Most of our business planning occurs on a year by year basis. However, there are aspects that require more than a years notice. This is particularly important to the Approvals process. For example, being able to demonstrate that you can successfully rehabilitate waste landforms is not something that can be achieved within a year when needing to demonstrate the implementation of closure initiatives (although the new guidelines will help with this).
In most situations, I am engaged to provide Approvals advice and strategy on aspects that have been identified as being a barrier to achieving Approvals requirements. I often find that there is so much that could have been done in the years prior and that there was the ability to project forward in anticipation of an Approvals process. Small steps could have been taken on a minimal budget to mitigate these risks.
Take a step back and assess:
- Where are mineral exploration activities occurring?
- Is the current mining operations likely to expand?
- Are there critical environmental aspects that need to be addressed?
- Do we have reputation or compliance issues that need to be addressed?
Once you have gone through these questions, use the responses to predict potential Approvals requirements in the future. Determine the likelihood of your prediction.
Next step – what needs to be done (action plan) to prepare (in a cost effective manner) for such an event? What is the cost of doing nothing?
Prepare a business case to implement your action plan, or incorporate your initiatives into the next budget cycle.