Authors: Wright, A


Cite As:
Wright, A 2016, 'A common-sense approach to mine closure design in the remote Western Australian interior', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2016: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 635-648,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

In recent years Western Australia has seen a far greater focus on mine closure planning, with both the Government and the Mining Industry tackling implementation of rather conceptual mine closure strategies that are set early in the mine life. Both practitioners and Government stakeholders have the best of intentions when setting mine closure objectives, standards and completion criteria, but just how realistic are these when it comes to implementation? This paper looks at what might be considered both pragmatic (cost-effective and achievable) and responsible with regard to mine closure in the arid WA Goldfields region. It draws on twenty years of keen observation of the successes and failures of mining industry efforts in this region and recent scientific findings by several local consultants. The focus is on closure design of those mine landforms that remain post closure — mine pits, waste rock dumps, stockpiles, leach pads and tailings storage facilities. It examines the actual set of field conditions under which mines operate, post-closure modelling time frames and research (and predicative modelling) limitations. The paper suggests where closure design efforts should be focused and how best we might interpret the current WA Government mine closure guidelines. It identifies several closure design aspects that remain misunderstood by many stakeholders, resulting in unrealistic expectations and closure criteria.

Keywords: realistic closure designs arid environment

AMEC 2014, Key note presentations by DMP and EPA, Mine Closure & Rehabilitation Conference 2014, Perth.
BoM (Bureau of Meteorology) 2015, Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology official website,
DMP (Department of Mines and Petroleum) 2015, Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans, Western Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum and Environmental Protection Authority, May 2015.
DoIR (Department of Industry and Resources) 1997, Safety Bund Walls Around Abandoned Open Pit Mines, WA Department of Industry and Resources, Perth.
Landloch 2015, ‘Erosion Studies for a Tailings Storage Facility in the WA Eastern Goldfields’, technical report in KCGM 2015 Mine Closure Plan.
McPhail, GI & Rye, C 2008, ‘Comparison of the erosional performance of alternative slope geometries’, ACG Rock Dumps 2008 Conference Proceedings, Perth.

© Copyright 2024, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to