Case Study

Reimagining Mine Closure

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Transforming the mining paradigm from a means of extraction to a lever for collaborative regional development.

For mining companies, the race to mine relinquishment has become one of their largest challenges. The monumental costs of fulfilling environmental commitments and the negative effects communities, who are economically dependent on mining activities, experience when operations abruptly close, have made closing a mine an impossible endeavour.

In response to this reality, the mining industry has been compelled to challenge its process of relinquishment, and transform the whole lifecycle of a mine to increase environmental, social, and economic success for all stakeholders. To enable this paradigm shift, Coeuraj was invited to partner with Environmental Resources Management (ERM), the world's largest global sustainability and engineering consulting firm, to design a comprehensive, multi-year process that would convene a number of the largest mining companies in the world; national and local governments; regulators; communities; and other regional stakeholders to reimagine closure and post-closure outcomes across three pilot sites.

Coeuraj currently leads the delivery of a collaborative design journey facilitating dialogue and problem-solving across these stakeholders who all share the same problem but may not always share the same perspective or position, and in many cases, carry a history of broken trust.

By taking a whole-systems approach to engaging a wide range of stakeholders, defining the shared problems and opportunities, and addressing power and changing dynamics, our process has shifted patterns of communication from bi-lateral exchanges of information—historically led by mining organizations—to multi-stakeholder dialogue.

Our work continues to support the development of a new mine closure approach founded on the principle that a mine does not need to be an extractive means to an end, and can instead provide rich opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and mutual benefit long after it closes. Throughout this process, participants are actively challenged to move past status quo thinking, think about a region as opposed to the fence line of a mine site, reframe liabilities and losses into collective opportunities, and form multi-stakeholder partnerships.

To learn more about the Reimagining Mining project, you can visit this virtual open house that provides details on one of the pilot sites and our current phase of work.

Related Work

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