While working for the Eden Project’s Post-Mining Alliance, Pete Whitbread-Abrutat was part of the organising committee for a two-day, multi-stakeholder best practice mine closure workshop in Johannesburg co-hosted with the University of Witwatersrand Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry. This brought together people from industry, government and academia to discuss best practice case studies and challenges in mine closure.
The workshop field trip toured AngloGold Ashanti’s large-scale, gold-tailings reprocessing ERGO operations around Johannesburg. One leading mining company representative later admitted that the workshop had caused them to re-think their closure strategies. Following the event the workshop team visited and presented at Rio Tinto’s Palabora Copper Mine and Richards Bay Minerals. At the former they held discussions about, and toured the work of, the world-renowned Palabora Foundation in Phalaborwa town. A request while in Phalaborwa led to an impromptu, interactive session with a group of home-schooling children, aged from four to fourteen, about plants, minerals, supply chains and sustainable development.