Mine Closure Framework
Namibia’s long mining history dates back many hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the last decades of the 20th century have seen significant social and environmental impacts due to unplanned mine closures in Namibia. There are over 200 abandoned mines in the country for which the liability for rehabilitation transferred automatically to the State when the mining companies that operated these mines ceased to exist and in many cases vanished without trace. In some instances, substantial environmental damage has been left behind; this will impact negatively on Namibia’s natural resources and the health and safety of her people, tarnishing Namibia’s reputation as a country promoting responsible mining.
This undesirable situation has been recognised by a number of institutions in Namibia; including the Chamber of Mines of Namibia and in response, several relevant policies and pieces of legislation have emerged to address mine closure, social mitigation, environmental rehabilitation and closure funding. However, no single comprehensive policy or legislation addressing these aspects of mine closure is currently in place.
The mission of the Chamber of Mines is to efficiently promote, encourage, protect, foster and contribute to the growth of responsible exploration and mining in Namibia, to the benefit of the country and all stakeholders. In order to ensure that the past legacy of abrupt mines closures does not repeat itself, and aiming to fulfill this mission, the Chamber has now provided guidance in the form of this Mine Closure Framework. The Framework also provides some solutions to the call by the Minister of Mines and Energy in 2007, “for the mining industry to establish a social fund to alleviate the social impacts in mining towns /communities once mining comes to an end.”
The Framework is primarily intended to provide minimum standards for companies developing or operating medium and large scale mines in Namibia. It does not provide guidance for the closure of prospecting and exploration activities, nor for the rehabilitation of existing abandoned mines.
Chamber of Mines of Namibia – Namibian Mine Closure Framework Final Report May 2010