Element 6 – Success Criteria

Closure activities are implemented to meet specific closure objectives. Success criteria (p37) are the specifications, measurements or requirements that, if met, denote the success of the closure activities in meeting closure objectives.

Meeting success criteria is a concrete way to demonstrate that the closure plan has been executed effectively. It is usually necessary to demonstrate that success criteria have been met before the associated financial assurance will be released (where applicable), or relinquishment considered.

Developing and agreeing on success criteria:

  • Some success criteria may be relatively simple to define and can be clearly established at the earliest stages of closure planning. As an example, regulatory limits often provide clearly predefined success criteria
  • Finalising other criteria will require study and research and may require agreement on post-closure land use. This means that criteria may not be finalised until the final closure plan is developed
  • Criteria development may require site-specific studies and research plans
  • Some criteria will be highly dependent on the post-closure land uses. For instance, water quality criteria may be quite different if the closure plan anticipates that water may be used for agriculture or as an input to aquatic ecosystems
  • The continual refinement of success criteria over time highlights the iterative nature of closure planning, and the importance of continuing monitoring and review
  • While criteria are designed to evaluate the success of closure activities to meet closure objectives, changes in criteria may also drive changes in the closure activities

Top Tips:

  • The SMART approach (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely) is useful for developing and assessing success criteria.

  • Engagement on success criteria

    Success criteria that do not have the agreement from the regulators and other external stakeholders are not meaningful. To ensure agreed criteria are developed, it is preferable to engage with stakeholders early in closure planning, with full documentation of agreements on applicable criteria.