During development of our 2022-25 Strategic Plan enviroMETS have been presented with many projects and situations that have possible commercially viable outcomes yet face impediments preventing or limiting realisation.
enviroMETS recognise that many of Queensland’s operating mines have, or will have, reached the end of their productive life in the coming decades. The 1,200 or so abandoned mine sites attest that the successful mine closure or economic post mining outcomes have traditionally been a challenge for industry. Successful mine closure and relinquishment is almost a rarity. Navigation of the regulatory framework can be protracted and complex.
Why are so few mines "Closing" or able to be closed successfully? What are the challenges we have to solve?
Our collaborative project approach is uniquely suited to identifying and finding innovative and sustainable repurposing, recommercialising, and remediation solutions to complex industry wide challenges. The intent is to ensure the land is most valuable and usable to future custodians.
enviroMETS opens the door for commercial collaborations for its active Participants to be researching and deploying new technologies that may be reprocessing mine wastes for essential mineral extraction or repurposing the landform for another commercial use.
The initiative responds to the diverse range of challenges that can be overcome by adopting a successful collaborative approach to improve outcomes of mine affected land for industry, communities, and the environment.
Identifying projects that can facilitate repurposing or re-commercialising creates sustainable ESG benefits; new high value jobs, business growth, regional development, and export opportunities.
enviroMETS seek to address project opportunities that arise from regulatory conditions that might better work with each other with an alternative regulatory regime. For example:
Undertaking lighthouse projects provides opportunities and motivation for stakeholders to collaborate and thereby tease out regulatory inhibitors to common sense ‘net best’ solutions.
1. Operating mines with onerous ‘Environmental Rehabilitation Cost’ obligations and regulations that constrain to specific outcomes that are logically unachievable. These then create conditions where abandonment (or company failure) becomes inevitable.
2. Then, once abandoned, legacy mine sites under care and maintenance of the State Government, may become inaccessible for re-commercialising, alternate use or undertaking research work due to the contingent commercial costs or risks associated with the site reverting to an active mining lease.
3. Where secondary use of mine rock waste attracts reclassification from a “waste” to “resource”. Regulations thereby creating an uneconomic outcome that without the added cost imposition offered a commercially and environmentally viable outcome.
enviroMETS, in conjunction with Queensland Government and industry have identified eleven regional mining sites for our initial 'Lighthouse Project" initiative. Through multi stakeholder enquiry we are developing an understanding of the circumstances and issues associated with a prospective mining land project.
At a high level we have identified the key challenges to be addressed to improve the closure outcomes. These include, technology, economics, policy & regulation, environment and local community social interests; with value metrics.
These are being short listed to five or six for further feasibility study. They represent a cross section of mine land that is operating and abandoned, with potential for recommercialisation, repurposing and remediation. And from hard rock and coal.
These projects offer collaboration opportunities, for our registered Participants to illuminate technical, environmental, social and regulatory issues constraining higher value mining land rehabilitation. Participants may come from within or beyond established mining sector entities in a collaborative business model to identify, evaluate, and propose a feasible business model to industry partners and customers for each project.
Collaborators will include interested government, mining, and METS corporate, research organisations and SME supply vendors seeking to deploy new technology. Also, the mining lands next custodians, and traditional owners.
Independent Industry led NFP
As an independent industry led NFP, company enviroMETS is best positioned to undertake a variety of contractual relationships to pursue improved industry, social and environmental outcomes. It may operate within or to manage collaborating partners to 'sandbox' a (new) form of intermediate regulatory regime that enables a net beneficial outcome to emerge and be sustained.
This organisation structure appeals to government in that it provides a conduit of new ideas from industry and initiate projects untainted by the profit motive. It also works for industry and the investment community in that it seeks (in the case of operating mines) an opportunity to develop a viable rehabilitation solution that avoids abandonment, or (for abandoned sites) a better than doing nothing outcome.
enviroMETS [aka eMQ] will undertake an independent assessment of selected sites for pre-feasibility, with a view to select those with potential for an investible business case fulfilling financial, social and environmental value goals. A net better solution.
- Introduce interested industry, government, research stakeholders and local community into a collaborative (cluster) environment.
- Collate site characteristics; mineralisation (old, NEM, critical), infrastructure, risks, impacts, communities, landform topography, biosphere,...
- Identify opportunities where science, technology or out of sector solutions might address the challenges.
- Identify actions that may enable the implementation of non-technical solutions.
- Identify small deliverable targets with economic value arising from economic resource recovery, social, community and environmental gains.
- Create a Business Case for funding a collaborative JV or other commercial outcome.
The resulting business case, or not, provides the structure for accelerated evaluation, approval and implementation.
The enviroMETS participants represent a broad audience of partners, who together can create solutions applicable locally, nationally and as an export revenue offering.
Where significant opportunities are available for focused research or its commercialisation, enviroMETS may facilitate the creation of formal CRC-Projects or Trailblazer programs.
A diverse range of challenges can be overcome by adopting the collaborative approach to improve outcomes of mine-affected land for industry, communities, and the environment. Specifically, it will develop and deploy a collaboration of skills, research, and experience in our Expertise Streams. Where appropriate, we work closely with our Affiliate organisations who offer additional regional or expertise focus.