Blackman, KGA, Burne, N, Mitchell, IC, Lacy, HWB & Mackenzie, S 2009, 'Progressive closure planning at the Magellan Mine — providing some certainty in uncertain times: a case study', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2009: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 93-100, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/908_4
Closure planning in the mining industry has been typically left until near the end of mine life, often leaving
little time, financial provision or resources for effective closure planning and implementation. Ideally
proponents would commit resources and time for closure planning from the commencement of operations to
optimise financial return through effective planning and enhanced efficiency.
Limitations associated with closing a mine in an unplanned manner include inadequate financial provision,
substandard and expensive rehabilitation, and limited access to adequate equipment and materials. The lack
of time to trial rehabilitation methods, the absence of corporate memory due to personnel departures,
coupled with an extended post-closure monitoring and management period, will all contribute to prolonged
tenement relinquishment and continuing liability for proponents.
Magellan Metals Pty Ltd (the Company) owns and operates an open-cut lead carbonate mine and processing
facility, located approximately 30 km west of Wiluna in the mid-west region of Western Australia, which is
approximately 730 km northeast of Perth. The Company required a dynamic system to facilitate early and
effective rehabilitation and closure planning over the life of the mine. Specifically, the Company required a
closure system that would facilitate the establishment of closure planning tasks, allowing for tracking of
these tasks and for ongoing performance monitoring.
This paper describes a change in direction in mine decommissioning planning through a case study
describing the development and implementation of a progressive rehabilitation and closure system. The
system applied is a spatially managed closure planning system that allows proponents to track and measure
closure progress via a web-based platform. Dedicated closure tasks are established within the system and
the proponent is able to allocate resources against those tasks, through standard geographic information
systems (GIS) information and aerial photography. The system also integrates active links to relevant
The system has allowed the Company to better estimate its closure liability in an uncertain and challenging
financial, political and environmental climate. Its implementation has also allowed the Company to
demonstrate closure planning progress to internal and external stakeholders.
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