Australia's Nobel Laureates III State of Our Innovation Nation: 2022 and Beyond

Page 500

MINE CLOSURE PLANNING – A COMPLEX LANDSCAPE WORTHY OF EXPLORATION Pioneering research and a brand new approach to management shine light on a complex issue. Can the mining industry and its various stakeholders, by aiming for exemplary results, re-imagine and redesign Mine Closure Planning as a recognised future discipline in time for Australia’s next mining boom? By Dr Isaac Dzakpata with editorial support from Deborah Pienaar Mine planning (feasibility, production, or closure) involves effectively predicting the future (Brookwater, 2022), a challenge likened by world renowned management philosopher Peter Drucker to "driving along a country road at night with no lights while peering out the rear window." Mine closure planning (MCP) refers to the science and engineering aspects of envisioning and providing for the end state of a mining endeavour - a lifespan ranging from 5 to 70 years for new mines. Mining operators that have mismanaged closure historically have caused enormous harm and scarring to the natural environment. Australia is reported to have at least 60,000 abandoned mines (the majority of which are minor and the product of Australia's gold rush in the mid-1800s – before progressive rehabilitation became the standard). The biggest challenge for MCP in Australia today centres on the mining operation often outliving the tenure of those who originally planned them and, in some extreme cases, the compa-


Australia’s Nobel Laureates VOL III