Svobodova, K, Owen, JR, Lebre, E, Edraki, M & Littleboy, A 2019, 'The multi-risk vulnerability of global coal regions in the context of mine closure', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 553-562, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1915_45_Svobodova
Coal mining industries face real challenges to meet legal demands on a low carbon future. The history of coal in industrial transitions seems to come to a rapid end, accompanied by widespread boom of closing active coal mining projects. This change can result in negative ramifications for coal mining regions, involving a complex interplay of multiple risks. In this paper, we aim to analyse the complexity of environmental, social, and governance factors that can cause significant difficulties in closure of coal mining operations. We identify multi-factor risk profiles for operating mines by applying spatially explicit indicators within a proposed
multi-risk framework. The indicators have not been captured by conventional market, as they tend to be more long-term oriented in the context of strategy and performance. We map eight risk categories: stability, water and climate, biodiversity, vulnerability of land uses, indigenous people, social fragility, political fragility, and regulatory environment, and analyse their effect on a global dataset of active open pit coal mines. The spatial analysis reveals that a significant proportion of the projects face accumulation of multiple risk factors. A total of 552 projects out of 916 show medium to very high-risk occurrence. In this paper, we present global risk vulnerability across the coal mining projects by indicating extent to which operators of the mines face multiple risk factors when planning for closure.
Keywords: coal phase-out, ESG, multi-factor risk, rehabilitation
Amatulli, G, Domisch, S, Tuanmu, MN, Parmentier, B, Ranipeta, A, Malczyk, J & Jetz, W 2018, ‘A suite of global, cross-scale topographic variables for environmental and biodiversity modeling’, Scientific data, vol. 5, pp.180040.
Bainton, N & Holcombe, S 2018, ‘A critical review of the social aspects of mine closure’. Resources Policy, vol. 59, pp. 468–478.
BirdLife International 2019, What are KBAs & how are they identified?, viewed 24 March 2019,
Buckley, T 2019, Over 100 Global Financial Institutions Are Exiting Coal, With More to Come, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, viewed 15 March 2019,
European Environmental Bureau 2019, European parliament calls for EU coal exit by 2030, viewed 4 June 2019,
Environmental Systems Research Institute 2018, An overview of the Analysis toolbox, viewed 24 March 2019,
Fraser Institute 2018, Annual Survey of Mining Companies, viewed 24 March 2019,
Fund for Peace 2018, Fragile State Index, viewed 1 March 2019,
Garnett, ST, Burgess, ND, Fa, JE, Fernández-Llamazares, Á, Molnár, Z, Robinson, CJ ... & Collier, NF 2018, ‘A spatial overview of the global importance of Indigenous lands for conservation’, Nature Sustainability, vol. 1, no. 7, pp. 369.
Giardini, D, Grünthal, G, Shedlock, KM & Zhang, P 2003, ‘The GSHAP Global Seismic Hazard Map’, in Lee, W, Kanamori, H, Jennings, P & Kisslinger, C (eds), International Handbook of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology, Part A, Volume 81A, Academic Press, Amsterdam, pp. 1233–1239.
Hendrychová, M & Kabrna, M 2016, ‘An analysis of 200-year-long changes in a landscape affected by large-scale surface coal mining: History, present and future’, Applied geography, vol. 74, pp.151–159.
International Union for Conservation of Nature 2016, A Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas: version 1.0, Gland, Cambridge, viewed 24 March 2019,
Lechner, AM, McIntyre, N, Witt, K, Raymond, CM, Arnold, S, Scott, M & Rifkin, W 2017, ‘Challenges of integrated modelling in mining regions to address social, environmental and economic impacts’, Environmental modelling & software, vol. 93, pp.268–281.
McGowan, M & Cox, L 2019, ‘Court rules out Hunter Valley coalmine on climate change grounds’, The Guardian, viewed 4 June 2019,
Natural Resource Governance Institute 2017, 2017 Resource Governance Index, viewed 24 March 2019,
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2017, Investment governance and the integration of environmental, social and governance factors,
O'Faircheallaigh, C 2017, ‘Shaping projects, shaping impacts: community-controlled impact assessments and negotiated agreements’, Third World Q, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 1181–1197.
Peduzzi, P, Dao, H, Herold, C & Mouton, F 2002, Global Risk and Vulnerability Index Trends Per Year (Gravity) Phase Ii: Development, Analysis And Results, viewed 24 March 2019,
Ranängen, H & Lindman, Å 2017, ‘A path towards sustainability for the Nordic mining industry’, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 151, pp.43–52.
Reig, P, Shiao, T & Gassert, F 2013, Aqueduct Water Risk Framework, World Resources Institute, Washington, viewed 20 March 2019,
S&P 2019, S&P Global Market Intelligence. Thomson Reuters, New York, viewed 24 March 2019,
Salmon, DA 2018, ‘Managing uncertainty in planning opencast coal final void closure and relinquishment’ in Wolkersdorfer, C, Sartz, L, Weber, A, Burgess, J & Tremblay, G (eds), Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage, International Mine Water Association, Wendelstein, pp 64–69.
United Nations Development Programme 2015, Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, New York.
United Nations Environment Programme 2018, World Database on Protected Areas, viewed 24 March 2019,
Valenta, RK, Kemp, D, Owen, JR, Corder, GD, & Lèbre, É 2019, ‘Re-thinking complex orebodies: Consequences for the future world supply of copper’, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 220, pp. 816–826.
Venter, O, Sanderson, EW, Magrach, A, Allan, JR, Beher, J, Jones, KR ... & Levy, MA 2016, ‘Sixteen years of change in the global terrestrial human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation’, Nature Communications, vol. 7, pp. 12558.
Walters, A 2016, The Hole Truth: To Mess Coal Companies Plan to Leave in NSW, Energy Resource Insights, viewed 24 March 2019,
Wood Mackenzie 2018, Adaro Wara Coal Mine, Wood Mackenzie, Edinburgh.
World Bank 2018, Rankings & Ease of Doing Business Score, viewed 24 March 2019,