Boggs, G, Measham, T, Littleboy, A & Haslam McKenzie, F 2022, 'Transformation for positive post mine futures', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & G Boggs (eds), Mine Closure 2022: 15th International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 49-62, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2215_0.04
In 2020, we established the Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies. Our CRC seeks reposition closure as a valued cornerstone for post mine economies and the mining industry, building enduring benefit for all Australians. We bring together over 70 partners from across diverse stakeholder groups to help reimagine and dramatically transform Australian mine closure outcomes. In the first two years of operation, we invested AUD 4.9M in 22 foundational projects to explore these themes, identify key barriers to success and identify points at which to focus to achieve change. This paper explores various themes and opportunities for change identified by this foundational research.
We need new frames and tools that can integrate repurposing opportunities at an individual site and integrate planning at regional scales to deliver net benefits beyond the mine (considering both towns and the broader regions in transition).
We recognise this requires the mining industry and governments to connect with sectors driving post mine development, from conservation to tourism, agriculture and energy and the critical role First Nations people play in land stewardship. This is why our aim is to work with stakeholders to help define a new vision and measures success in mine closure and post mine transitions.
Without a new-shared understanding of success, we will continue to see opportunities missed and conflicts emerge – undermining the sector, policy and improved outcomes. Australia is incredibly fortunate to have an environment in which diverse stakeholders can come together and explore solutions. A program such as the Australian Governments Cooperative Research Centre Program that can enable this to occur.
Of course, a new definition of success has significant implications for how we plan, execute and regulate mines as well as broader community and regional planning and development. The CRC is working with our partners to identify, develop and share new ways to incorporate short and long-term, tangible and intangible risk and opportunities in decision-making. This will help deliver increased confidence in the forecast and prediction of residual risk and decisions are made before a mine starts and through outs its life, better positioning for a positive post mine transition. This brings important consideration of how all stakeholders consider mine closure through a ‘whole of government’ lens. The CRC is fortunate to be working with policy makers from across government portfolios and multiple national jurisdictions to inform new frameworks and standards that can enable these transitions.
Another piece of the puzzle is driving innovation in our technology to ensure we have capability to execute these visions. We need to re-frame and ensure our focus on technology directly addresses the key areas of risk and opportunity identified to in the delivery of new models for success in post mine transitions. This requires integration of water, landform and ecosystem design tools, delivery mechanisms that are costeffective, scaleable and fit for purpose and takes advantage of remote monitoring technologies that identify progress and inform future trajectories. With a mine closure ‘boom’ forecast over coming decades, the CRC platform will enable piloting and commercialisation of these technologies will ensure Australia‘s mining equipment, technology and services supply chains are ready to meet domestic needs and positioned to capitalise on an emerging global marketplace.
Keywords: mine closure, post mine transitions, policy, repurposing, regional planning, technological innovation, CRC TiME
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