‘Mine closure and reclamation management’ ISO Standards – Australian mirror committee update

  • By Corinne Unger, MAusIMM CP(Env), representing AusIMM on the Australian Committee

The ISO process for this standard was initiated in South Korea in 2014 with the formation of a subcommittee (ISO/TC 82/SC 7).

The Australian mirror committee (MN-012) was established in 2017 to contribute to the ISO Standard for ‘Mine closure and reclamation management’ and an opportunity to develop such a standard has been identified and initiated under ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation). The first update on this mirror committee for AusIMM members was included on the AusIMM Bulletin website in July. Further information on the scope of this committee is included on the ISO website.

International working group meetings

There are two working groups that have been created for the two parts so far identified for this standard: one addressing terminology and the other the content of the standard. Working group meetings were held on 25-26 September 2017 in Santiago, Chile. Harley Lacy represented Standards Australia for these meetings and provided valuable input to the planning process as well as updating the mirror committee afterwards.

Principles for development of the standards

Prior to the meeting, the Australian mirror committee felt it was important to document and agree upon the principles that should be applied in developing the content for the standard. In this way collective feedback was agreed before the meeting to assist Harley by providing some overall clarity during his participation. These principles were suggested as a means of addressing common weaknesses and opportunities in the early drafts, as perceived by the mirror committee.

In particular, socio-economic aspects needed to be strengthened in the strategic plan for the standards. This recognises the multi-disciplinary nature of mine closure and reclamation to demonstrate sustainable development. In summary the principles addressed the need for the developing standards to:

  • have clear objectives and purpose
  • be non-prescriptive and more focused on providing a framework
  • be risk based enabling opportunities to be also included
  • be few in number in preference to many standards
  • cover the full life-cycle of a mine
  • focus on mine closure and reclamation only (cross-referencing other related standards and guidance but not replicating them)
  • clearly identify the target audience
  • cover environmental as well as socio-economic aspects of closure
  • consider external stakeholder knowledge and requirements.

A reminder of who is represented

  • Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
  • Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA
  • Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (WA)
  • Department of Planning and Environment (NSW)
  • Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NT)
  • Engineers Australia
  • Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand
  • Environmental Consultants Association (WA)
  • Minerals Council of Australia
  • NSW Minerals Council
  • Queensland Resources Council
  • Sustainable Minerals Institute (University of Qld)
  • The University of Newcastle.

Further updates will be provided. Any members seeking further information on the Australian committee and/or standard writing process can contact Corinne Unger at kasung@bigpond.com or Carl Grant (Chair) carl.grant@angloamerican.com.

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