Privileging mine re-purposing benefits and opportunities over mine closure risk aversion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review


There is broad rhetoric stating commitment to re-purposing mine sites and a growing literature on the opportunities for mining communities and their broader regions derived from mine re-purposing. However, despite this, there are relatively few examples of re-purposed mine sites which have been relinquished. This paper will present foundational findings from research conducted in Australia, examining the conditions and context for intended and actual re-purposing of mine sites. There are few examples but nonetheless, there are some mine sites which have either partially re-purposed or are seeking to do so. This paper will highlight the factors which were crucial to the success of the planned re-purposing in addition to citing a case study which has been consistently thwarted in its quest to successfully re-purpose. The available evidence suggests that Australia has adopted a piecemeal approach to the re-purposing of mines with each example dealt with as a unique, ‘one-off’ project with consequent implementation costs and no useful template for broad re-purposing success. In many cases re-purposing has been challenged by regulatory frameworks that prioritise harm minimisation and risk aversion; the end result being little or no progress being achieved despite regional development aspirants planning for responsible and safe re-purposing outcomes, often vigorously supported by industry and local communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Mine Closure Conference, June 2023, Brisbane
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 2023


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