Andy Churr – Sharing the benefits – Reducing Operating Risk and Closure Liabilities

Mining can be a force for good if it is planned and operated responsibly. It can transform economies and present host societies with a positive future. On the other hand, the negative impacts of mining will be felt far into the future if stakeholders’ needs are not met adequately, and closure plans are divorced from the current mine plans. One survey of 57 mines that had ceased production in the past 70 years found that less than 9% of these mines were able to close fully. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how fragile our just-in-time economy has become to major shocks. The global economy seems to operate in a permanent state of meta-stability which relies on nothing going wrong in order to generate growth and shareholder returns. Governments are either unwilling, or unable, to legislate for responsible mining and many companies fear losing out if they don’t go above and beyond legislation in order to maintain a licence to operate today and obtain a licence to ‘close’ in the future. 

Understanding how to share benefits with stakeholders today, whilst ‘investing’ in a future where the mine has exhausted its resources, could significantly reduce operating risk as well as closure liabilities. The world has had an unprecedented opportunity to pause and take stock of the impact our consumption has on the planet’s future. Things will not be the same going forward. The key question is which alternative future will we opt for – growth or stability? 


Following a decade of working as a strategy consultant in the financial services industry, Andy steered his career in the direction of Climate Change and Sustainability consulting. He joined ERM in London where, as a Partner, he established one of the world’s first Sustainability Strategy consulting practices, advising Boards and the C-Suites of numerous blue-chip companies on emerging issues of global importance. Andy runs a niche sustainability advisory where he continues to support large corporates in proactively managing Climate Change, Sustainability issues and critical risks. Throughout his career, Andy has advised:

  • leading mining companies on how to evaluate and harness sustainability as a driver of success;
  • governments on the development of sustainable mining policy; and
  • Boards and Executive Committees on how to respond to changing demands of a broad range of external stakeholders and protect shareholder value. 

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