Authors: Thomson, I

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Thomson, I 2013, 'Key issues for socially responsible mine closure: a comparative examination of corporate policies and practice', in M Tibbett, AB Fourie & C Digby (eds), Mine Closure 2013: Proceedings of the Eighth International Seminar on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Cornwall, pp. 463-472,

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Since 2002, strong metal prices, notably for gold, have allowed mines previously projected to run out of ore to continue production from lower-grade material. As a result there have been relatively few mine closures in this period. During this same period, there has been an almost universal adoption of corporate social responsibility as the framework for social performance in response to sustained pressure from host communities, civil society, financial institutions and other stakeholders. The focus of effort has been on the criteria for socially responsible exploration, development and operation of new mines and corrective action on older mines. Closure has not received the same level of attention. The publicly available information on corporate policies and procedures for mine closure articulated by three major gold mining companies is examined together with their relationship to practical application, as demonstrated by recent mine closures or closure plans by the same companies. Qualitative analysis of the information is undertaken on a comparative basis and also with reference to evolving international norms for corporate social responsibility, including ISO26000. The paper highlights how individual companies articulate and implement their vision of responsible mine closure and throws light on how each company has arrived at its position.

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