There are a number of mines in northern Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland preparing for closure in the next 10 years.  However, only now are the consequences emerging of decisions and actions taken during the mine-lifecycle.

Residual risks, environmental uncertainty and societal impacts are sufficiently high that they are affecting the ability of operators to close mines and also to open new ones.  The recently released strategy of the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) identifies mine closure as one of the top challenges for their members and many major mining companies have significant funds set aside to manage this final stage of a mining operation. Examples of good practice exist, but there are as many examples where mines have failed to close, leaving governments accountable for long term environmental liabilities costing billions of dollars.

This theme will model how regions best transition into self- sustaining post mining economies and ecosystems.   It will focus on three issues: 

  1. What constitutes a positive legacy following mine closure?
  2. What processes and systems of governance are required to deliver it?
  3. How do the impacts of mine closures accumulate in mining rich regions?