The European Union’s climate policy and the assumptions of the European Green Deal require Poland to take decisive transition efforts. The achievement of climate neutrality is a challenge due to the special role of coal in the Polish economy. Closing mines and abandoning coal is the greatest challenge for local communities in mining regions. This article presents the example of Wałbrzych, a Polish post-mining town, which has been experiencing the accumulation of negative consequences of inadequately planned liquidation since the 1990s. The current activities of mining companies in the face of abandoning coal were also analyzed. The gaps identified in the literature indicate the need to define a new method of managing the liquidation processes, based on the consideration of key risks resulting from decommissioning, to minimize the social costs in the first place. In this regard, it is helpful to diagnose the social concerns of the stakeholders. The social aspects of mine closures remain a challenge and finding effective ways to deal with them has become crucial for the industry. This prompted us to propose an approach based on community involvement in the decommissioning processes and the introduction of the social license for closure (SLC). By engaging the community, the SLC gives it a voice, allowing it to accommodate the individual needs of mining regions and ensure a successful and just transition. This article recognizes the key stakeholders and their fears related to the liquidation of mining. The organizational framework for stakeholder approval of the SLC is presented. The analysis was based on the example of Poland, a country facing the challenge of closing hard coal mines. Conclusions formulated on the basis of the case study complement the existing research in the field of social licensing and involving stakeholders in the mine closure planning process in accordance with the idea of corporate social responsibility.
Kozłowska-Woszczycka, A., & Pactwa, K. (2022). Social license for closure—A participatory approach to the management of the mine closure process. Sustainability, 14(11), 6610.