Mine closure as a framework for sustainable development

Daniel Limpitlaw

At least 25 major mines in developing countries are expected to close during this decade (World Bank, 2002). This problem is particularly acute in mature mining countries: the number of operating coal mines in South Africa has declined by more than half, from 112 in 1986, to 53 at the end of 2001 (Mohring et al., 2001). The safety, environmental and social risks arising from badly conducted mine closure can result in significant liabilities for mining companies. For communities, closure can cause severe distress because of the threat of economic and social collapse. Abandoned mines may result in large clean-up costs and closure liabilities for governments (World Bank, 2002). To close a mine successfully, a trilateral consultation and problem solving process is required between mining companies, governments and communities. This process needs to commence at the design stage of the project. If conducted effectively, closure can be the mechanism by which capital generated through mineral extraction is transferred to future generations. 

Limpitlaw, D. (2004). Mine closure as a framework for sustainable development. University of the Witwatersrand: South Africa.

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Journal article
Mine closure as a framework for sustainable development