Water and energy integration towards post-mine transition

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Clerc, C
Sharma, V
Pagliero, L
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Abbasi, B

Parshley, J

Fourie, A

Tibbett, M

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Reno, Nevada, United States


Mining is resource-intensive and often located in remote and climate-fragile areas with limited resources, requiring complementary developments in water treatment and power generation services to sustain its activities (Owen & Kemp, 2018). Communities that surround mine sites usually rely on the mining company for their water and energy supply. Since many jurisdictions require mining companies to close all service infrastructure as part of closure planning, mine closure raises concerns over the future sustainability of this mining-dependent infrastructure. Mine closure, therefore, can disrupt critical access to water and energy for local communities and impact their post-mining transition plans and development opportunities (Christmann, 2017; Vivoda et al., 2019). Interest in exploring the socio-economic impacts of mine closure has been increasing worldwide. Yet, research that considers how mine closure intersects with local needs to align sustainable planning is sparse (Bainton & Holcombe, 2018). Understanding the nature of water and energy challenges induced by mine closure in remote and climate-vulnerable regions will help guide communities to successfully transition post-mining (Carvalho, 2017). As such, an integrated approach to water and energy access and security is needed. Integrated planning of water and energy access allows the optimal use of resources, enabling a sustainable supply post-mining. Silo-ed interventions that promise a clean and affordable supply of energy without considering its interface with, and role in, sustainable water management, have been ineffective in achieving sustained benefits over the long term (United Nations et al., 2014). An integrated approach not only helps balance resource quality and quantity for productive livelihoods but, in doing so, optimises the cost-efficiency of solutions while minimising associated social and environmental impacts (De Oliveira et al., 2022). This paper presents an exploratory study of what an integrated multi-dimensional analysis for water and energy access post-mine may look like. The novelty of our approach is its grounding in inter-disciplinary literature encompassing diverse disciplines: mining and mine closure, development challenges in remote contexts, climate change adaptation, and integrated energy and water regional-scale planning.

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Mine Closure 2023: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Mine Closure

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Clerc, C; Sharma, V; Pagliero, L, Water and energy integration towards post-mine transition, Mine Closure 2023: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Mine Closure, 2023