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Abstract

Many countries have been burdened with a legacy of unplanned mine closure. Inadequate and ineffective regulatory approaches to mine closure have resulted in legacy of abandoned mine sites, which rehabilitation costs are substantial liabilities to governments and communities. Although governments have been reviewing mine closure regulations to enhance their effectiveness, achievement of successful closure outcomes still remains a challenge. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how well existing regulatory approaches for Kenya, Western Australia and Queensland incorporate various aspects of mine closure. This is the first study to do this type of evaluation for regulatory approaches to mine closure. This study reviewed published literature to identify characteristics of mine closure success, and subsequently developed an analytical framework based on this review. Regulatory documents such as Acts, Bills, regulations, policies, guidelines and government reports were then assessed for inclusion of these characteristics in each case study area. The study found that regulatory approaches in the three case study areas do not incorporate all the aspects identified as requirements for successful mine closure. The study found that Western Australia and Queensland regulations were more comprehensive than Kenya. In addition, requirements that address socio-economic impacts of mine closure need to be incorporated in regulatory approaches in all study areas. This study indicates there is need to improve the existing regulatory approaches to mine closure in each study area, particularly Kenya, so that the regulation is more likely to have the desired effect of improved mine closure outcomes and success.

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