With increased regulatory pressure and greater environmental impact awareness and understanding, mine closure has become a crucial aspect of the success of any mining operation. Progressive rehabilitation minimises the obvious effects of mining, provides objective evidence of the company’s intentions and minimises the potential for a reputation breaking event to occur. According to the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, four key factors make up the business case for mine rehabilitation. These include project approval, compliance risk, financial liability and reputational risk.
1. Project approvalMining companies need to demonstrate their commitment to land-use stewardship, stakeholder and community relations and sustainability to gain access to land. Mine rehabilitation efforts are now seen as a key performance indicator and a competitive advantage. Failure to properly consider and commit to mine rehabilitation and land-use stewardship can reduce the likelihood of receiving approvals or completing development opportunities altogether. Progressive rehabilitation provides an opportunity to recognise potential problems early and to take steps to mitigate them.
2. Compliance riskCompanies failing to meet regulatory requirements and expectations run the risk of increased scrutiny, additional restrictions and higher compliance and legal costs. One of the greatest compliance risks is a company losing its social license to operate (the acceptance of a company’s business practices and operating procedures by it’s employees, stakeholders and the general public), thus limiting its future access to resources.
3. Financial liabilityEffective and early planning helps minimise rehabilitation costs as engagement, monitoring and collaboration with regulatory bodies can be improved. Failure to plan and manage these can see financial liabilities sky-rocket. Progressive rehabilitation and completing reclamation as soon as possible, also reduces the financial burden of bonds going forward.
4. Reputational riskA poor record of rehabilitation can lead to reputational damage with regulators and stakeholders. This can result in approval delays or rejection, more stringent permit conditions and the loss of a social license to operate. Companies with a positive reputation for rehabilitation can utilise this advantage as a point of differentiation and may also see them become a development partner of choice with regulators and the community.
Find out how mine rehabilitation legislation in Australia is changing in our FREE guide.
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- Is mine rehabilitation in Australia progressive?
- Speak to our team for a free demo of our mine rehabilitation tool, DecipherGreen
- See how our solutions help manage environmental, standard and approval requirements for mine rehabilitation here