New Trends in Managing Mining Liability

Michael Cramer

Director, Accent Environmental

Synopsis

Example trends being considered or actively implemented by mining regulators in Australia are:

  • Financial provisioning for residual (post-relinquishment) site management
  • Greater emphasis on and scrutiny of mine closure plans
  • Requirements to meet agreed progressive rehabilitation goals
  • The use of pooled funds (such as in WA) to cover rehabilitation liabilities (or components of those liabilities)
  • Increasing pressure on proponents/regulators to ensure financial assurance more closely matches liability, as it is generally accepted that it currently does not
  • Updating of rehabilitation liability calculation tools and the potential inclusion of risk-based cost factors in liability calculation.

As the risk profile of quarrying operations is different from many mining operations, the risk to the quarrying industry is that they get swept up in these trends/reforms without due consideration of their specific circumstances.

Biography

Michael Cramer is the Director of Accent Environmental and an environmental impact assessment and management specialist with over 25 years professional experience working in the mining and resource development sectors. He has an Honours Degree in Earth Sciences from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Environmental Science from Monash University.

Michael has extensive rehabilitation and closure experience including assessing closure liabilities, directing closure investigations, preparing closure plans, assessing financial assurance systems, and advising on post-closure management. He has provided closure planning advice for both private clients and government agencies in Australia, Asia, Africa and Papua New Guinea. He is currently involved in the reforms to Queensland’s financial assurance system for resource development projects, focussing on the issue of residual liabilities remaining after the site has been rehabilitated and surrendered back to the State.