New guidelines urge socio-economic focus

New guidelines urge socio-economic focus

Miners are being urged to consider the socio-economic impacts of shutting down operations with the release of new mine closure guidelines.

The Department of Miners and Petroleum and the Environmental Protection Authority have sought to reduce the regulatory burden placed on companies with the updated edition of Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans.

But miners are also being warned that socio-economic impacts are just as important as any impacts on the environment.

“Although the guidelines continue to focus on the ecological aspects of mine closure planning, DMP and the EPA encourage proponents to consider socio-economic aspects of closure planning, in particular, impacts of mine closure on local communities,” the document reads.

Four years after the Department and the Environmental Protection Authority released the first edition of the, the review has focused on red tape reduction and emphasis on the importance of responsible development.

The most significant change is ensuring the alignment of expectations from the Environmental Protection Authority and the Department in attempts to reduce regulatory duplication.

“Updated guidelines like these are important to ensure WA retains its global mining leadership and provides certainty for investors,” Minister of Mines and Petroleum Bill Marmion said.

“The State Government stands by international best-practice, meaning provision for closure starts well before mining begins, and continues throughout the life of the mine.”

A review of the guidelines included two public consultation periods, which Environment Minister Albert Jacob said had provided valuable comments and suggestions from mining companies and environment groups alike.

“Using these new guidelines will help ensure Western Australian mines are decommissioned in an ecologically sustainable manner and are left in a stable, non-polluting condition,” Mr Jacob said.

The full guidelines can be found here.