The need for improved technologies and practices to effectively and efficiently achieve mine closure
Assisting the CRC bid team to quantify and demonstrate the impact and value of its proposed research program.
Workshopping impact pathways and risks with the CRC partners were a key feature of this project, and greatly assisted the bid team understand how research outputs are likely to translate to beneficial impacts.
The University of Western Australia, in partnership with University of Queensland, is leading a bid to establish a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to investigate new technologies and improved practices for mine closure. The rehabilitation and relinquishment of mines that have come to the end of their life is becoming an increasingly important issue for the mining sector, both here in Australia and internationally. With billions of dollars invested in mine rehabilitation each year, it is imperative that mine closure practices meet community expectations and enable repurposing of former minesites where appropriate. Synergies was engaged by the CRC bid team to assist with preparing an impact assessment of the CRC’s proposed research activities.
Increasingly, mining companies are placing a premium on maintaining social license – and with that comes the need for sound knowledge about how to effectively and efficiently achieve mine closure to a standard that meets community expectations.
Mine closure is an integral phase of an active mining industry. It is a global challenge with few examples of successful closure and relinquishment. In China alone it is estimated that around 20,000 coal mines have been closed since 2017. The demand for knowledge about how to successfully manage closure has never been greater.
The proposed CRC for Transformation in Mining Economies (CRC-TiME) has the objective of
increasing certainty of relinquishment,
reducing the likelihood of mine abandonment,
diversifying post mine economies, and
fostering new Australian businesses capable of supplying a global market.
One of the key challenges identified by the CRC proponents is to transform mining economies to enable Australian regions and their communities to build a successful post mine future. Mechanisms for collaboratively building a shared vision of post mine options are limited and unproven, placing the future of mining regions in limbo. This creates an uncertain future for investment in Australian jobs, resources and an increasing disconnect between regional businesses, communities, governments and mining companies.
The CRC TiME has developed a suite of projects organised into three main research programs. The CRC has a planned budget of around $140 million over ten years.
The bid team engaged Synergies to prepare an economic assessment of the CRC’s expected impacts and to document this analysis using the standard Impact Tool that must be submitted as part of a Stage 2 application for Commonwealth funding.
Synergies facilitated two workshops with the bid team to identify the types of impacts expected to emerge from the CRC’s planned activities. This involved mapping the pathways from inputs, outputs, usage, and end-impact. The probability (or risk) of successful output delivery, adoption and impact were assessed as part of this process.
In a second step we developed methodologies for valuing the monetary impacts. Value estimates were then made, drawing on information from stakeholder interviews. This facilitated a benefit cost analysis to be prepared, which was reported using the standard Impact Tool.
The entire impact assessment project was completed within a five week period.
The proposed CRC TiME was estimated to generate a net economic return of approximately $270 million (net present value) over a period of 15 years, and is expected to yield a Benefit-Cost ratio of around 2.3.
The Stage 2 CRC funding application was submitted by the bid team in October 2019, and awaiting outcome.
What our client said
We really appreciate the extra effort and tolerance of our last minute changes to ensure we put our best foot forward in the CRC application process. The story that has emerged from your process has been really useful for us to frame our thinking and will be very useful as we consider the interview an associated presentation.
Guy Boggs, Program Director, Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute