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At the industry level, there is recognition that the principle of designing and operating for closure is necessary to achieve successful and sustainable post-mining outcomes. Despite recognising the benefits of applying these principles, many mine operators struggle with the apparently conflicting objectives of run-of-mine profitability and life-of-mine costs and liabilities. This paper makes the following interrelated arguments from our experience. Closure efforts can be made significantly more effective (and ultimately less expensive) if closure considerations are included in the day-to-day operations of a mine. Closure is currently not being adequately considered and embedded into all stages of the mine lifecycle due to a reluctance to accept present expenditures to reduce long-term costs. An integrated and progressive approach to closure is not merely about the temporal redistribution of costs; rather, there are real, immediate and long-term benefits to incorporating closure into day-to-day activities that need to be considered alongside other financial calculations. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can be a useful tool to facilitate the cultural and organisational change required to shift towards a more embedded, integrated, progressive, and ultimately effective closure process. Incorporating KPIs earlier in the mine lifecycle will offer the greatest benefit, and KPIs developed as part of a closure execution project can also increase the likelihood of achieving positive closure outcomes. After elucidating these arguments and providing examples of the benefits of KPIs as a vehicle for organisational change, this paper suggests some areas to consider for KPIs for companies looking to effectively integrate progressive closure considerations into their broader mine plans.
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