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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 land use (PMLU) 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?

  • Technical ?
  • Economic ?
  • Social ?
  • Environmental ?
  • Regulatory ?
  • Motivation?
  • Accepted or Available Options ?

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.

Lighthouse Project Overview

Prior to our Survey and Workshop of Jan - Feb'23 the belief across much of the industry was that the immediate future of recommercialisation, repurposing and rehabilitation of 'closed' mining sites was primarily a limitation of technical knowledge, PMLU options, commercial constraints or some regulatory hurdles.

The LHP0 Workshop flipped the order of priorities of our planned efforts.

Challenges: Leading into the LHP0 Workshop we surveyed many of or registered participants to gauge the 'perceived challenges' affecting the implementation of innovative and sustainable PMLU solutions. The feedback was revealing:

Group A: Regulatory and Financial challenges associated with project approval and its impact on funding dominated the list. (top 6 of 12).

Group B: Collaboration and Communication challenges (7-10)

Group C: Technical Capability and Knowledge.

Clearly the unsaid challenges were the big issues to be discussed. Proponents 'war stories' of their journey through the regulatory framework enlighten the 50 or so, stakeholders, State Government agencies shared as much frustration as mining industry or METS sector proponents.

Priorities: Towards the end of the LHP0 Workshop we polled the importance of 10 "important' outcomes that enviroMETS could impact to the benefit of its stakeholders.

Group A: Create a Clear Regulatory Pathway attracted 19% of the weighted priority of 10 categories..

Group B: Relates to making a PMLU business case investible.

Group C: Ensure the regional and key interest stakeholders are a key part of the process.

Group D: Essentially directs towards establishing 'sandbox' Pilot Sites to develop and prove PMLU solutions.

enviroMETS has since pursued three integrated research projects.  

Lighthouse Project One (LHP1): Regulatory Framework Firstly understanding regulatory and industry practices for proponents in navigating the current structure. Then identifying a clear pathway for repurposing and repurposing PMLU opportunities.

  • Specifically identify the hurdles for establishing ‘sandbox’ pilot/trial sites 
  • Provide recommendations on solutions to experienced regulatory environment challenges 
  • Provide industry support for reshaping of a future regulatory enabling environment

At a high level our stakeholders have moved well beyond 'The Scars of the Past', and increasingly recognise the prescriptive / default 'Environmental Rehabilitation' grazing or nature leaves nothing for regional communities that have developed around mining. enviroMETS is pursuing 'Economic Transformation' PMLU outcomes that create sustainable diversified regional economies that can survive and thrive.

This project has published its public report (available here) and is now 'drilling down' on each of the recommendations cited on page 12 to provide confidential briefing material for influential stakeholders.

Lighthouse Project Two (LHP2): Develop a reliable, repeatable and comparable methodology of assessing ‘Net Best Value’ of various PMLU options.

  • Develop a system architecture for quantitative analysis
  • Distill viable options from site & regional characterization
  • Identify net value ($ sum) of mineral, new commercial, social, environmental, cultural
  • Standardize format to make ‘authorization process’ comparable and efficient
  • Test a ‘practitioner toolkit’ with five pre-feasibility pilot site regional business cases.

The blue triangle of the diagram here indicates where the high value job rich PMLU value solutions should be created. Repurposing has long-term diversification value over recommercialising a mine site for say critical minerals.

LHP2 commenced in Oct'23 with an initial project scoping workshop. Research partners are in discussion as is funding options.

Lighthouse Project Three (LHP3): Establish several pilot/test site facilities in QLD where stakeholders can find and prove new innovative economic purposes.  

  • Detailed feasibility studies for open pit / underground, Coal / Metalliferous,  Abandoned or Operating
  • Establish collaborations of technical viable PMLU options 
  • Engage investment partners into appropriate governance structures for each site. 
  • Ensure accessible to METS companies, researchers, entrepreneurs and locals - anyone with an idea to test and commercialise.
  • Develop capability for Queensland to be a METS leader in provision of innovative PMLU solutions.

Pilot Sites rely on both LHP1 and LHP2 to reach a practical , useable conclusion to proceed.

There is no shortage or prospective mining land for sites, nor proponents keen to commercially prove various technologies or scale test new ideas. 

Participant Collaboration

These projects offer collaboration opportunities, for our registered Participants to contribute on 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 also offers independent advice and opinion to interested stakeholders. Reports like our LHP1: Regulatory and Industries Practices speak to the issues, to provide high level recommendations that will enable innovative PMLU options to be pursued. Beyond the public reports we offer confidential briefing material to support industry and government policy influencers.

Action Research Process

Our 'action research' is participative and collaborative. Finding pragmatic and innovative stakeholder-valued PMLU solutions will come by establishing operating LHP3 pilot sites and doing research on these operations to improve their outcomes over time. This 80/20 process allows deeper research to occur via observation, analysis and critical reflection of the pilot's actions.

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 facilitates the creation of deeper research 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.

  • mine lifecycle planning
  • geochemical and mine affected water management
  • mine waste reprocessing
  • geotechnical and tailings storage facilities
  • mine closure management
  • governance/policy/regulatory framework

Find out more about our active projects.

Get In Touch


+61 7 3138 1332


Lev 8, Block P, 2 George St, Brisbane, Qld Australia, 4000


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enviroMETS (Qld) Limited

ABN: 88 662 593 580

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