Dowd, P & Slight, M 2006, 'The Business Case for Effective Mine Closure', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 3-11, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_Dowd
The subject of this keynote address is to demonstrate the business case for effective mine closure.
To demonstrate the points that will be raised in this address, I will be referring to the approach that the
Newmont Mining Corporation (herein referred to as “Newmont”) and its subsidiary, Newmont Australia
Limited (herein referred to as “Newmont Australia”), takes with regard to what it considers “effective mine
In simplest terms, effective mine closure is about creating sustainable outcomes where possible, minimising
the negative environmental, social and economic impacts for the communities the mine operates in and
minimising closure liabilities by conducting rehabilitation activities progressively with operations. The key
value add and hence business case comes from incorporating closure planning, and water and waste
management decisions in the mine planning process to maximise efficiencies in material handling, minimise
disturbance footprints and use valuable surface and groundwater resources in an eco-efficient manner. There
is also the possibility of building economic opportunities throughout the life of the mine which may provide
a platform for future sustainable activities.
There are 3 key messages I wish to deliver:
• Closure must be integrated within the mine planning process.
• Planning and decision making processes should recognise closure issues such as progressive
rehabilitation and long term ARD.
• Delivering on our social responsibility through the Newmont systems and standards.
Planning for Closure is fundamental to the responsible operation of any mining company with closure
integrating across a number of aspects including health and safety, environment, local economic impacts and
external/community relations and financial.
A key element of this process is to engage early with the community and relevant stakeholders in the
planning of the project including closure. For Newmont to contribute positively to a mining project
development and build the wealth of its shareholders and reputation within the communities in which it
operates, closure objectives and impacts are ideally considered from the very inception of a project right
through to the relinquishment of the mineral tenement.
Projects in the planning phase have a strong opportunity for reducing potential liabilities and maximizing
sustainable closure options. Projects in the middle of their operating life have slightly less opportunities, and
projects close to the end of the life cycle life have more limited options for addressing closure issues and
impacts with sustainable solutions.
Planning is required to enable a company to be adequately prepared and resourced for mine closure at any
time. There are usually two broad closure scenarios:
• Planned – operations run to target completion dates for resource extraction.
• Unplanned/Sudden – operations close due to economic market changes, company finances, technical
or structural failures or temporary closure.
Projects have to be prepared for both of these scenarios.
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 3
Closure policies and plans should define the vision of the end result of a mining project and contain concrete
objectives for implementing that vision. The primary objectives of closure can be broadly defined as follows:
• Reduce or eliminate adverse environmental, economic and social impacts and liabilities of mine
• Establish conditions which meet stakeholder expectations, including regulators and the community
for a sustainable benefit beyond the life of the mine.
This just makes good business sense and is what Newmont terms their Social License to operate.