From liability to opportunity: Australian mine transition experts take world stage

Media releases, World Mining Congress 2023

Media release from the Cooperative Research Centre for Transitions in Mining Economies (CRC TiME)

The Cooperative Research Centre for Transitions in Mining Economies (CRC TiME) will be sharing its latest mine transition findings at the World Mining Congress in Brisbane on 26-29 June, 2023.

What happens after mining ends – economically, socially, environmentally and culturally – is one of the most significant issues facing communities, regions, governments and industry globally.

It’s a challenge that is only growing: some mines that began during the last boom are now approaching end of life. This is occurring at the same time as decarbonisation is driving unprecedented minerals demand and a slow transition away from coal-powered energy generation.

The complex challenge is why CRC TiME is working to ensure mine closure is at the forefront of discussions at the World Mining Congress later this month.

CRC TiME CEO Dr Guy Boggs said the need for a renewed approach is why the world’s only research organisation dedicated to post-mine transition was established. This project received grant funding from the Australian Government through the CRC Program.

“It’s time to think differently and more holistically about mine closure – including shifting from site to regional scale,” said Dr Boggs.

“While there are hundreds of examples globally, few in Australia realise the significant potential for mines and related infrastructure to be used for other uses such as tourism, recreation and conservation.”

“For example, Lake Kepwari in Western Australia was once an operating coal mine and is now a community recreational asset. In Victoria, the Stawell Underground Physics Lab – the only one in the southern hemisphere – is located alongside the Stawell Gold Mine, helping to diversify the local economy.”

“Both show what is possible through innovative thinking and the right partnerships and investments.”

“And, as BHP’s industry-first case study applying natural capital accounting at its Beenup rehabilitation site shows, innovative tools like measuring environmental assets and changes in ecosystems can enable better ‘nature-positive’ decision-making.”

CRC TiME Research Director Professor Tom Measham is leading a Symposium at the World Mining Congress, bringing together experts from Canada, Finland, Ghana, India, Mongolia, Poland, Slovakia and the USA.

The Symposium will feature advances in best practice and case studies on different aspects of transitions to post-mining economies and explore the significance of improving outcomes to the sector’s future.  

Professor Measham explained, “A highlight will be the panel focuses on First Nations Perspectives on sustainability and transitions in mining economies. Chaired by Jim Walker, the panel includes Vanessa Elliot from CRC TiME, Nalaine Morin from Skeena Resources, Canada and Jonathan McLeod, from the Northern Land Council. It’s going to be a standout discussion.”

Register for the World Mining Congress and CRC TiME Symposium: https://wmc2023.org/

Media contact: Dr Rebecca Rey, 0401 052 541 and rebecca.rey@crctime.com.au