Over the next decade, many mines across the globe face closure making it an increasing priority for the industry, government and communities.

The social and economic benefits of closing a mine are usually significant and underline the importance of early preparation. Recognising this, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) published an update to its Integrated Mine Closure: Good Practice Guide.

The guide is available to mining companies and regulators, and contains a range of tools that can assist in making well-considered decisions when planning for and closing a mine.

This guide presents an updated version of ICMM’s 2008 Planning for integrated mine closure: toolkit.

Like the earlier version, guidance is provided on critical aspects of mine closure focused on an iterative process, from the earliest stages of knowledge gathering, engagement and planning. The updated guide provides emphasis on the importance of social transitioning, progressive closure and strategies for relinquishment and closure governance. The guide also includes

tools at the back of the document to help support planning for closure.

“Integrated mine closure is a dynamic and iterative process that takes into account environmental, social and economic considerations at an early stage of mine development,” said ICMM in a statement.

“Fundamental to this process is the need to consider closure as an integral part of the mine operations’ core business.”

The structure of this guide reflects this process, providing good practice guidance in delivering key elements of mine closure planning and implementation, and early definition of the closure vision.

According to ICMM, the document is not intended to be prescriptive. Rather, it serves as a toolkit that can be utilised in formulating well-considered decisions when planning and executing closure.

“It uses a risk and opportunity-based process to guide the practitioner through the iterative process of planning for final and progressive closure in a considered manner, as well as tactics for considering sudden or temporary closure,” states ICMM.

As experience has shown, a balanced closure approach fully incorporated int mine planning activities will lead to better outcomes across a range of consideration including health, safety, social, environmental, legal, governance and human resources.

*Article published in the July-September 2019 issue of The Asia Miner

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