Currently there is no global 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).
It is recognised that at a site-specific level there are unique characteristics of each mine, its jurisdictional regulatory framework, and its environmental and socio-economic context. Each of these aspects influence the likely post-mining land use(s), the methods applied, the stakeholders involved as well as how progressive rehabilitation can be undertaken.
Despite the site-specific nature of mine closure and rehabilitation, there are principles which can be universally applied to the process. There are a range of guidance documents and good practice case studies in existence, such as those in the ICMM’s library of guidance; see for example the Planning for Integrated Mine Closure Toolkit (2008).
The ISO process for this standard was initiated in South Korea in 2014 with the formation of a committee (SC7) with the scope outlined below.
Scope of committee and Australian involvement
The scope of the ISO committee is as follows and an update on the Australian kick off meeting is provided.
Scope of this Committee:
Standardization of mine reclamation management to minimize mine impacts that occur during the lifecycle of resource development, such as during exploration, extraction, suspension of operation, mine closure, reclamation, and follow-up management. Mine closure planning shall be re-established at every stage for sustainable resource development and risk management.
However, it is expected that safety and health issues related to workplace activity will be excluded from this context.
Mine closure planning shall be re-established at every stage for sustainable resource development and risk management.
The kick-off meeting for the Australian mirror committee (MN-012) for this ISO standard development took place via an online meeting on Thursday 20 July 2017. Standards Australia formed the mirror committee following a submission from the Minerals Council of Australia during 2016.
The ISO subcommittee TC 82/SC 7 Mine closure and reclamation management, created in 2014, has South Korea holding the secretariat and France providing the Chair.
Under SC 7 there are currently two working groups: ‘Working Group 1 – mine closure and reclamation terminology’ and ‘Working Group 2 – mine closure and reclamation management planning’. The MN-012 mirror committee will nominate experts to participate in the working groups, where the actual writing process for each standard takes place. These are likely to be multi-year projects following the process shown in the flowchart below (courtesy of ISO). Currently, both ISO projects have just entered Stage 2. Further projects are likely to be initiated by ISO/TC 82/SC 7 to deliver standards covering the scope of the committee.
Below is the current list of organisations represented on the Australian committee.
- Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
- Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA
- Department of Planning and Environment (NSW)
- Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NT)
- Department of State Development, SA
- Engineers Australia
- Environmental Consultants Association (WA)
- Minerals Council of Australia
- NSW Minerals Council
- Queensland Resources Council
- Sustainable Minerals Institute (University of Qld)
- The University of Newcastle.
Any members seeking further information on the Australian committee and/or standard writing process can contact Corinne Unger on firstname.lastname@example.org.