Mine closure is a standard part of a mining cycle, yet it has received much less attention in Australia than approval and development of new mines. Reasons for this include that, to date, many more mines have been developed than have closed, that the key debates about incurring and managing the benefits and the costs of mines typically occur prior to approval, and that under the extended life-cycle planning that underpins Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) processes, rehabilitation and closure are already incorporated into mine planning. However, there is emerging evidence of more specific attention on mine rehabilitation and closure, at least in Queensland (Queensland Government 2017). It appears that there is specific interest in mine closure policy as a separate topic because (a) more mines are reaching end of mine life, (b) community standards about what is appropriate rehabilitation and closure may have changed since many mines were first approved, (c) regulations outlining the conditions for rehabilitation and closure are not as specific for older mines compared with younger mines, and (d) rates of progressive rehabilitation of mined areas have been slower than required.
The focus of the research reported in this paper was to test if there were large variations in attitudes towards mine rehabilitation and closure issues amongst the key groups that could be involved in a stakeholder consultation process. The case study setting was the Bowen Basin in Queensland, where a number of mines are likely to reach the end of their operating life in the next decade or so. The research involved a series of interviews with industry, government and stakeholder groups to identify key issues of interest, and then an online survey-based data collection process to identify key attitudes.
Rolfe, J., Kinnear, S. Everingham, J. & Akbar, D. (2018). C25032: Report 4 – Assessing the convergence of stakeholder views on post-mining lands uses in the Bowen Basin. Queensland: ACARP.