Social aspects of the closure of Century Mine: Combined Report

Published by: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

This report brings together the key findings of three detailed research reports prepared by CSRM for MMG Ltd on the social aspects of closure of the Century Mine. It synthesises the common messages and consistent themes identified by the three major phases of work undertaken to understand the social and economic impact of Century Mine and consequences of mineral production ceasing. The three separate reports, which are also found on the CSRM website, include:

• Supplement A: Report on community consultations

• Supplement B: Survey of employees in GCA roles at Century Mine

• Supplement C: Impacts and Future Prospects for Gulf Businesses and the Regional Economy

Century is a large zinc and lead mining, processing and export operation located in the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria region of North West Queensland, a remote area with a substantial Indigenous population. The mine is covered by a comprehensive land use agreement known as the Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA) which was signed in 1997 between developers of the project, the Queensland Government, and the four native title groups responsible for the project area – Waanyi, Kukatj, Gkuthaarn and Mingginda.

MMG Ltd is the current owner and is seeking to demonstrate leading practice in managing cessation of mining and production through a comprehensive social impact assessment (SIA) of closure. The social objectives of closure are to prevent or minimise adverse long-term impacts on people, communities, their environments, infrastructure, and livelihoods, and to create self-sustaining communities that are safe, healthy, resilient and socio-economically viable after the mine ceases operation. It is expected that the ore body will be depleted by the end of 2015 with mineral production ceasing by 2016 and anticipated target for lease relinquishment some thirty years later.

The report provides a summary of the regional social and economic profile of the Lower Gulf and assesses the cumulative impacts of the Century Mine with respect to economic improvements, Aboriginal culture and traditions, land and the environment and social improvements in the communities. It considers the risks and challenges in the transition to closure and identifies opportunities for leaving a positive legacy. The research is intended also to inform the 15-year review of the GCA by: (a) summarising key findings from consultations with people in the Gulf communities; (b) providing an assessment of the extent to which the aspirations of the native title groups have been met; and (c) highlighting priority areas for attention by the parties to the GCA over the remaining years of production and beyond.


Everingham, J., Brereton, D., Arbelaez-Ruiz, D., Barnes, R., Collins, N., Weldegiorgis, F., Rogers, P. & Oñate Santibáñez, B. (2013) Social Aspects of the Closure of Century Mine. Combined Report, CSRM: Brisbane.