Previous CSRM Closure Projects

Before the establishment of the Social Aspects of Mine Closure Consortium, CSRM was working with mining companies and communities to address the social dimensions of closure. Highlights of this work include:

  • A significant body of research with MMG on the closure of Century zinc mine, Australia (2013, 2013a, 2013b, 2013c, 2014, 2016)
  • Social impacts of closure at Waihi gold operations, New Zealand (2009)
  • Organisational learnings from the Minahasa case study, Indonesia (2008)
  • A multi-stakeholder workshop exploring prospects for Clermont, a mining-dependent town in Queensland, Australia, in light of Blair Athol mine’s uncertain future. Representatives from Rio Tinto, government agencies and the community conducted a situation analysis and then assessed future possibilities using CSRM’s Towns Transition Tool (a decision support framework).

In the lead up to the establishment of the consortium, CSRM delivered three key pieces of work on social aspects of mine closure:

Social aspects of mine closure literature review cover

Mine closure and social performance: This discussion paper is about the social aspects of mine closure. Mine closure can be understood as a form of ‘industrial transformation’. The ideas and debates surrounding industrial transformation, are by no means new. Industrial regions, centres or hubs are generative; they are full of promise, and promises, and have for the last two hundred years, been a cornerstone of worldwide economic growth. However, these same localities can also experience severe disruption, sometimes resulting in long term decline, when technologies, markets and/or business models change. The mining industry, in extracting and processing mineral resources on a site-by-site basis, has assets that ultimately reach a point where the resource has been depleted to a point where it is no longer economically viable to continue mining that resource. The narrative told in the global mining industry is of economic uplift and prosperity through the construction and operational phases of mine life, contractions at project closure and relinquishment.  This discussion paper focuses on a set of questions relating to transformations at the end of mine life, namely:

  • What happens when major mining projects come to the end of their economic life?
  • How are responsibilities for end of life planned and distributed among stakeholders?
  • What does industrial transformation mean, for different stakeholders, at closure?
Social aspects of mine closure literature review cover
The Social Aspects of Mine Closure: A Global Literature Review and a subsequent Resources Policy journal paper: A critical review of the social aspects of mine closure: The global literature review provides an overview of the publicly available literature on the social aspects of mine closure. The themes that have been the focus of both industry and research attention – processes and procedures and topical issues – are examined. The review draws four key conclusions: (1) the knowledge base on the physical aspects of mine closure is significantly deeper and more developed than the social aspects; (2) there is limited technical literature on the social aspects of mine closures; (3) there are multiple barriers preventing mining companies from optimising the social aspects of mine closure; (4) active industry and government engagement with the social aspects of mine closure is required in order to address its impacts and legacies.
Regulating the social aspects of mine closure in three Australian states, a paper (and an industry summary document) published in the Journal of Energy and Natural Resources: The few scholarly publications that address the social aspects of mine closure focus on the role of mining companies. The role of the state, and the regulatory landscape within which mining companies operate in the later stages of mine life, receive little attention. This paper examines the extent to which regulatory instruments across three major Australian mining jurisdictions – New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia – include provisions that require proponents to consider the social aspects of closure.