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Mine Closure and Post-Mining Transition

Mine Closure and Post-Mining Transition

Minerals and metals are critical to the products and technologies of modern society. They are also vital for the shift to a low-carbon economy. For mining to be more sustainable, the industry must provide these natural resources without compromising the integrity of the environment or the well-being of local communities in the future. Well-planned and executed mine closure and post-mining transition can help achieve this goal.

Mining projects consistent with sustainable development principles ensure planning for closure and post-mine site use is present throughout the mine’s life cycle, which consists of five stages:

  • Mine planning: exploration and feasibility studies
  • Construction: establishing the mine site, from roads and processing facilities to environmental management systems
  • Operations: active production
  • Closure: completion of the mining operation, with closure and rehabilitation of the site
  • Post-mining transition: long-term maintenance and conversion of mine site for other uses.

Mine Closure Planning

Mine closure plans should be developed in active consultation with stakeholders and provide progressive rehabilitation for shared economic, environmental, and social benefits.

Financial Assurance

Adequate financial assurance policies allow governments to ensure closure can be funded to completion even if the mining company goes bankrupt or abandons the site.

Orphaned and Abandoned Mines

Governments, alongside all stakeholders, should take a leadership role in managing and mitigating legacy liabilities.

Promoting Viable Closure and Post-Mining Policy Opportunities

We support policy-makers to implement policies for mine closure and post-mining transition through our capacity building, technical training, events, and publications consistent with our Mining Policy Framework.

It is essential that mine closure planning occurs in conjunction with mine planning and that decisions in the early stages are made with post-mining land use in mind.

The right decisions early in a mine’s life can lead to more closure options and better outcomes related to a community’s access to resources, water quality, biodiversity, and more.

Some of these outcomes include using closed mine sites to produce renewable energy to mitigate climate change and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and developing rigorous mine closure plans with precise closure cost estimates.

Post-mining transition builds trust in the sector, giving governments and local communities the confidence to know a mining project will be closed responsibly at the end of its operating life.

To support policy-makers in achieving their sustainable development goals, we work with governments around the globe on post-mining transition with a focus on three aspects of closure governance.

Additional Resources

Indigenous Consultation and Mine Closure Workshop in Mexico

Following the conclusion of a Mining Policy Framework (MPF) assessment for Mexico, the IGF held a workshop in Mexico City on July 18–21, 2022, to support government officials in ident

Laying the Foundation for Mine Closure Legislation in Argentina

The IGF played an instrumental role in establishing national guidelines for mine closure policies in Argentina.

2021 IGF Annual Report

Our 17th Annual General Meeting was held virtually October 19–20, 2021, with the theme Building Tomorrow Together: Mining for a Responsible and Inclusive Future. Governments, companie

Mining Policy Framework Assessment: Mexico

This assessment report examines Mexico’s mining laws and policies and makes recommendations for policy reform and improvement. The Mexican mining sector is large, diverse, and wel

Mine Closure Readiness: Are governments and industry prepared?

 Mine closure is a complex, multidisciplinary undertaking requiring several years of planning and a coordinated effort from government and industry stakeholders, ideally beginning at

Achieving a Successful Post-Mining Transition with Renewable Energy

This case study explores two examples where former mine sites were transformed into spaces to produce renewable energy in Canada and Germany.

Mine Closure Challenges for Government and Industry

For mining to be truly sustainable, the industry must provide natural resources without compromising the integrity of the environment or the well-being of local communities. Well-pl

Global Review: Financial assurance governance for the post-mining transition

This report outlines the current state of—and global leading practices in—mine closure financial assurance to support post-mining transition governance for IGF members.

Guide to Financial Assurance for Mine Closure in Argentina: Toward responsible mine closure

This guide outlines best practices for mine closure and applicable financial assurance for Argentina’s government and mining companies.

Current Status of Mine Closure Readiness: Are governments prepared?

Governments and regulators have been implementing and revising mine closure policies, regulations, and guidance documents, but are those changes meeting the challenge?