Fleury, A & Parsons, AS 2006, 'Integrated Mine Closure Planning', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 221-226, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_14
Mining and metals operations are finite activities, whether they last a few years, fifty years or longer. The
long-term environmental and social impacts of a site are manifested after closure. However, these are
determined by the actions undertaken both during the operations phase and closure phase. In many ways, the
reputation of the industry depends on what remains after a site closes and the closure activities are finalized.
An integrated approach to closure – which takes environmental and social considerations into account at an
early stage of an activity and throughout its lifecycle – plays a fundamental role in creating long-term value
from both the environmental and social perspectives. Hence, the integration of closure considerations in an
operation’s lifecycle planning and engineering processes is an opportunity to leverage the value created by
Although the importance of integrated closure planning is intuitively evident, “ways to manage the
associated economic, environmental and social impacts [are] relatively new” and there are “few case studies
[…] on successful integrated [mine closure]” (MMSD, 2002).
Early in 2006, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) set out to understand current
practices and issues relating to integrated environmental and social closure planning as part of an internal
study. Although leading industry practices provide a benchmark of how integrated mine closure should be
approached, the study concluded that this is an area where improvements can and need to be made across the
sector. This paper outlines some of the study’s findings.