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Mine Closure Risks and Opportunities for South Africa

Date Wed 22 November 2023, 12:00
Location Online Event
Resources Announcement Mine Closure Webinar 06112023.pdf
We are no longer accepting registration for this event

Mining is deeply embedded in the history of modern South Africa and has played a major role in the country’s social and economic development.

Today, there are 230 operating mines spread across 8 provinces, 3 metros and a quarter of all local municipalities. They are located in diverse natural environments near cities, towns, townships and rural villages, home to over 6 million people. Many of these communities are dependent on mining for jobs and local business, and they will be significantly affected by mine closure.

Mine closure risks and land-use opportunities are site-specific, and affected by numerous social, economic, environmental, governance and infrastructural factors, and policies and practices need to take them all into account. National, provincial and local government and other stakeholders need guidance in terms of identifying high risk areas, making decisions on relevant policy interventions, and selecting and investing in suitable post-closure land-use opportunities.
This webinar will describe and discuss a new national mine closure risk rating system and post-closure land use opportunity framework for South Africa, supported by a South African Mine Closure Risk and Opportunity Atlas developed in ArcGIS. Risk ratings have been calculated for likelihood of closure, social impact and environmental impact for all mines in the country based on over 20 national datasets.

The post-closure land use opportunity framework incorporates community values and stakeholder engagement, identifying all possible land-use alternatives, and a screening process based on numerous environmental, social, economic and technical influencing factors and measurable indicators. While it has been developed for South Africa, the concept, design and insights could be applied to any mining country in the world.


Nikisi Lesufi 06112023Nikisi Lesufi

Mr. Nikisi Lesufi is the Senior Executive at the Minerals Council South Africa with responsibility over the functional areas of Environment, Health, Legacies, Employee Relations and Legacies. He is a former Environmental Adviser and Head: Environment at the Chamber of Mines, Regional Director and Provincial Head (Free State) at the Department of Water and Sanitation. He holds an M.Sc. degree from the University of London. He is currently a patron and trustee of the Tembisa Child and Family Welfare Society

James Lake 06112023James Lake

James Lake is a partner and principal scientist at SRK Consulting Johannesburg. With more than 24 years of experience in the environmental field, James’ focus is on geochemistry, closure planning and liability estimating. James has worked on a variety of waste classification projects which have ranged from classifying mine residues as norms and standards as well as more complex projects associated with predicting long term impacts associated with time dependant weathering of residue mineralogy. James’ geochemistry experience is largely in the platinum and copper industry, although he has worked on various other base metal, coal and gold assessments. 

MeganCole 06112023Megan Cole

Dr Megan Cole is a Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town, with over 20 years’ experience in mining, climate change and sustainable development and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. She began her career in the mining industry, working as a geologist, geotechnical engineer and research manager for Anglo American Platinum for 10 years. She moved to the UK and worked on climate change policy and strategy in developing countries at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford. She returned to South Africa after completing her DPhil on sustainable development and developed novel research on operationalising the Sustainable Development Goals in the mining industry, with a focus on mining communities in South Africa. Her current research includes assessing mine closure risks and opportunities; assessing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks in the mining industry; and analysing coal mine closure, community vulnerability and local governance in the context of the just transition in South Africa.