Planned mine closures are expected to increase over the next decade. Effective integration of closure planning into all aspects of the mining life cycle is critical for addressing risks before they become material, and for identifying future land use opportunities. To do this, site management needs clear and accurate information to inform decision making throughout the entire lifespan of an operation, writes ICMM's Alice Davies.
In 2019, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) published its Integrated Mine Closure: Good Practice Guide to help companies plan for an effective, integrated and responsible mine closure.
Integrating closure planning effectively across the mining life cycle is critical to ensure mining companies proactively address risks before they become material as well as identify future sustainable land use opportunities. To do this, site management needs clear and accurate information to inform decision making throughout the entire lifespan of an operation.
In addition, increasing scrutiny of the mining industry to ensure metals and minerals are being produced responsibly means individual companies must demonstrate and potentially disclose how they are performing across a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) areas at the site level. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and the underlying data can be used by interested parties to assess risk or performance.
To address this and support our members, ICMM has developed a KPI Tool for Closure to help support the implementation of good closure practices at the operational level throughout the mine life cycle. The KPI Tool provides examples to help mining companies develop their own KPIs to track their performance on closure management.
Importance of setting KPIs for integrating closure at the asset level
KPIs can be useful tools for internal business decision making, benchmarking performance and providing greater consistency of disclosure of potential risks and how they are being actively managed across a sector.
KPIs should feed up through the business to strengthen performance management and accountability. They ensure closure has visibility at key decision-making points, centrally and by senior management. For integrating closure at the site level, effective KPIs should communicate and support the overall closure objectives at both the asset and corporate level.
How it works in practice
The KPI Tool is based on a management system approach around the ‘plan - do – check - act’ (PDCA) aspects. This allows KPIs to be graphically represented on a dashboard to incorporate into site and management level reporting. Being able to monitor internal performance using a visual tool like a dashboard helps to clearly communicate risks and track progress at key decision-making points. This enables fast integration of the data by decision makers so they can understand where resources may need to be reallocated to address a gap or potential risk.
As the mine evolves, the KPIs will likely change to reflect the evolving closure vision and objectives. KPIs may be updated depending on the stage of development, the activities being conducted, the potential risk to business as well as outcomes for society and the environment.
Example KPIs for closure could include:
· Percentage of sites with closure plans in place, and integrated with the mine plan
· Percentage of site closure plans that have integrated stakeholder consultation into formulating closure objectives and success criteria
· Percentage of high to significant risks identified with mitigation actions (critical controls) in place for all sites
· Progress against social closure objectives or success criteria achieved
· Completion of annual rehabilitation work is undertaken as per rehabilitation plan and quality assurance requirements
Learn more by reading ICMM’s Integrated Mine Closure: Good Practice Guide, which is where you can access our full suite of mine closure tools.
To learn more about mine closure, read ICMM’s 'Integrated Mine Closure: Good Practice Guide'.
Alice Davies is Manager, Environment Programme at the International Council on Mining and Metals.