Sheldon - Itís Not Over When Itís Over: Mine Closure Around the World

full all chapter5 chapter6 chapter7 chapter8 chapter9

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Transparency and Accountability

Policy, Legal and Contractual Framework

Sector Organization and Institutions

Fiscal Design and Administration

Revenue Management and Distribution

Sustainable Development

Christopher G. Sheldon, John E. Strongman and Monika Weber-Fahr, It’s Not Over When It’s Over: Mine Closure Around the World, World Bank/IFC, 2002.


This paper examines the environmental, social and economic impact of mine closures on stakeholders in communities, especially in developing countries, where mining operations are carried out. The authors note that mine closure processes have gone beyond the traditional approach of decommissioning and stoppage of production but now extend to full restoration of the land and mitigating the effect of closure on the communities, workers and local economies. The authors posit that a fully effective mine closure program must start at the mine design stage and should involve a trilateral process of consultations and problem-solving amongst stakeholders.

They argue that many mines have been closed and many major mines in developing countries will soon be closed as a result of their age and market forces. As a result, there is need for capacity building and re-orientation of local communities toward economic and sustainable development during and post mine life operations. The authors note the volatile cost implications of mine closure and stated that most government adopt the polluter pay principle in this regard. Instruments of mine closures were also considered with a resolution that a detailed legal and fiscal framework setting out the responsibilities, duties and rights of stakeholders is crucial to developing a sustainable mine closure regime.

The paper cites an example of good mine closure practice as exhibited through the Sullivan Mine in North West Canada and concludes by highlighting the specific roles of stakeholders including the roles of bilateral donors and international financial institution.

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