Sustainable mine closure is part of the vision that is helping
determine how we address the majority of our greatest
High altitude wetlands on the land owned by Anglo American at Los Bronces Copper Mine in Chile
Closing a mine without due consideration for the environmental and social impact can create long term challenges for those who are dependent on it or live close by. We aim to ensure that the value we create through our mining activities results in a positive social and environmental legacy once the mine closes down.
Our internationally recognised Mine Closure Toolbox assists operations with strategic long-term mine-closure planning. It expands the focus of mine-closure planning from financial provisioning for rehabilitation and physical closure to planning for long-term sustainability through addressing complex socio-economic, physical and bio-physical challenges.
The Toolbox was designed by the in-house Technical Services department for use in conjunction with the Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox, and helps operations comply with the requirements of the Anglo American Environment Way Mine Closure Performance Standard.
It is important to follow a structured approach to closure planning, and the Toolbox covers three main themes:
- strategic planning
- assessing current status
- scheduling, resource allocation and budgeting to address identified gaps
The strategic planning element requires an operation to develop a vision of what it wants to achieve post mine closure through engagement with local stakeholders. Ultimately, all strategic plans will involve the mine relinquishing any ‘surrogate government’ role that it might have played during the life of the mine, in order to bring about long-term independence and sustainability in the surrounding community.
Assessing current status
The next step is to assess where the operation is in relation to what it wants to achieve post closure. This involves identifying knowledge gaps in the mine’s current closure plan and defining what level of detail the closure plan should contain relative to the remaining time to closure.
Scheduling, resource allocation and budgeting
Scheduling, resource allocation and budgeting make up the final, detailed planning phase. This encompasses the identification of what technology and resources are required in order to close any gaps, as well as the implementation schedule and financial planning.