Revised guidelines clarify mine closure requirements

Revised guidelines out now.
Date: Thursday, 07 May 2015

Revised mine closure guidelines will ensure better environmental outcomes.

Western Australian mining operators will have a clearer understanding of the regulatory requirements for closing, decommissioning and rehabilitating mine sites thanks to newly published, revised Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans.

Jointly developed by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the guidelines are an update of the original guidelines published by the two agencies in July 2011.

DMP Executive Director Environment Dr Phil Gorey said that to ensure better environmental outcomes and improve the efficiency of the assessment and approvals process, periodic reviews of regulatory guidelines are undertaken in conjunction with stakeholders.

“Two public comment periods were held on the guidelines throughout 2014, during which time a range of valuable comments and suggestions were received from stakeholders,” Dr Gorey said.

“A stakeholder feedback workshop on Mine Closure Plans was also run by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy (WA) in August 2013, with participation from DMP and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority.”

It is international industry-leading practice that planning for mine closure starts before mining commences and continues throughout the life of the mine.

“These guidelines aim to ensure Western Australian mines can be decommissioned, rehabilitated and closed in an ecologically sustainable way,” Dr Gorey said.

“They will also improve the efficiency of the assessment and approvals process by ensuring the requirements of DMP and the EPA are consistent.

“The publication of these guidelines is a key milestone for the West Australian mining industry as it further demonstrates its responsible development credentials.”

The Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans 2015 is now available on the DMP website.