out during implementation of a mine closure plan.

Closure objectives

A description of what is to be achieved through undertaking mine closure activities. Derived from the overall closure vision and closure principles. Are site specific and may be particular to individual mine domains or aspects of closure.

Closure risks assessment

Evaluation of the risks and opportunities associated with mine closure and post-closure transition.

Closure vision

High-level description of what a company wants to achieve through implementation of a closure plan. Guides the overall closure strategy and selection of closure objectives.


(also note affected community, community of interest, neighbouring community, local community)

The terms ‘local community’ and ‘neighbouring community’ are used to refer to a group of people living near a mine who will be directly affected by its closure. The effects may be economic, social or environmental. ‘Affected community’ and ‘community of interest’ are broader terms and encompass a group of interacting people who may be geographically dispersed but linked by shared culture, experiences or interests. They may not live near the mine. They could be dispersed along a resource corridor or, in the case of some indigenous peoples and traditional owners, no longer residing in their traditional territories but nevertheless maintaining a connection to land.

Community development / investment

The process of building active and sustainable communities over the long term. Aims to empower and help communities improve their social and physical environments, increase equity and social justice, overcome social exclusion and build capacities. It also involves them in decision-making about matters that affect them.

Community engagement

An ongoing and inclusive process in which a mining company connects with a group of people who live near each other or have common interests. Based on a set of guiding principles, strategies and approaches that respect the right of community members to be informed, consulted, involved and empowered about matters that affect them.

The term is often used interchangeably with ‘public participation’. While community engagement is seen as an ongoing, two-way or multi-way process, public participation originally centred on specific decisions by organisations, particularly industry and government organisations, in which decision-making rather than relationships was the focus.

Corrective action plan

A set of actions to correct a problem, non-compliance or underperformance. Maps out a path to improve performance and/or reduce risk. Often developed in response to an incident or failure.


A process involving active listening and talking which can enable informed decision-making. Implies acceptance of and respect for the points of view of other people. Diversity and division are openly addressed.


Process by which a company sells part or all its assets. This can occur at any stage of the mining lifecycle and involves the transfer of ownership, infrastructure, liabilities and responsibility for mine closure.


The process of increasing peoples’ ability to participate in decision-making about matters that affect them. It includes the capacity to influence and negotiate with the institutions that affect their lives and to hold those institutions accountable.

Financial assurance

Funds that will be available to complete mine closure works, even if the mining company goes bankrupt or otherwise abandons the site. Financial assurance is sometimes called a guarantee or a closure bond. Required by government authorities in many jurisdictions.

Free prior and informed consent (FPIC)

An established feature of human rights norms. Requires that all development proposals, including mining, should only proceed with the freely given consent of the affected people, and that all relevant information about the proposal should be available to those people before they provide their consent. Definitions originally formulated in relation to indigenous peoples, as in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and IFC Performance Standard 7 (IFC PS7) on Indigenous Peoples.

Grievance mechanism

A procedure for managing complaints, disputes and grievances lodged by affected stakeholders about mining activities. Aims to resolve issues before they escalate. Methods for lodging a grievance include the use of suggestion boxes, hotlines, website forms or talking with a nominated person (usually a member of the community relations team).

Human rights

Recognition of the inherent value of each person regardless of their background, where they live, what they look like, what they think or what they believe. Based on the principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect, which are shared across cultures, religions and philosophies. They are about being treated fairly, treating others fairly and having the ability to make genuine life choices.


Any change, whether anticipated or unanticipated, positive or negative, brought about by a development activity (such as mining). In the context of mine closure, impacts are changes that have environmental, political, economic or social significance to society. see also the social impact definition.

Impact assessment

A formal process of identifying potential future consequences of a current or proposed action.

Indigenous peoples

Distinct social and cultural groupings that have the following characteristics:

  • self-identification as a member of a distinct cultural group and recognition of this identity by other people
  • collective attachment to a geographically distinct habitat or ancestral territory and to the area’s natural resources
  • customary cultural, economic, social and/or political institutions that are separate from those of the dominant society or culture
  • a language which is often different from the official language of the country or region.

