A jurisdictional maturity model for risk management, accountability and continual improvement of abandoned mine remediation programs
Unger, CJ and Lechner, AM and Kenway, J and Glenn, V and Walton, A, A jurisdictional maturity model for risk management, accountability and continual improvement of abandoned mine remediation programs, Resources Policy, 43 pp. 1-10. ISSN 0301-4207 (2015) [Refereed Article]
Abandoned mines can pose risks to the natural environment, humans and economies and prevent multiple or sequential uses of affected land. They range in size from individual shafts to large polluting open cut mines. Across Australia, there are over 50,000 abandoned mines on public and private land. A coordinated, effective management response is required to remediate these sites and reduce liabilities. We propose a novel maturity model for the evaluation of abandoned mine remediation programs and by applying it to Australian jurisdictions, demonstrate the potential for the model to be applied globally. The model incorporates 14 hierarchical evaluative criteria (including social, environmental and economic factors) which are each assessed against five performance indicators. These were derived from prior research and an Australian national policy for abandoned mines. We used the model to compare Australian jurisdictions to a leading practice benchmark jurisdiction, British Columbia, Canada, using web-accessible information and - in two cases - self-evaluation. The amount of publicly-available information varied widely between jurisdictions. Most Australian jurisdictions were ranked as less mature than the British Columbia program for most criteria. We then explain how the maturity model can be used to implement an existing regulatory framework specifically, the Australian Strategic Framework for Managing Abandoned Mines in the Minerals Industry, and discuss how the model can be applied to evaluate progress and prioritise improvements to abandoned mine management programs globally. A systematic approach to monitoring and evaluating abandoned mines programs is essential for improved accountability and to demonstrate change in liability over time. A systematic approach will also support shared learning and continual improvement within, and across, jurisdictions.