Loch, R, Stevens, T, Wells, G & Gerrard, R 2006, 'Development of Key Performance Indicators for Rehabilitation, Murrin Murrin Nickel Operation', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 569-576, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_49
The Murrin Murrin Nickel Cobalt Project (Project) which is owned by subsidiaries of Minara Resources
Limited and Glencore International AG and operated by Murrin Murrin Operations Pty Ltd (MMO), is
located approximately 60 km east of Leonora in the North Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. The
Project includes open cut pits from which nickel laterite ore is mined using conventional open cut techniques
and a processing plant which uses High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) technology to extract and recover the
nickel and cobalt from the ore. Over the life of the mine, approximately 2500 ha of waste dumps are
expected to be constructed. Progressive rehabilitation of disturbed areas was committed to by MMO when it
obtained Project approval.
Based on current guidelines provided by the WA Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR), MMO is
required to post an Environmental Performance Bond (Bond) on various areas disturbed by mining
operations. Currently, for waste dumps, the rate is typically set at $10000 per hectare (DME, 2003). If Bonds
simply accumulated over the life of the MMO, waste dumps alone would represent a bond requirement of
$25,000,000. As Bonds (at differing rates) are also required for other areas of disturbance on the site, the
potential total bond for MMO by completion of mining could be extremely large indeed. If no rehabilitation
was done until completion of mining, MMO would not only have significant funds committed to
performance bonds, but would then also need to provide a similar level of funding to carry out rehabilitation
of the areas of disturbance. Funding that level of bonding plus rehabilitation requirements would create a
considerable challenge for any company, illustrating that a commitment to progressive rehabilitation is both
environmentally and economically responsible.
Current DoIR guidelines for Bonds allow for their progressive return on the basis of rehabilitation progress
(Table 1), providing a strong economic incentive for the site to carry out progressive rehabilitation during the
life of the mine and keep commitments to Bonds to as low a level as possible. However, that strategy faces
two challenges. The first is to achieve stable and sustainable rehabilitation reliably and cost-effectively. The
second is to establish an effective process for the assessment of rehabilitation success and the progressive
return of Bonds on the basis of that assessment.
This paper describes the way in which MMO has dealt with both those challenges.
Mine Closure 2006 ― Andy Fourie and Mark Tibbett (eds)
© 2006 Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, ISBN 0-9756756-6-4
Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia 569
Table 1 Suggested levels of Environmental Performance Bond reduction (DME 2003)
Stage Action Completion Criteria Met Reduce bond
Department of Mines and Energy (1996) Guidelines for Mining in Arid Areas Western Australian Government, Perth.
Department of Industry and Resources (2003) Environmental Branch Bond Guideline, Western Australian Government,
Department of Industry and Resources (2006) Guidelines for mining proposals in Western Australia, February 2006,
Western Australian Government, Perth.
Environmental Protection Agency (2006) Guidance for the Assessment of Environmental Factors, No 6. Rehabilitation
of terrestrial ecosystems, Western Australian Government, Perth.
Development of Key Performance Indicators for Rehabilitation,
Murrin Murrin Nickel Operation
R. Loch, et al.
576 Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia