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National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998)


Financial Provisioning Regulations, 2015


Appendix 4

3. Content of the final rehabilitation, decommissioning and mine closure plan


The final rehabilitation, decommissioning and mine closure plan must be measurable and auditable, must take into consideration the proposed post-mining end use of the affected area and must contain information that is necessary for the definition of the closure vision, objectives and design and relinquishment criteria, indicating what infrastructure and activities will ultimately be decommissioned, closed, removed and remediated and the risk drivers determining actions, indicating how the closure actions will be implemented to achieve closure relinquishment criteria and indicating monitoring, auditing and reporting requirements. The final rehabilitation, decommissioning and mine closure plan must be measurable and auditable and must include─

(a) details of─
(i) the person or persons that prepared the plan;
(ii) the professional registrations and experience of the preparers;
(b) the context of the project, including─
(i) material information and issues that have guided the development of the plan;
(ii) an overview of—
(aa) the environmental context, including but not limited to air quality, quantity and quality of surface and groundwater, land, soils and biodiversity; and
(bb) the social context that may influence closure activities and post-mining land use or be influenced by closure activities and post-mining land use;
(iii) stakeholder issues and comments that have informed the plan;
(iv) the mine plan and schedule for the full approved operations, and must include─
(aa) appropriate description of the mine plan;
(bb) drawings and figures to indicate how the mine develops;
(cc) what areas are disturbed; and
(dd) how infrastructure and structures (including ponds, residue stockpiles etc.) develops during operations;
(c) findings of an environmental risk assessment leading to the most appropriate closure strategy, including─
(i) a description of the risk assessment methodology including risk identification and quantification, to be undertaken for all areas of infrastructure or activity or aspects for which a holder of a right or permit has a responsibility to mitigate an impact or risk at closure;
(ii) an identification of indicators that are most sensitive to potential risks and the monitoring of such risks with a view to informing rehabilitation and remediation activities;
(iii) an identification of conceptual closure strategies to avoid, manage and mitigate the impacts and risks;
(iv) a reassessment of the risks to determine whether, after the implementation of the closure strategy, the residual risk has been avoided and / or how it has resulted in avoidance, rehabilitation and management of impacts and whether this is acceptable to the mining operation and stakeholders; and
(v) an explanation of changes to the risk assessment results, as applicable in annual updates to the plan;
(d) design principles, including─
(i) the legal and governance framework and interpretation of these requirements for the closure design principles;
(ii) closure vision, objectives and targets, which objectives and targets must reflect the local environmental and socio-economic context and reflect regulatory and corporate requirements and stakeholder expectations;
(iii) a description and evaluation of alternative closure and post closure options where these exist that are practicable within the socioeconomic and environmental opportunities and constraints in which the operation is located;
(iv) a motivation for the preferred closure action within the context of the risks and impacts that are being mitigated;
(v) a definition and motivation of the closure and post closure period, taking cognisance of the probable need to implement post closure monitoring and maintenance for a period sufficient to demonstrate that relinquishment criteria have been achieved;
(vi) details associated with any on-going research on closure options;
(vii) a detailed description of the assumptions made to develop closure actions in the absence of detailed knowledge on site conditions, potential impacts, material availability, stakeholder requirements and other factors for which information is lacking;
(e) a proposed final post-mining land use which is appropriate, feasible and possible of implementation, including─
(i) descriptions of appropriate and feasible final post-mining land use for the overall project and per infrastructure or activity and a description of the methodology used to identify final post-mining land use, including the requirements of the operations stakeholders;
(ii) a map of the proposed final post-mining land use;
(f) closure actions, including─
(i) the development and documenting of a description of specific technical solutions related to infrastructure and facilities for the preferred closure option or options, which must include all areas, infrastructure, activities and aspects both within the mine lease area and off of the mine lease area associated with mining for which the mine has the responsibility to implement closure actions;
(ii) the development and maintenance of a list and assessment of threats and opportunities and any uncertainties associated with the preferred closure option, which list will be used to identify and define any additional work that is needed to reduce the level of uncertainty;
(g) a schedule of actions for final rehabilitation, decommissioning and closure which will ensure avoidance, rehabilitation, management of impacts including pumping and treatment of extraneous water ─
(i) linked to the mine works programme, if greenfields, or to the current mine plan, if brownfields;
(ii) including assumptions and schedule drivers; and
(iii) including a spatial map or schedule, showing planned spatial progression throughout operations;
(h) an indication of the organisational capacity that will be put in place to implement the plan, including─
(i) organisational structure as it pertains to the plan;
(ii) responsibilities;
(iii) training and capacity building that may be required to build closure competence;
(i) an indication of gaps in the plan, including an auditable action plan and schedule to address the gaps;
(j) relinquishment criteria for each activity or infrastructure in relation to environmental aspects with auditable indicators;
(k) closure cost estimation procedure, which ensures that identified rehabilitation, decommissioning, closure and post-closure costs, whether on-going or once-off, are realistically estimated and incorporated into the estimate, on condition that─
(i) cost estimates for operations, or components of operations that are more than 30 years from closure will be prepared as conceptual estimates with an accuracy of ± 50 per cent. Cost estimates will have an accuracy of ± 70 per cent for operations, or components of operations, 30 or less years (but more than ten years) from closure and ± 80 per cent for operations, or components of operations ten or less years (but more than five years) from closure. Operations with 5 or less years will have an accuracy of ± 90 per cent. Motivation must be provided to indicate the accuracy in the reported number and as accuracy improves, what actions resulted in an improvement in accuracy;
(ii) the closure cost estimation must include—
(aa) an explanation of the closure cost methodology;
(bb) auditable calculations of costs per activity or infrastructure;
(cc) cost assumptions;
(iii) the closure cost estimate must be updated annually during the operation’s life to reflect known developments, including changes from the annual review of the closure strategy assumptions and inputs, scope changes, the effect of a further year’s inflation, new regulatory requirements and any other material developments; and
(l) monitoring, auditing and reporting requirements which relate to the risk assessment, legal requirements and knowledge gaps as a minimum and must include─
(i) a schedule outlining internal, external and legislated audits of the plan for the year, including─
(aa) the person responsible for undertaking the audit(s);
(bb) the planned date of audit and frequency of audit;
(cc) an explanation of the approach that will be taken to address and close out audit results and schedule;
(ii) a schedule of reporting requirements providing an outline of internal and external reporting, including disclosure of updates of the plan to stakeholders;
(iii) a monitoring plan which outlines─
(aa) parameters to be monitored, frequency of monitoring and period of monitoring;
(bb) an explanation of the approach that will be taken to analyse monitoring results and how these results will be used to inform adaptive or corrective management and/or risk reduction activities; and
(m) motivations for any amendments made to the final rehabilitation, decommissioning and mine closure plan, given the monitoring results in the previous auditing period and the identification of gaps as per 2(i).