A framework for developing mine-site completion criteria in Western Australia

Renee Young, Ana Manero, Ben Miller, Marit Kragt, Rachel Standish and Guy Boggs

This report has two parts. The first part (Chapter 2) presents a new framework to help guide the decision-making process associated with completion criteria development. The second part (Chapters 3, 4 and 5) document current understanding and perspectives on completion criteria development.

The framework is presented as a process consisting of six steps that enables the industry to demonstrate ability to support the agreed post-mining land use. Each step includes key considerations and guidance to inform the decision making and prioritisation process. The decision-making process should be captured when using the framework to develop site-specific criteria. Tools have been provided to support the recording and presentation of information to demonstrate the process used and application to a specific site. This common set of definitions, processes and methods will also help to reduce inconsistencies across regulators, mining companies and consultants. 

The six steps are:
1. Selecting post-mining land uses;
2. Determining aspects and closure objectives;
3. Selecting references;
4. Selecting attributes and risk-based prioritisation;
5. Developing completion criteria; and
6. Monitoring.

The remainder of the report (Chapters 3–5) supports the framework by documenting the current state of knowledge on completion criteria development in Western Australia. It provides the context and directions for users of this guide to consider, and learn from, when developing completion criteria and risk-based monitoring system development.

Chapter 3 consists of a review of existing guidelines, frameworks and principles for the establishment of completion criteria and associated risk assessment that are available in Western Australia, as well as other relevant national or international frameworks. The review presents an assessment of the attributes that may be developed into completion criteria and associated monitoring and evaluation approaches with a focus on the biological attributes as informed by the scope of the project. This provides a valuable reference for informing the development of completion criteria.

Chapter 4 presents the views of stakeholders provided through interviews and surveys within the resources sector. This provides insights into current understanding and consideration of post-mine land use decisions, completion criteria, risk assessment and monitoring practices, and the process of mine closure planning in Western Australia. The interviews and surveys also highlight the key challenges regulators, mining companies and consulting sector face in the identification and evaluation of completion criteria.

Chapter 5 details three case studies of key challenges and decision-making processes at three sites that represent varied environment, mining and social contexts: Goldsworthy Northern Area (iron ore, BHP Billiton), Tallering Peak (iron ore, Mount Gibson Iron) and Northern Jarrah Forest (bauxite, Alcoa of Australia).

Young, R.E., Manero, A., Miller, B.P., Kragt, M.E., Standish, R.J., Jasper, D.A., & Boggs, G.S. (2019). A framework for developing mine-site completion criteria in Western Australia: Project Report. The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, Perth, Western Australia.

The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute
A framework for developing mine-site completion criteria in Western Australia