Mining regions in transition – a global scan

Jo-Anne Everingham, Kamila Svobodova, Éleonore Lèbre, Sandy Worden and John Owen

This global scan examines the capacity of mining regions to transition to a post-mining future. The study highlights the complex patterns of human-nature interactions and considers the influence of key contextual factors on transition capacity. Three tiers of mining regions are identified based on this analysis: least constrained capacity, constrained capacity and most constrained capacity.


The study draws upon public sources of geo-locatable data using three steps:

  1. Defining and locating the world’s mining regions
  2. Defining and characterising a sub-group of regions where important mining assets are approaching the end of their economic lives
  3. Analysing the comparative capacity of these regions to successfully transition to post-mining alternatives according to contextual factors that influence transition capacity.


The analysis identified 554 administrative regions that have at least three mines within 50km of each other. These ‘mining regions’ are spread across 79 countries; more than half being in major mining countries, such as the USA, Australia, India, China, Canada and Russia. We report patterns, trends and contextual factors for these regions and identify variations in the number of mines, the total reserves and resources (R&Rs), the proportion of closed and operating mines, mine sizes, mining methods and commodities. Forty-six regions meet our criteria for ‘mining regions in transition’ (MRITs). These criteria are: (i) a minimum tonnage of R&Rs, (ii) a minimum proportion of closed mines and (iii) more than the average number of mines reportedly closing within 10 years (noting that many factors can change the timing of closure).

Everingham, J., Svobodova, K., Lèbre, É., Worden, S., & Owen, J. R. (2020). Mining regions in transition – a global scan. Brisbane: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining. University of Queensland.

Mining regions in transition – a global scan