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Mine Closure

Mine closure is one of the most significant industry challenges facing mining companies, communities and governments around the world – requiring significant financial provision to manage and address associated safety, environmental and social risks.

Our work builds on successful closure pilots championed by members to demonstrate that closure can be done in a way that promotes social, economic and environmental benefit post the life of mine. We will also work to strengthen industry approaches to closure planning, including at tailings facilities.

Issue at a Glance

  • Mineral and metal resources are finite, meaning that the lifespan of any mine is limited. Responsible closure involves planning and designing for closure in consultation with relevant authorities and stakeholders to achieve sustainable outcomes that are beneficial to the mining company and its employees, the environment and host communities.
  • Mine closure is a significant industry challenge requiring substantial financial provision to manage and address associated safety, environmental and social risks. There are few examples globally of mines that have received closure certificates and where the site has been transferred to government or a third party.
  • Integrated mine closure is a dynamic and iterative process that considers environmental, social and economic issues at an early stage of mine development and is developed throughout the life of the mine. Fundamental to this is the need to consider closure as an integral part of the mine operations’ core business.
  • Planning ahead for closure from the point of designing the project is key in ensuring there are no negative impacts to air, soil, water, and ecosystems local to the site, and in optimising post-closure land use opportunities and social transition outcomes.


Our Projects

Strengthening Industry Approaches to Closure Practices

A structured and integrated closure planning and execution process is an essential part of any mining company’s sustainability policy and financial reporting obligations. ICMM will continue to develop and promote leading practice approaches for integration of closure with mine and business planning, that responsibly reduce the residual risk associated with mine closure, while also identifying and assessing potential post closure repurposing opportunities.

Improved Stakeholder Confidence in Industry’s Closure Performance

External stakeholders are increasingly seeking assurance that eventual mine closure has been fully considered throughout the life of mine, and is being progressively executed with adequate financial provisions allocated. Planning for and executing closure strategies is not just a financial accounting exercise and a mining engineering challenge. Closing a mine poses a material financial and social risk that puts broader economic survival and future investment in mining in jeopardy. In response, mining companies are seeking to better integrate ESG and closure considerations into their mine plans to optimise closure performance and costs.