A critical review of the social aspects of mine closure

Nicholas Bainton and Sarah Holcombe

This paper maps out the publicly available literature on the social aspects of mine closure to identify the major themes and gaps that inform the current knowledge base on this topic. Our broad purpose is to characterise the social dimensions of the mine closure process. In doing so, we draw attention to the ways in which this knowledge base has been produced, and the sorts of topical issues that have received the most attention across the literature. Our review is framed by two critical issues: the real costs of mine closure are poorly understood; and significant sections of the mining industry engage in deliberate strategies to avoid mine closure or externalise the costs of closure, and the pursuit of these strategies can cause, or greatly add to, the social costs of mine closure. These issues are explored through a basic framework of accountability that connects notions of procedural fairness (the administrative elements of mine closure) with ideas on social risk (the things that mining companies are accountable for).

Bainton, N. & Holcombe, S. (2018). A critical review of the social aspects of mine closure. Resources Policy, 59, 468-478. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resourpol.2018.08.020

Journal article
A critical review of the social aspects of mine closure