Authors: Dowd, P; Slight, M


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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,

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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 closure”. 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 closure. • 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.

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