Towards an inclusive model to address unsuccessful mine closures in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • SDG 12
  • Abstract:

    The complete and successful closure of a mine in the South African environment remains problematic. Closure remains an elusive mining phase due to unclear roles and responsibilities, inaccurate closure management data, and the inability of stakeholders to conceptualize and integrate closure information into business processes. Currently there are no proven methods available to address the complexities encountered during a closure application, and to date no mine has been granted full closure. Many mines are left abandoned and unrehabilitated, resulting in risk to investors, surrounding communities, and regulators. This investigation aimed to determine, categorize, and rank reasons for unsuccessful mine closures. Focus groups consisting of public and private stakeholders were identified and surveyed through a structured, rank-order questionnaire to determine the relative importance of reasons why achieving formal and final mine closure remains elusive. Various requirements and aspects were identified and listed according to four categories: namely, primary, secondary, process drivers, and information sources. These aspects should be considered in the development of an integrated mine closure model.