Mining legacies - understanding life-of-mine across time and space

Pepper, M, Roche, C and Mudd, G 2014, 'Mining legacies - understanding life-of-mine across time and space', in Proceedings of the Life-of-Mine 2014 Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 16-18 July 2014, pp. 449-465.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Mining legacies - understanding life-of-mine across time and space
Author(s) Pepper, M
Roche, C
Mudd, G
Year 2014
Conference name Life-of-Mine 2014
Conference location Brisbane, Australia
Conference dates 16-18 July 2014
Proceedings title Proceedings of the Life-of-Mine 2014 Conference
Publisher Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Place of publication Brisbane, Australia
Start page 449
End page 465
Total pages 17
Abstract The Australian mining industries approach to life-of-mine planning has improved considerably in recent decades. It now needs to be matched by, and embedded in, mining governance systems that utilise a comprehensive whole-of-mine-life approach within a jurisdictional, industry and regional regime rather than just focusing on specific impacts in isolation. The need for a more comprehensive approach is supported by the many mining legacies, from historic, recent and some operating mine sites around Australia. There are sites that are leaving enduring environmental, community and public health impacts that are yet to be accurately assessed. While a number of these sites in Australia are estimated to be more than 50 000, this is probably an underestimation, with a lack of data and different state-based approaches complicating attempts to quantify mining legacies as a national issue. Qualitative assessments about the extent and nature of mining legacy impacts on nature and communities across Australia are also required if we are to understand and avoid ongoing and future mining legacies. This paper commences with an exploration of mining legacies as an umbrella term for previously mined, abandoned, orphan, derelict or neglected sites. This is followed by a discussion of the current status of mining legacies as an Australia-wide issue, contrasting the Australian response with overseas examples. Common themes from past workshops are explored recognising that mining legacies are a growing public policy issue and identifying key ingredients for a successful response. Supporting this, and based on national data which re-enforces the need for action, is the changing scale and intensity of mining in Australia that, while lowering costs for mine operators, increases the liability that may eventually fall to the state if mine sites are not rehabilitated effectively. Though a national issue, mining is a state and territory responsibility, so the current approach to mining legacies is then examined state-by-state. Given the widespread application and recent changes to bonds and levies in Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT) the merits of both are examined state-by-state. Given the widespread application and recent changes to bonds and levies in Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT) the merits of both are examined with reference to specific case studies. Despite the current division of responsibility and diversity of approaches, however, mining legacies remain a significant and growing problem with a recognised need and repeated call for cooperation and coordination at a national and international level. Future action is addressed in the final section with reference to liability, responsibility, industry reputation, regulation and leadership.
Subjects Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy not elsewhere classified
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