Transforming the Mine Life Cycle

Mining activities typically come with acute social and environmental disruption to the host mining region. The challenge of this program is to encourage an approach to mining that will provide society with the raw materials it needs, while also minimising harm to regional livelihoods and ecosystems, and facilitate resilient regional development during the mine's operation and through to closure and post closure.

Extract of interview with Dr Anthony Hodge - Conversations about mining and society

Watch interview in full


Program Leader

Professor Anna Littleboy

Program Leader
Transitions in Mining Program
Professorial Research Fellow
Sustainable Minerals Institute

This challenge is not new but progress has been slow and is potentially inadequate to meet the pace of global change.  In part this is because the mine life cycle is conceptualised as a linear process, optimised for economic return to the mining company shareholders and focussed on extraction.  The more complex system interactions that result in social and environmental value are acknowledged but are generally addressed as secondary issues.  However, in today’s society, concerns about social and environmental interactions as a result of mining are changing the market in which mining operates - affecting the ability to both open and close mines around the world.

This program will accelerate mining-facilitated sustainability outcomes by delivering integrated solutions that bridge across the mine life cycle.

Research themes:

  • Planning, decision making and evaluation: How might mine decision making be revolutionised to integrate company and community values and accelerate delivery of sustainability outcomes alongside financial performance?
  • Transitioning through closure:  How does action through the mine life cycle contribute to building sustainable post-mining regional economies? 
  • Targeting the zero waste mine: How can technology solutions reduce the production of waste during mine and enable resilient and healthy post-mining ecosystem.


CRC bid:

  • Transformations in Mining Economies - The University of Queensland along with the University of Western Australia are leading a CRC bid which aims to drive transformational change to enable regions and communities to transition to a prosperous and sustainable post mine future.