Mine lifecycle planning and enduring value for remote communities

Mine lifecycle planning and enduring value for remote communities Thesis

  • Author(s): Robertson, S
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: University of New England
  • Volume: PhD

Abstract: Mine lifecycle planning is an important part of any mineral extraction operation. However, mine lifecycle planning has often not taken into account the impacts upon communities and regions that support these operations. This thesis examines whether mine lifecycle planning can generate enduring value to host communities and their hinterlands by highlighting the need for these communities to have a diversified economic base with a normalised local government structure. Using a case study approach, two remote mining communities, Leigh Creek and Roxby Downs, at different stages of their mines lifecycle, in remote outback South Australia were examined. The establishment and governance structures of the communities were reviewed along with the effect of operational planning decisions upon the mobility of the workforce. A survey and interviews with a subset of the survey respondents were undertaken. Analysis of the results highlighted the high level of dependency upon Leigh Creek by the surrounding hinterland communities, which has had the nearby mine close post the survey. In contrast, Roxby Downs, has not yet had a similar level of dependency develop upon it by its surrounding communities. The perceptions of the social aspects and infrastructure in these towns were examined, with the results indicating the social and infrastructure aspects enabled people to lead fulfilling lives, which in turn made the towns attractive places for residents. However, changes in population and a move to more mobile workforces undermined the ability of Leigh Creek to maintain its sporting and social activities; in Roxby Downs for small private service business to remain viable. The perceptions of the viability of both communities post mining were analysed. The results indicate that for both communities and their hinterlands the perception was of the towns being unviable post mining unless other industry development was able to provide employment for residents. For Leigh Creek the results also highlighted that to remain viable the town needed to become an open normalised community. These findings reinforce the concept that for a mining-based community to endure post mining, it requires a diversified economic base as well the ability of mining to deliver broader benefits through social and infrastructure benefits that are derived via open communities. The thesis concludes with recommendations to transition Leigh Creek utilising the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to an open community now that mining has ceased. In respect to Roxby Downs for Government to aid the development of alternate industry or support the use of Roxby Downs as a host community for future mining operations.

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Suggested Citation
Robertson, S, 2016, Mine lifecycle planning and enduring value for remote communities, Volume:PhD, Thesis, viewed 22 March 2019, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=6662.

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