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Following the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, the South African Department of
Minerals and Energy (DME) initiated the “Sustainable Development through Mining” (SDM) programme to
assist in the development of a strategic framework for sustainable development in the minerals and mining
sector. This initiative supported a variety of projects including a project specifically orientated towards
integrated regional mine closure and its implications. This paper focuses on the increasingly challenging
environment of changing community expectations, stricter regulatory controls and greater public scrutiny in
areas of cumulative, interconnected, or multi-mine, and/or an integrated environmental and socio-economic
impact at a regional level. The paper discusses the challenges in the development and implementation of the
concept of regional mine closure strategies, as support to further policy and legislative interventions in
South Africa, and outlines proposed strategies to address these challenges. Regional closure strategies aim
to provide a framework within which mines can develop closure plans that address broader development
priorities as well as possible cumulative impacts of a number of mines, taking into consideration socio-
economic and environmental issues on a regional basis. A strategic framework was developed for the
Witwatersrand gold mining region within which individual mines will be able to plan for mine closure. In
order for the strategy to be implemented there are a number of key success factors. These include issues
around closure planning, buy-in from stakeholders, trade-offs, stakeholder engagement, setting-up of
completion criteria (balanced scorecard for regional mine closure), targeted research and data
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