- Creating connections are critical to our shared success in creating better outcomes beyond the mine
- Mining is critical to our nation and our everyday lives and the transition of a mine from one use to another provides a space for opportunity
- Honest brokers and active facilitation are needed with strong vision development
- Tenure, planning and relationships are critical to connect community, mining and government together well before and through a closure transition
- Re-purposing opportunities are many and varied, and need to be designed within the geographic and social context
- Regional planning, cumulative impact and mine closure is a new and emerging space that needs support and innovation
- Australia’s mining regions are diverse but share challenges and opportunities presented by mine closure transitions
Day one wrap up
CRC TiME, CEO, Dr Guy Boggs opened the Inaugural CRC TiME Forum as an opportunity to come together and share knowledge. Vaughn McGuire welcomed us speaking from Ballardong Country, and our theme of #CreatingConnections2021 resonates strongly. In his opening address, CRC TiME Chair, Dr Bruce Kelley spoke of the need for the mining industry to re-calibrate and rebalance. Bruce emphasised the need for active dialogue – a theme returned to by several speakers throughout the day. Bruce encouraged us to keep in mind that, as participants of the CRC TiME Forum, we are all the key drivers. The Hon. Keith Pitt, Minister for Resources and Water, reminded us of the importance of the mining industry to the nation and provided examples of how closure for one company may be a beginning for another.
Andy Lloyd, Chair, Jabiru Kabolkmakmen noted that we are wise to draw lessons from the past – including when things don’t go to plan. Above all he recognised the importance of – honest brokers between community, mining and governments, as well as having a strong vision from Traditional Owners. In the case of Gove, there are clear benefits from the decision to close the mine with a reasonable timeline to develop a transition plan. There are also lessons from the repurposing of Jabiru from a mining town to an Indigenous-led tourism and government service centre. The talk brought home to us the importance of tenure, planning and relationships. The role of government in regional development is crucial. He also drew attention to the rising expectations of closure and noted that achieving a shared vision requires significant resources. Long term planning is a key factor, as well as progressively surrendering control of assets.
Kim Ferguson, Global Practice Lead, BHP and Chair, ICMM Closure Working Group, returned to the topic of courageous conversations and emphasised that we need safe spaces to have robust discussions. Terry Hill, CEO, Pilbara Development Commission reminded us that transformations in mining economies are not just an abstract concept but are manifest locally, speaking to the need for place-based perspectives. James Purtill, Queensland Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner, spoke to major roles of government – facilitation and regulation. Mindset is key to facilitating transitions to new economies – to embrace opportunities as well as regulate to meet community expectations. Linda Dawson, Deputy Director General, Department of Jobs Tourism Science and Innovation, provided valuable insights into the town of Collie’s ‘Just Transition’ plan, including the importance of early investment attraction.
Prof. Andrew Beer, CRC TiME Project Leader, University of South Australia, provided illustrative examples of repurposing in different contexts – from Leisure centres to energy generation and underground Zip lines. Prof. Alex Gardner, CRC TiME Project Leader, University of Western Australia, pointed out that social transition for post mining economies may sometimes lack a suitable statutory framework while Dr Renee Young, CRC TiME Project Leader, Western Australia Biodiversity Science Institute spoke to the need for regional planning to underpin a cumulative approach, pointing out that the existing regional development organisations may not have been designed for post-mining transitions. Dr Marcus Barber, CRC TiME Project Leader, CSIRO, brought us back to the issue of values, focusing on the key question of what matters to people – a taster for further discussions in a workshop tomorrow. Representatives from Regional Hubs spoke to their transition journey in different contexts: from the Bowen Basin to Pilbara, Gove, La Trobe Valley and South West WA, each context being unique yet with lessons for each other. CRC TiME, Research Director, Dr Tom Measham thanked all the speakers and everyone who joined in the discussions today – raising questions, challenging our thinking and above all for creating connections through the CRC TiME Forum. It was an exciting start to the Forum!