Authors: Pollett, EA

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DOI https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/908_31

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Pollett, EA 2009, 'Mine closure — participatory stakeholder engagement and socio-economic closure planning for community sustainability in the context of an uncertain future', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2009: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 417-428, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/908_31

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Abstract:
The preparation of environmental management plans to address the long-term effects of mining on the biophysical environment, rehabilitation and mine closure has now become best practice and the subject of mining authorisations. There is increasing recognition that there is a need for socio-economic closure planning at the outset, similar to that currently required for environmental management and rehabilitation. Stakeholder engagement and social management plans are key tools to ensure that adequate attention is given throughout the mine life cycle to the long-term effects of mine closure on affected communities and their socio-economic environment. Public consultation and transparency throughout the planning and implementation process are prerequisites for building mutually beneficial partnerships to deal with social change associated with mine development and eventual closure, and for ensuring sustainable community development in the context of an uncertain future. Mining is commonly a catalyst for local economic development and in remote areas often becomes the pre-dominant ‘economic engine’ of the region. However, minerals are a wasting resource, and there is a need to plan early on for ways in which to use the window of opportunity provided by mining to diversify the local economy so that it can provide a foundation for community sustainability in the longer term. This is particularly important where there is a high level of dependence on the mining sector. This paper addresses approaches to stakeholder engagement and socio-economic closure planning, drawing on the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Policy and Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability and experience with various mining projects in sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, reference is made to Sadiola Gold Mine in Mali which provides many lessons learned over a 14 year period. This includes a comprehensive ongoing stakeholder engagement and planning process with key role players, including local communities and civil society; local, regional and national government; the mine; international non-government organisations (NGOs) and the IFC. In particular, successful use has been made of participatory land use planning processes to address key spatial aspects, including (i) maximising the protection of limited available arable land (essential for continuity of agriculturally based livelihoods beyond mine closure); (ii) the accommodation of an influx of over 3,000 in-migrants following commencement of mine construction; (iii) the resettlement of two villages; and (iv) the preparation and implementation of an integrated development action plan (IDAP). Implementation of the IDAP is taking place in the context of an uncertain mine closure date which could take place in the short to medium term, and key challenges include maintaining sufficient implementation impetus to meet raised expectations, training and building local capacity to successfully implement the IDAP on an ongoing basis, especially after mine closure, and establishing long-term funding. The IDAP is providing a useful model of various integrated approaches to ensure that benefits and opportunities associated with mining activities are shared with local communities, and that local community development initiatives will endure beyond mine closure and result in long-term sustainable development.

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