Mining closure conferences are a regular feature in some historic mining countries such as Australia, but have not yet surfaced here in any significant way. The Bench Marks Foundation intends to reverse this neglect and bring to focus mining closures which, as the theory goes, begin the day mining commences.
This area of work, mine closures, is thus critical for the people, the environment and wider societal benefit, especially in the time of climate change. It is a critical pillar in the mining cycle and the Bench Marks Foundation seeks to engage this process for many reasons; in particular:
– To provide context for a full and proper discussion on illegal mining and the related issues concerning the rights of artisanal mining as well as the failures of formal rights holders to comply with the law;
– To help us understand the legal, regulatory frameworks that govern mining closures and, particularly, the obligations to rehabilitate such closures; and
– To show that the neglect to regulate in favour of the environment, workers and the poor, – particularly those living in and around mining townships, shacks and towns – is an externalisation of costs, and thus a deprivation of basic human rights for these constituencies who have little or no voice in our current democratic dispensation. And have direct decision-making in operations in matters affecting them directly or indirectly.