Authors: Rissik, D; Iles, M

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Rissik, D & Iles, M 2022, 'Climate change and mine closure: initial risk assessment of the Ranger Mine closure plan', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & G Boggs (eds), Mine Closure 2022: 15th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 603-612,

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Climate change is a growing concern that can potentially affect the performance, implementation and outcomes of mine closure. Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) is closing its Ranger Mine and implementing a Mine Closure Plan. ERA’s rehabilitation strategy has been developed following extensive scientific research, engineering design and consultation with Traditional Owners and other stakeholders over the past 30+ years. Climate change stressors have been considered in several major aspects during this process and are also considered informally within many project risk assessments and activities. A formal climate change risk assessment of the mine closure was conducted as recommended by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) good practice (closure) guideline. Two face-to-face and one online stakeholder workshops were held to undertake a first pass assessment of climate change risk to, and from, mine closure. Briefings were provided on climate projections for the target area, based on the best available information. The assessment was informed by expert elicitation from experts within and outside of ERA including government and Traditional Owner representatives. Additional information was drawn from published literature. An overview of the assessment process was presented and included discussion on the likelihood and consequence tables to underpin the risk analysis ensuring participants were comfortable with the approach. A mid-range (RCP4.5) and a business-as-usual (RCP8.5) climate change scenarios were selected to determine when any major risks might occur. In assessing risk, the current Mine Closure Plan and activities were discussed, and their role in addressing relevant climate change risks was assessed to enable any residual risk to be identified. There were 37 potential risks identified in four key areas: Recommendations were made including to update the assessment as new climate change data and information becomes available. Significant engagement with Traditional Owners of the area will be critical to ensure that climate change adaptation is integrated into the long-term management of the site.

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