Keynote Speakers

Mine Closure 2024
26–28 November 2024 | The Westin Perth, Western Australia

Opening Speaker

Darren Murphy
Mine Closure Consultant/Mine Repurposing Advocate
Murcox Post Mining Services

Darren Murphy is a fellow of the Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand, a certified environmental practitioner and founding chairperson of the Closure Planning Practitioners Association. He holds a master’s degree in zoology from The University of Western Australia, and with 35 years of experience has been at the forefront of change and improvement in mine closure planning within industry, consulting and stakeholder organisations.

Darren’s experience includes pioneering the use of landscape function analysis to assess rehabilitation performance, establishing robust cost-estimation systems to improve closure provisions, bringing together multi-disciplinary teams to undertake some of the earliest closure studies, advocating for regional repurposing opportunities, and working with international peers to develop mine closure and reclamation standards for the International Standards Organisation.

Throughout his career, Darren has strived to build capacity and capability within the organisations and teams around him, often challenging the status quo and leading change by example. Seeing the need for further change, Darren has recently turned his efforts to working with Traditional Owners and post-mining stakeholder organisations to help pull through better mine closure and transition outcomes.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Emma Gagen
Acting Director Environment

Emma joined the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) in 2022 as the lead for the mine closure and water work programs. Prior to joining ICMM, Emma was lead technical advisor in the Office of the Queensland Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner where she led the research program on best practice mine rehabilitation.

Before joining government, Emma spent 10 years in post-PhD research positions as an environmental microbiologist. Her research has focused on biogeochemical processes, re-forming surface crusts in iron ore areas, addressing topsoil deficits in coal mine rehabilitation and other microbe–mineral interactions that are relevant for biotechnology and environmental sustainability in the mining industry. Emma has lectured in environmental management for mining and has provided environmental microbiology consulting for the mining and agriculture sectors. 

Emma has a BEnvSc (Hons I) and a PhD in microbial ecology from The University of Queensland, Australia. She is passionate about sustainability in the mining and agriculture sectors.

Mining and metals operations, and the communities and regions that host them are inextricably linked. In a world experiencing significant disruptions globally and locally due to climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, geopolitical tensions and economic transitions, the mining and metals industry can play an important role in strengthening social and economic resilience. Mine closure is a significant disruption that every mining region will experience. With planned mine closures around the world expected to increase over the next decade, the industry has a unique opportunity to improve closure performance and support social and economic transition within mining regions.

The International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) Integrated mine closure good practice guide (2019) sets out the key elements underpinning successful transition: integration of closure considerations into the mining lifecycle, closure planning, closure-specific stakeholder engagement, implementation of closure activities, post-closure monitoring, maintenance and relinquishment. Most of these elements start long before operations cease, and they are iterative in nature. Nonetheless, successful closure and the realisation of post-mining futures for mining regions remain challenging. Overcoming the barriers to successful post-mining regional transitions will require collaborative, multi-stakeholder approaches that are self-sustaining and designed for longevity.

This presentation will give an overview of work the ICMM is doing to support closure good practice across the industry. This includes understanding multi-stakeholder approaches that support asset transitions across diverse global contexts, as well as leveraging the need for urgent action on nature, to realise post-mining outcomes that benefit people and the planet.

Professor Gawen RT Jenkin
Professor of Applied Geology
University of Leicester, UK

Gawen is a geochemist and mineral deposit geologist with 40 years’ experience researching critical minerals. Over the last 10 years, he has developed a new line of research applying novel environmentally friendly solvents to extract metals from primary ores and secondary waste streams. Gawen is director of the Centre for Sustainable Resource Extraction at the University of Leicester and the UK lead for the GBP 2M PROMT project – Philippine Remediation of Mine Tailings. Gawen is a board member for the Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Division of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists. He also promotes science communication and was awarded a Distinguished University Teaching Fellowship in 2009.

Tailings storage facilities pose environmental hazards, and failure could cause contaminated materials to be released affecting people and ecosystems. Conversely, tailings are significant resources of unrecovered metals, especially in older facilities produced using less-efficient mineral processing. The already finely ground material makes remining and reprocessing of tailings appealing, but challenges include the risk of damaging the structural integrity of the tailings, handling costs and the potential for release of contaminants. Reprocessing in situ is a potential alternative.

The Philippines Remediation of Mine Tailings (PROMT) is a joint UK Natural Environment Research Council and Philippine Department of Science and Technology funded project that involves over 40 UK and Philippine researchers working together with mining companies to develop new science and sustainable technologies for in situ reprocessing and remediation of mine tailings. This state-of-art project aims is to employ novel solvents to recover metals, stimulate soil development and enhance plant growth, thereby facilitating pathways for new productive land uses.

An overall successful, economic and safe in situ process requires five key components:

  • A solvent that is effective, safe and cheap.
  • Fluid flow should be feasible, can be monitored and ideally controlled, and solvent and metals can be recovered.
  • It should have neutral or, ideally, positive impacts on the ecosystem, including microbiota, flora and sustainable land use pathways.
  • It must be demonstrated beyond lab scale.
  • The necessary social licence to operate must be obtained, especially locally.

This presentation will give an overview of how PROMT is developing and demonstrating all these aspects, with a case study on a copper-rich tailings facility in the Philippines.

Peter Harvey
Global Head
Rio Tinto, UK

Welcome to Country Speaker

Freda Ogilvie

A Whadjuk/Ballardong matriarch, with National and State responsibilities, including participation and involvement on the City of Fremantle, Elders Committee and the Access and Inclusion Committee. In addition. involvement on Education and Early Childhood Education committees in Western Australia and the Australian Government.
Speaking up and speaking out on matters of family, education, health, domestic violence and community services is my role, responsibility and accountability to myself and the privileges I have attained throughout my life.