Blog

What is the government’s involvement in mine rehabilitation?

Mine rehab and closure
Mining & Resources

What is the government’s involvement in mine rehabilitation?

The Australian Government is placing an increased focus and commitment to ensuring major mining projects use best practice rehabilitation so that the land can be re-purposed once mining operations cease. The Government acknowledges that aspects of the current regulatory framework for mine rehabilitation do not meet best practice. For example, development applications for major mining projects often lack required consideration and information on how land is going to be rehabilitated and transformed post-mining.

Also, concerns have been raised by communities regarding the assessment of final mining voids (the formation of pits as a result of displaced material as a result of open cut mining), including the lack of criteria to determine how a final void will be managed and what is deemed acceptable. Reforms are needed to ensure rehabilitation and post-mining land uses are properly considered early in mine planning.
Modern regulation, including the requirement to lodge a security bond, means that mining operators are responsible for their own rehabilitation works.

Legislative changes are underway

On 8 February 2017, the Senate referred an inquiry into the rehabilitation of mining and resources projects as it relates to Commonwealth responsibilities to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 23 August 2017. From 2017 to March 2019, seven ‘extensions to report’ were granted. In March 2019, an inconclusive report was delivered which revealed that the Senate committee had failed to agree on a way forward.

The Australian Greens made 32 recommendations focusing on a significant increase in Commonwealth involvement. These recommendations included making a complete inventory of mine sites, providing more research funding, creating enforceable targets, legal changes and the formation of a national management body. Reforms are now underway at a state level.

Find out more about mine rehabilitation in Australia in our FREE guide.

FAQ:

Who regulates mine rehabilitation in each state?

Queensland - Department of Environment and Science
Western Australia - Department of Mines and Petroleum
New South Wales - Department of Planning and Environment
South Australia - Department of Energy and Mining
Northern Territory - Department of Primary Industry and Resources
Victoria - Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
Tasmania - Environmental Protection Authority & Department of State Growth

What are the mining rehabilitation reforms in NSW?

Several reforms were proposed in February 2018, including: A policy framework to assess final mining voids, where voids will not be considered in new major projects unless it minimises environmental, community and visual impacts and cannot be feasibly removed Requirements for new major projects to consult with the community and provide information on mine design options early in the planning process.

What are the mining rehabilitation reforms in VIC?

A new bill was introduced in August 2018 to establish a new authority to manage mine closure and rehabilitation across Victoria. These recommendations included: Marking out the rehabilitation, closure and post-closure requirements for certain mines Establishing clear responsibility for the post-closure management of rehabilitated mine land Establishing a Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority to oversee mine rehabilitation and post-closure management

What are the mining rehabilitation reforms in QLD?

On the 14 November 2018, the Queensland Parliament saw the passing of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) (MERFP) Act 2018. This reform package is aimed at improving rehabilitation (rehab) and financial assurance outcomes for the sector that aims to deliver: Improved environmental performance Rehabilitation investment in the Queensland resources industry Better protection of the State’s financial interests

 

Useful links:

Don’t miss another update!