Authors: Ruswa, NA

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Ruswa, NA 2023, 'Evaluating the contribution of integrated mine closure and post-closure in realising community orientated Sustainable Development Goals', in B Abbasi, J Parshley, A Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2023: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth,

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The focus of this study is to explore the contribution of integrated mine closure and post-closure initiatives in realising community orientated SDGs. The study makes findings that warrant integrated mine closure and post-closure’s prioritisation as it can contribute to communities. Inadequate mine closure or the complete lack of mine closure planning is a serious concern for countries around the world. Australia has about 60,000 abandoned mines and in South Africa, it is estimated that there are 4,000 – 6,000 abandoned mines. There are several examples of disastrous mine closures around the world. In August 2021, a news website article highlighted the disastrous way in which a South African mine; Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine near Carletonville was closed down. The liquidation of Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine and its abrupt closure witnessed the collapse of an entire village and the subsequent collapse of electricity, water and refuse removal services. Mining Operations seized overnight and with it the environmental mitigation and management measures. Thousands of people lost their jobs as it was the only major local source of work. In another part of the world, Singkep Island in Indonesia witnessed its worst historic economic recession due to poor mine closure when the world tin price crashed in 1985. This resulted in 8- 25% of the Singkep Island population migrating to find work elsewhere. Much was lost as the tin mine operated and maintained 2 of the 39 primary schools, the hospital, the airport, piped water and power plant. The mine also directly provided employment to an estimated 2,452 out of 8,716 people. The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are currently the most important goals as agreed upon globally may be the desideratum needed to prioritise mine closure and its ability to contribute to the interests of society. It is not hard to find points of intersection between the needs of the local communities and those of the mining industry. Examples that encapsulate such potential intersections is that both communities and miners benefit from healthy communities and an educated workforce, both need energy and infrastructure and both also need access to water. One key stage within mining that has the potential to house many of the benefits as far as the SDGs are concerned, is the mine closure stage. When done properly and adequately through integrated mine closure and post-closure techniques, each mining activity can then realise a number of the SDGs and create positive change to communities.

Keywords: mine closure, integrated mine closure, post-closure, communities, sustainable development, sustainable development goals, social closure, creating shared value, linkages

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