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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


ACKERMAN, M.; VAN DER WALDT, G.  and  BOTHA, D.. Mitigating the socio-economic consequences of mine closure. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2018, vol.118, n.4, pp.439-447. ISSN 2411-9717.

An analysis of trends in the mining industry in South Africa reveals a general lack of understanding among mining companies of the significant socio-economic consequences that mine closure may have on affected communities. The existing statutory and regulatory framework of the mining industry makes provision for planned mine closures, but not for unexpected ones. This article presents the findings of an empirical study undertaken to assess the socio-economic consequences and vulnerabilities of communities with the view to proposing a more contingency-based and socio-economic risk mitigation approach for unexpected mine closures. Two cases were analysed, that of the Grootvlei mine in Springs and the Orkney mine. Mainstream contingency planning models, approaches, and principles were synergized and contrasted with the consequences experienced at the two sites. Based on a gap analysis, the respective phases of, and activities associated with, a mine-closure contingency planning approach are suggested for design and implementation by mining companies.

Keywords : contingency planning; disaster; livelihoods; mine closure; mining community; mine closure plan; mitigation; socio-economic vulnerability.

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