Planning for mine closure is about ensuring a sustainable, productive future

We use land for a limited time - the life of a mine - and we want to ensure that in the future land becomes available for other uses, such as conservation, grazing and housing.

Mine life plans (also known as closure plans) are required for every Rio Tinto operation. They are developed by a multi-disciplinary team including mine planners, engineers and specialists in the areas of finance, environment, cultural heritage, community relations and human resources. This ensures all issues and options are considered. Consultation with the local community is also an important aspect of the development of these plans.

Mine life plans are reviewed and updated throughout the life of the mine. For those operations with a predicted life of more than 20 years, plans must be updated every seven years, while operations with a predicted life of 20 years or less must update their plans every five years.

2011 activity

During 2011, Blair Athol Mine's mine life (closure) plan was reviewed. Mining at Blair Athol Mine is currently planned to finish in 2016 with final rehabilitation to be completed in subsequent years. Detailed decommissioning studies and plans for Blair Athol Mine from now until final closure are being produced. Planning for a post-mining 10 year rehabilitation monitoring programme is underway, as is consultation with the local community and Traditional Owner groups, which will inform post-mining use for the mine.

A detailed mine life (closure) plan for the Hail Creek Mine commenced in 2011 and is due to be completed and reviewed in 2012. In addition, work on Clermont Mine's mine life (closure) plan is scheduled to start in 2012.