Woolley, M & Hutton, A 2009, 'New regulatory approaches in rehabilitation cost estimation — how successful have they been?', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2009: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 275-186, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/908_12
The global financial crisis and related reductions in commodity prices have had a significant impact on the
mining industry, and as a result more mines may be forced into premature closure. Inevitably some of these
are likely to join lists of derelict mines across the nation.
For state governments across Australia, the need has arguably never been greater to ensure security bonds
at mine sites are accurate and that the related liabilities are adequately covered by the security bonds that
are held. Strategies to limit future government liabilities have been developed by some governments such as
New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria who have recently developed and implemented new approaches to
closure cost estimation to assist in establishing more accurate security bonds.
Following an independent assessment of the security review process, including benchmarking of processes
against other agencies in Australia and worldwide, the NSW Department of Primary Industries – Mineral
Resources (DPI–MR) implemented a recommendation that mine operators have the responsibility for
self-assessment of the total costs required for rehabilitation and closure.
A rehabilitation cost estimate tool (referred to in this paper as the rehabilitation calculator) was developed
to provide a consistent approach for all NSW mine sites to be used in their estimation of closure liabilities.
The costs would then form a guide for the NSW DPI–MR to use in security bond calculation.
The rehabilitation calculator has been used as a basis for closure cost assessment in NSW since 2005 with
some minor amendments. It has since been reviewed, improved and adapted for use by the Victorian DPI in
their management of mines and extractive industries.
This paper explores the improvements and refinements made to the rehabilitation calculator, and suggests
further improvements that can be made. It also includes discussion on the outcomes of the use of the
rehabilitation calculators in both NSW and Victoria over the last two to four years, with commentary from
perspectives of both government and industry stakeholders being considered.
The paper concludes with a discussion on the possible benefits of a national approach to closure cost
estimation, with particular reference to a consistent approach for those companies that operate across state
Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) (2008) Submission on the Draft Guideline: Establishment and Management of
Rehabilitation Bonds for the Mining and Extractive Industries, Minerals Council of Australia – Victorian
Division, 3 July 2008.
Woolley, M. (2004) Options Assessment Paper, Review of Security Bond Estimation Processes, URS Australia report,
Woolley, M. (2002) Review of Mine Rehabilitation Security Processes, URS Australia report, Sydney, (unpublished).
Woolley, M. and Hutton, A. (2007) A New Approach in Calculating Mine Security Bonds, Course No. 0705: Planning
for Mine Closure Seminar, 14–15 June 2007, Perth, Australia, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth,
Sec. 1, 4 p.
Woolley, M. and Hutton, A. (2006) Calculating a Realistic Security Bond and Assessing True Mine Closure Liabilities,
In Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure, Mine Closure 2006, A.B. Fourie, M. Tibbett
(eds), 13–15 September 2006, Perth, Australia, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 525–536.