Mining as a temporary land use: industry-led transitions and repurposing
As we all adapt to working from home, the Sustainable Minerals Institute has launched a special lunchtime webinar series showcasing some of the research across SMI - from processing to social performance to health and safety
Post-mining land use and associated economies have become a priority issue in mine lifecycle planning. Julia Keenan from the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining presents on their recent scoping project as part of the Social Aspects of Mine Closure Research Consortium, which started from the position that reconceptualising mine ‘closure’ may enhance the industry’s contribution to sustainable development.
The project reframes mining as a temporary land use, which positions post-mining land use as intrinsic to the mine lifecycle, including the planning and operational phases. Rehabilitation and restoration during operations tend to have a narrower remit, and focus on returning sites to their pre-mining state, which in many cases of large-scale, open-cut mines is unrealistic.
The primary focus was on identifying examples of post-mining repurposing of land and related economic transitions that are led by industry. Transitions led by state or other actors (e.g. civil society groups) provide additional inspiration for industry-led opportunities. The project findings provide an initial repository of cases that different parties can to refer to in making decisions about post-mining futures.
The aim of the project was to provide an overview of the ‘state of play’ and identify future research and policy directions that encompass a breadth of options for repurposed mining landscapes, infrastructure and economic linkages.