A new report, released by the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI), provides a framework for developing site-specific, risk-based completion criteria and associated monitoring.
Whilst it is primarily aimed at the resources sector, the Framework guides industries that are developing new criteria, or wish to improve existing systems such as in rehabilitation and ecological restoration activities.
The guidance, A framework for developing mine-site completion criteria in Western Australia, includes a review of rehabilitation research, a survey of current industry practice and challenges and three case studies across Western Australia.
This report is the first of its kind in Australia and has been released as such, with the intent to call for feedback and produce revised versions in the future.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has endorsed the Framework as a tool to assist with the development of acceptable completion criteria within a mine closure plan prepared in accordance with its guidelines.
According to WABSI, the report was produced in response to end-users seeking a clearer understanding of assessing mine closure.
To help deliver the project, WABSI aligned industry and regulatory agencies along with leading science experts from the Centre for Mine Site Restoration, Curtin University, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and the University of Western Australia.
Project partners also included the DMIRS, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Iluka, Alcoa, Hanson, Independence Group, South32, Roy Hill, BHP and Rio Tinto.
Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston, said the new guidance is a great example of government and industry working together to deliver better rehabilitation outcomes for the state.
“It provides industry with greater clarity and consistency in the development of mine closure plans across different locations and commodities,” he said.
“Effective mine closure is critical to ensure the long-term environmental sustainability of the industry.”
A copy of the guidance is available here.