Authors: Smith, HD


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Smith, HD 2012, 'Indigenous perspectives on closure and abandonment of mines and oil wells', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2012: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 641-649,

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The past five years has shown a massive increase in exploration for minerals, oil and gas in the on-shore and offshore areas of Australia’s Northern Territory. Although many Aborigines are now quite familiar with land-based mining, proposals to mine the seafloor or use reservoir stimulation (hydraulic fracturing) for production of oil and gas are relatively new to them. Aboriginal perceptions of mine closure are affected by historical practices that have led to a number of legacy sites and there is consequently a developing concern that further environmental degradation will also result from modern practices and techniques. This paper primarily seeks to discuss the rationale behind Aboriginal concerns and examines standards currently applied to mine closure and well abandonment. The outcomes are placed in the context of Aboriginal cultural and ecological knowledge; and the inclusion of improved standards for closure in Agreements related to mining and oil and gas production in the Northern Territory is discussed.

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