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The Mining For Closure
report aims to present a basis for action within South Eastern Europe (SEE) and
the Tisza River Basin (TRB) towards the development of corporate practice,
regulatory frameworks, governance guidelines and/or financial and insurance
markets suitable for the support of a modern mining industry in the region.
Further the report seeks to help SEE and jurisdictions in the TRB deal with the
legacies of past mining activities.


In particular, the report seeks to present a number of options and ideas that
can be applied to address the funding and execution of mine closure and mine
rehabilitation while still achieving social and economic conditions suitable for
new and ongoing mining activities.
The recommendations and guidance contained
in the report supports other initiatives by international bodies that provide
guidance to national and international institutions in their role as
stakeholders in the mining activities. Further, it seeks to support ongoing
national efforts to align legislative frameworks with European legislation,
international legislation and best international practice.  However, Mining
for Closure also provides the foundation for filling an important deficiency in
international action namely seeking to deal with abandoned and orphaned mine
sites and the serious environmental and social risks associated with them. This
issue has particulare relevance for the SEE and the TRB region.


The report comprehensively outlines the challenges and the need for
sustainable mining; establishes the rationale for best environmental practice in
mining or mining for closure as it will be termed within this document; outlines
the important stakeholders in mining and a manner of assessing their relative
salience; provides a discussion of the mechanics of mine closure and
abandonment; and then presents a summary framework and principles for mining in
SEE and the TRB and delineates the next steps forward that need to be taken in
the SEE and the TRB regions.


The rationale for mining for closure in SEE and the Tisza River
Basin


The mining sector is an important contributer to local and national economies
in SEE and the TRB. However, in parts of the region, it is often characterised
by inappropriate planning, and operational and post-operational practices taking
place within inadequate regulatory frameworks. Poor or negligible implementation
of mine rehabilitation and closure activities has been one outcome of note. In
SEE and the TRB this has resulted in,¬ and continues to cause, significant
adverse environmental and health and safety impacts and related liabilities.


Increasing expectations for environmental protection, desires for reduced
human health risks, competition for land, and the increasing value of the
natural environment for recreational space have led to marked improvements in
regulatory requirements and mining practice in a number of countries.
Furthermore many mining companies have introduced management policies, practices
and technologies that markedly reduce the environmental harm caused by mining.
Continued improvement in mining practice can be expected as can stakeholder
expectations for ever higher standards. Due to the prevalence of mining legacies
in SEE and the TRB, the manner in which mines are closed is central to
this.
As a part of general improvements in international mining, mine
planning, mine closure practices and the conduct of mine operations to
facilitate environmentally acceptable closure have also evolved significantly in
recent years. While in the past communities often saw that the only choice
available was whether a deposit should be mined or not, it has been clearly
shown that the manner in which a mine is planned can have a major positive
influences on the magnitude and duration of impacts during the life cycle and
after mine closure. 
Future mines and existing mines that continue
operations will need to include closure as an integral part of a project life
cycle. They will need to be designed to ensure that future public health and
safety are not compromised; environmental resources are not subject to physical
and chemical deterioration; post-mining uses for the site are beneficial and
sustainable term; adverse socio-economic impacts are minimised; and
socio-economic benefits are maximised.


It is anticipated that mining will continue to underpin the economies of many
countries in SEE and the TRB in the future. Ongoing and new developments to
process and mine the mineral resources of mining nations will be vital for many
of them to pursue sustainable development. However, mining activities that
result in legacies such as those that exist today are unacceptable jurisdictions
in SEE and the TRB must embrace mining for closure practices. In recognition of
this importance, the report is intended to help facilitate mining policy
development, capacity development and institutional development that can yield a
sustainable mix of social, economic, and environmental outcomes from mining. In
contrast to countries that have already implemented good international mining
practices , countries in SEE and the TRB have yet to develop sufficiently
sophisticated corporate governance, regulatory frameworks, or financial and
insurance markets to adequately address mine closure rules or funding. This will
require innovative approaches, flexibility and new partnerships between
governments, industry, communities and other stakeholders in SEE and the
TRB.

Comprehensive mine closure for abandoned mines, presently operating
mines, and future mines remains a major challenge for virtually every mining
nation in the world. To accommodate the need to close abandoned mines and to
ensure that existing and future mines are appropriately closed will require the
cooperation of a diverse stakeholder community, new and innovative methods of
financing closure and major policy and legislative change in most nations to
ensure post-mining sustainable development, Clark et al. (2000).

Mining for closure requires recognition that mining is a temporary use of
land, but that the nature of potential impacts can be exceedingly long term.
Further, such impacts can negatively affect a wide range of stakeholders and
economic development in addition to the ecological environment. Mining for
closure is a sustainability issue not just an environmental issue.


Approaches to new mining projects


Mining for Closure seeks to assist National actors in the development of
reclamation and decommissioning standards that are in-keeping with leading
mining nations; that address closure options, processing and ongoing
reclamation; that have appropriate terms and conditions for site reclamation and
decommissioning; that ensure that closure plans are updated, and that ensure
that sufficient financial security (bonds, assurances, etc.) are in place prior
to development.


Approaches for dealing with orphaned and abandoned mines


Mining for Closure also strives to aid National actors in the exploration of
potential partnerships and approaches for remediation of orphan and abandoned
mining sites focusing on the creation of future economic and social values in
the context of a healthy environment, rather than simply aiming to clean up .
Such partnerships will likely involve both the public and private sectors, and
may well embrace players who are not usually engaged in post-mining
regeneration. Needed are innovative technological solutions, creative financial
mechanisms, new legal instruments and unconventional partnerships. Needed is
also the full   engagement of policy makers and legislators at all
levels of government, of companies, the investment community, local communities
and non-governmental organisations.


Capacity in Mining for Closure


In the context of SEE and the TRB, the task at hand encompasses more than
ensuring mine closure and rehabilitating mining legacies. The strengthening of
institutional frameworks is also vital to manage and reduce trans-boundary risks
related to such hazardous activities, to facilitate the successful management of
trans-boundary natural resources and to influence the evolution of social norms.
There is a clear need for a capacity-building programme to enhance the ability
of national agencies and mines inspectorates to deal with the legacy of mining
sites in the region. Moreover, it must be ensured that new mining projects are
based on sound environmental and security principles. Mining for Closure
attempts to lay the foundation for a programme to apply a combination of
capacity-building tools including pilot studies, knowledge transfer, case study
analysis, regional workshop(s) to exchange experience, and development of
country action programmes. National actors should be assisted in building 
agency capacity in the following areas, inter alia:



  •  environmental impact and risk assessment, and screening of new
    mining projects;
  •  incorporation of public security measures and emergency preparedness
    into mining permits and licences;
  •  dealing with non-active mines, including abandoned sites;
  •  capacity building for governmental and regulatory actors involved,
    or to be involved in activities such as those listed above.


Furthermore, Mining for Closure is meant to promote a more open and
informed debate surrounding the need for mining and the ability of mining to
serve as a valuable economic driver for development while improving the
environment. Awareness raising among all stakeholders with regards best
environmental practice in mining will be central to this.