Intangible cultural heritage

Cultural knowledge, innovations and practices of community groups that can be observed within their traditional lifestyles and (often subconscious) daily activity.

Knowledge base

The collection of site-specific information that will inform a closure plan, including physical, environmental, social and regulatory information. Initiated with baseline data and updated with additional information as it is collected.

Land use

The purpose that humans apply to the land available to them. How the land is managed, including how the natural environment is adapted to human needs.

Local employment

Providing jobs for local people. The geographic definition of ‘local’ may vary; cities and regions within a country can be considered ‘local’.

Local procurement

Purchasing materials, products and services from local providers. The geographic definition of ‘local’ may vary; cities and regions within a country can be considered ‘local’.

Life of asset (LoA)

The length of time an asset (for example, a mine, processing facilities, refineries, smelters, rail, port, utilities, towns and associated infrastructure) is owned, operated then closed by the mining company up until divestment or relinquishment. The period includes exploration, development, operations, closure and post-closure.

Life of mine (LoM)

The length of time a mine is planned to be extracting minerals. Based on a mine plan which considers the available capital and the ore reserves.

Mining lifecycle

The full period of the mining process. Typically includes exploration, development, operations, closure and post-closure. The same as life-of-asset.

Opportunities / benefits

The positive contribution mining makes to society, particularly for local communities. Can be short-term or long-term and tangible or intangible. Examples include community investment programs, skills training, jobs (direct and indirect), infrastructure development and government revenue generated from royalties and taxes.


A process for empowerment and social inclusion (particularly for vulnerable people and minority groups, such as indigenous communities). Underpinned by the principle that mining-affected people have the right to be involved in decision-making about matters that affect them.

While public participation originally centred on specific decisions by organisations, particularly industry and government organisations, community engagement is seen as an ongoing, two-way or multi-way process, in which relationships rather than decisions may be the focus. 


The period after the completion of all works needed to close a mine site. Sometimes refers only to a period of monitoring and maintenance leading up to relinquishment but may include a period in which ongoing activity (such as the operation of a water treatment plant) is needed.

Post-closure maintenance and management

Includes activities required to maintain and manage infrastructure and site rehabilitation until relinquishment is possible. If not possible, the mine owner is responsible for the site’s ongoing maintenance and management.

Post-closure monitoring

Includes monitoring after closure, such as socio-economic, water quality, water quantity, terrain, ecological and air quality monitoring. Results are compared with success criteria.

Post-mining land use

Refers to the use of mined land once active mining has been completed, including the period when the site is undergoing closure activities.

Primary data

Qualitative or quantitative data that are collected to address a specific objective. Primary data may include original information gathered from surveys, focus groups, independent observations and test results.

Progressive closure

Ongoing efforts during construction and mine operations that seek to advance closure activities. Examples include rehabilitation and revegetation of disturbed land and decommissioning and demolition of unused infrastructure.

Progressive relinquishment

Step-by step relinquishment of a mine site. Discrete mine areas are closed and brought into a condition suitable for relinquishment. Typically occurs over a number of years. See also relinquishment.


The return of mined land to a stable, productive and self-sustaining condition after considering beneficial uses of the site and surrounding land. Reinstatement of functional ecosystems where restoration is not the objective.


The end of a company’s ownership of and responsibility for a mine. Involves the transfer of ownership and residual liability to the government authority or a third party. Implies that the mining company has completed all obligations outlined in the closure plan to the satisfaction of the authorities (and possibly other stakeholders).


Beneficial reuse of a closed mining operation. Can include reuse of the land (e.g., energy generation or residential) or recycling of the infrastructure at another site.


Re-establishment of ecosystem structure and function to its near-natural state or replication of a desired reference ecosystem.

Rights holder

People whose rights are (or may be) impacted by mining.


