This article examines community perceptions and employment impacts to assess ex ante the post-mining viability of two settlements in remote north-east South Australia. The results reinforce grave concerns over their future viability following mine closure. However, government employees and traditional owners are more optimistic than other groups about community futures beyond mining. Devastatingly, employment impacts represent approximately 80 and 75% (225 & 1616) of jobs and 90 and 80% ($30 m & $164 m) of employment income in the two locations (Leigh Creek, Roxby Downs). These impacts reach beyond mining into other sectors, particularly public services and trade and accommodation respectively, and further limit economic diversity and opportunity. Building alternative futures in remote locations like these is problematic, though not impossible. Policy responses should reflect differences in perceptions, impact and case-specific contexts: settlements at the end of their life cycles like Leigh Creek require emergency action including institutional reform. Settlements still in the early stages, like Roxby Downs, have time to begin planning now, though not yet conceived, for a future without mining.
Robertson, S.A., Blackwell, B.D., & Alexander, J. (2017). The viability of remote mining communities: Insights from community perceptions and employment impact assessments. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 35(4), 310-324. doi 10.1080/14615517.2017.1354640