Authors: Mitchell, IC


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Mitchell, IC 2012, 'Robust mine closure development and maintenance', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2012: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 241-250,

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Mine closure planning is becoming increasingly more rigorous both nationally and internationally. Greater expectations are being placed on industry from the community, industry itself and from within government to ensure mining and in particular rehabilitation and closure are completed in an ecologically sustainable manner. From the community perspective, these expectations have come from a growing awareness of environmental issues and the need for an increase in environmental protection. The mining industry understands and accepts the responsibility it has for mine rehabilitation and closure. The industry recognises that in failing to address rehabilitation and closure issues correctly, its reputation is affected. The industry also recognises that to gain access to future resources it needs to demonstrate that it can close mines effectively (DITR, 2006a). From the government perspective, a greater emphasis is being placed on mine closure planning to ensure processes are in place and mines are closed in a way so as to not cause unacceptable liability to the government (Western Australian (WA) Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), 2011). This paper will present an overview of the WA ‘Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans’, introduced in July 2011 and jointly prepared by the DMP and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). A component of these guidelines requires companies to undertake a review and re-submit their Mine Closure Plans (MCP) every three years. The guidelines require ongoing collection and analysis of significant amounts of rehabilitation and closure data, and require proponents to detail how this information and data will be managed. It will therefore be critical for mines to improve their data management capabilities. The paper will provide an insight into the development of systematic and robust MCPs, and the maintenance and refinement of closure plans through the operating phase and beyond. The paper will also discuss the use of electronic tools that assist and streamline the data management and review process to save time and resources for mining companies.

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