Authors: Laurence, D

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Laurence, D 2009, 'Mine closures and the global financial crisis', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2009: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 57-63,

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After an absence of some four years, and despite the advantages of lower fuel costs, favourable exchange rates and low interest rates, the Australian mining industry in 2008 was once more beset by a spate of mine closures, a trend which continues into 2009. With plummeting commodity and share prices, and an inability to obtain financing/credit, the cost of production for many mines is now in excess of revenue, clearly an unsustainable situation. The major companies have announced mass redundancies globally including 14,000 in Rio Tinto operations and 6000 at BHP Billiton (BHPB) sites. Small and medium scale mining operations are also closing or reducing their workforces in an effort to survive. Employees are being terminated at very short notice. Communities that depend on mining for their survival are demanding compensation for lost earnings. The media coverage has been disastrous for both the mining companies concerned and the industry as a whole. This paper analyses the rapid increase in mine closures in Australia and its neighbours from the beginning of the global financial crisis — mid 2008 to mid 2009. It then compares the closures with those that occurred in the previous 25 years.

Infomine (2009) Accessed 14 April 2009, .
Laurence, D.C. (2006) Why Do Mines Close? 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. 83–94.
Laurence, D.C. (2008) The Application of Sustainable Mining Practices in South East Asia, Proceedings of the
International Conference - Advances in Mining & Tunneling Conference, 19–23 August, Hanoi, Vietnam,
pp. 403–414.
Laurence, D.C. and Scoble, M. (2009) Integration of Sustainability into Mining Schools: Counter-cycle Strategies for
the Next Boom, Proceedings 4th International Conference on Sustainable Development Indicators in the
Minerals Industry, 6–8 July, Gold Coast, Australia, CD Rom only. (2009) Newsletter, accessed 30 January 2009 .
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) (2009) Index of commodity prices, viewed 14 April 2009,

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