Uncertainty about the consequences of an activity (such as mining) with respect to something that humans value (such as livelihoods, air quality, social amenity etc). Risks can be negative (threats) or positive (opportunities).

Risk management

An administrative system for dealing with risk, including steps to guide an organisation’s practices and processes. Core components include establishing the context, assessing the risks, designing and implementing controls, and monitoring outcomes.

Secondary data

Qualitative or quantitative information that has already been collected for some other purpose. Sources may include Census reports, journal articles, technical or academic studies and other publications.

Social impact

The consequences to groups of people, or society as a whole, arising from a decision or an action. Can be positive or negative and can be experienced or felt directly or indirectly, over the short or long term.

Social investment

The provision and use of company resources – in addition to those resources for core business activities and mitigation of negative impacts – to generate or enhance positive economic and social returns in local communities.

Social licence to operate

A much-debated colloquial term referring to the level of acceptance or approval continually granted to an organisation’s operations by a local community and other stakeholders.

Some scholars choose not to use this term. They argue that it encourages mining companies to limit their thinking to those factors that threaten their ability to achieve business objectives. Taking such a narrow risk perspective may increase the likelihood that the burden of risk is carried by those people with the least resources to deal with it (such as host communities).

Social performance

How a company handles its commitments, interactions and activities as they relate to local communities. Can include negotiating agreements, compensating for loss and disruption, ensuring that mining-affected people receive timely and accessible information, and that their grievances are investigated and remedied where needed. Effective social performance practice prioritises respect for human rights, harm avoidance and equitable benefit sharing.

Social risk

Uncertainty and ambiguity about the physical or non-physical consequences of a future event or activity (such as mining) on individuals or society.

Social risk assessment

A formalised process to recognise and describe social risks; identify risk sources, causes and consequences; determine the nature of level of risk; then decide how to modify the risk (remove risk source, change the likelihood) or change the consequence of the risk.

Socio-economic transition (mining context)

The shift from an economy dominated by mining to a post-mining economy.

The planning, considerations and activities undertaken throughout the life-of-mine for the transition of a community (including mine employees) towards closure of a mine.


Individuals and groups who have an interest in particular activities and decisions. Includes people who can influence the decision or activities, as well as those affected by them.

Stakeholders may be individuals, interest groups, government agencies, non-government organisations or corporate organisations. They may include politicians, commercial and industrial enterprises, labour unions, academics, religious groups, national social and environmental groups, public sector agencies, and the media.

Stakeholder analysis

A process that seeks to identify and describe the interests and relationships of all the stakeholders associated with a given mining operation. A necessary precondition to participatory planning and project management.

Success criteria

Specifications, measurements and requirements that, if met, signify that the closure activities have met the closure objectives. Success criteria may be quantitative or qualitative. They may have a time component and may also be linked to specific management or monitoring activities.

Sudden / unplanned mine closure

Occurs when unexpected changes in conditions result in mining stopping ahead of the date in the current mine plan.

Temporary mine closure

Temporary closure is a suspension of mining activities for a limited period. May also be referred to as ‘inactive’.

Vulnerable groups

People who by virtue of gender, ethnicity, age, physical or mental disability, economic disadvantage, or social status may be more adversely affected by mining than others.

These terms and their definitions have been adapted from:

AusIMM Social Responsibility Framework, Appendix 5: Social Performance Definitions ICMM Community Development Toolkit. Available at https://www.icmm.com/en-gb/guidance/social-performance/community-development-toolkit

IFC, 2014, A Strategic Approach to Early Stakeholder Engagement, A Good Practice Handbook for Junior Companies in the Extractive Industries, Available at https://commdev.org/publications/a-strategic-approach-to-early-stakeholder-engagement/

ICMM Integrated Mine Closure Good Practice Guide, 2nd Edition (2019). Available at https://www.icmm.com/website/publications/pdfs/environmental-stewardship/2019/guidance_integrated-mine-closure.pdf

Contact the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Email csrm@uq.edu.au