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July 9, 2019

Bid for a CRC for mine closure: Stage 1 submitted

  • Stage 1 application submitted.
  • All submissions will now be assessed by the CRC Advisory Committee.
  • Stage 1 outcome will be announced in September 2019

Successful mine closure and relinquishment is a complex and expensive process; liabilities can amount to billions of dollars, in addition to other economic and social costs that are borne by industry, governments and communities.

A recent senate inquiry into the rehabilitation of Australia’s abandoned mines heard that a national approach is needed to better understand the impact of thousands of such sites and to protect the natural environment. There are around 10,000 abandoned mine sites across Western Australia.

Whilst regulators require industry to ensure that the sites are ‘safe, stable and non-polluting’, mine closure is complex and is further challenged by changes in climate, the effect of weeds, pests and other issues.

With only a few examples of successful mine closure, there is considerable uncertainty in closure- related investment, planning and decision making that ultimately impacts on investment in new projects and post-mining ventures. Therefore there are significant costs associated with making the transition to a sustainable post-mining economy.

Scientific expertise in this area is still developing and there are large knowledge gaps on how best to rehabilitate these sites, restore ecosystems and prepare the landscape for post-mining uses such as for grazing.

The Resources 2030 Taskforce Report released late last year highlighted the opportunity for Australia to become a global leader and ‘focus on its strengths in the environmental management and restoration economy’ in order to attract investment in to the country.

This underpins the need for a CRC that addresses the science knowledge gaps in mine closure and relinquishment and provides greater certainty for industry, government and community by addressing this significant issue through a national partnership.

WABSI has led a huge collaborative effort, as part of the bid management team, and has undertaken an extensive, national stakeholder engagement process to develop the CRC bid.

The University of Western Australia and The University of Queensland are proposed as the host institutes in a co-leadership model.

During consultation, one of the common messages that emerged was that the CRC needs to deliver a paradigm shift to enable successful transitions through to sustainable post-mining economies. Value propositions were discussed and then developed into research questions that were disseminated to research participants through the CRC Research Committee. This enabled the research teams to initiate work on aligning potential innovative solutions to the issues identified by the end users. A term sheet was also finalised and retested with end users.

The proposed CRC will:

  • deliver solutions that build new markets for our innovative METS sector;
  • transform mine closure practice to reduce cost and liability for mining companies;
  • maintain Australia as a leading nation for mining investment by building confidence and certainty in the sector; and
  • deliver value to our communities as they transition post mining.

The stage 1 bid for this CRC has now been submitted. If successful, the bid will progress to Stage 2 for the submission of a full business case in October.

Outcomes are expected to be announced in December 2019 and if the bid is successful, the CRC would be established in July 2020.

Click here to view the CRC prospectus and term sheet.

For more information or to join this bid, contact WABSI Program Director Dr Guy Boggs (Bid Management Team) guy.boggs@wabsi.org.au

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