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Retirement Obligations, which is effective for scal years beginning after June 15, 2002, requires that an asset retirement obligation be recognized in the period in which it is incurred This Statement de nes reclamation of a mine at the end of its productive life to be an obligating event that requires liability recognition The asset retirement costs, which include reclamation and closure costs, are capitalized as a component of the long-lived assets of the mineral property and depreciated over the mine life using the units-of-production method This Statement requires that the liability for these obligations be recorded at its fair value using the guidance in FASB Concepts Statement No 7, Using Cash Flow Information and Present Value in Accounting Measurements, to estimate that liability This Statement also requires that the liability be discounted and accretion expense be recognized using the credit-adjusted risk-free interest rate in effect at recognition date Environmental contamination and hazardous waste disposal and clean up is regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund) SOP 96-1, Environmental Remediation Liabilities, provides accounting guidance for the accrual and disclosure of environmental remediation liabilities This Statement requires that environmental remediation liabilities be accrued when the criteria of FASB No 5, Accounting for Contingencies, have been met However, if the environmental remediation liability is incurred as a result of normal mining operations and relates to the retirement of the mining assets, the provisions of SFAS No 143 probably apply (f) SHUTDOWN OF MINES Volatile metal prices may make active operations uneconomical from time to time, and, as a result, mining companies will shut down operations, either temporarily or permanently When operations are temporarily shut down, a question arises as to the carrying value of the related assets If a long-term diminution in the value of the assets has occurred, a writedown of the carrying value to net realizable value should be recorded This decision is extremely judgmental and depends on projections of whether viable mining operations can ever be resumed Those projections are based on signi cant assumptions as to prices, production, quantities, and costs; because most minerals are worldwide commodities, the projections must take into account global supply and demand factors When operations are temporarily shut down, the related facilities usually are placed in a standby mode that provides for care and maintenance so that the assets will be retained in a reasonable condition that will facilitate resumption of operations Care and maintenance costs are usually recorded as expenses in the period in which they are incurred Examples of typical care and maintenance costs are security, preventive and protective maintenance, and depreciation A temporary shutdown of a mining company s facility can raise questions as to whether the company can continue as a going concern (g) ACCOUNTING FOR THE IMPAIRMENT OF LONG-LIVED ASSETS SFAS No 121, Accounting for the Impairment of Long-Lived Assets and Long-Lived Assets to Be Disposed Of, provided de nitive guidance on when the carrying amount of long-lived assets should be reviewed for impairment Long-lived assets of a mining company, for example, plant and equipment and capitalized development costs, should be reviewed for recoverability when events or changes in circumstances indicate that carrying amounts may not be recoverable For mining companies, factors such as decreasing commodity prices, reductions in mineral recoveries, increasing operating and environmental costs, and reductions in mineral reserves are events and circumstances that may indicate an asset impairment SFAS No 121 also established a common methodology for assessing and measuring the impairment of long-lived assets SFAS No 144, which is effective for scal years beginning after December 15, 2001, supercedes SFAS No 121 but retains the fundamental recognition and measurement provisions of SFAS No 121 This Statement addresses signi cant issues relating to the implementation of SFAS No 121 and develops a single accounting model, based on the framework established in SFAS No 121, for long-lived assets to be disposed of by sale, whether previously held and used or newly acquired This Statement de nes impairment as the condition that exists when the carrying amount of a long-lived asset (asset group) exceeds
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