Authors: Pershke, DF; Elliott, PE

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Pershke, DF & Elliott, PE 2019, 'Post-closure land uses – defined through a strategic land use planning approach', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2019: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 983-996,

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There has been an assumption that rehabilitation should return mine sites to a natural ecosystem reflecting the pre-mining condition. This view is commonly expressed by civil action groups and is implied by the hierarchy outlined in the Western Australia (WA) Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans, which suggest that a preferred post-closure outcome is to “reinstate natural ecosystems to be as similar as possible to the original ecosystem”. While the guidelines allow for alternative land uses to be considered, there is generally limited consideration of post-mining land uses, with the default position being that the land will revert to a pre-mining land use (Western Australia Biodiversity Science Institute 2018). Although this outcome might satisfy agencies responsible for mine closure regulation, there are others that question whether this provides best value to the region; for example, East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2017). This paper draws on the literature and the authors’ recent experiences in working with mining companies in different regional areas of WA to illustrate: We will identify areas where we have had wins in overcoming hurdles and challenges, and areas where further work or alternative approaches are required.

Keywords: land use, planning, productive use, collective action

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