Australia Institute claims on rehabilitation system in NSW

February 16, 2017



The Australia Institute is well known for repeatedly issuing flimsy reports about mining that contain false claims, errors and flawed analysis, and their latest effort is no different.
 
The NSW mining industry is proud of its track record on rehabilitation. We have some of the most stringent rehabilitation regulation in the world and there are many examples of excellent rehabilitation across the State. 
 
There are strict requirements for mine sites to be rehabilitated to a sustainable condition and all mines in NSW are required to lodge substantial rehabilitation security deposits that aren’t returned until the regulators are satisfied that those conditions are met. 
 
The security deposit covers the full rehabilitation costs to ensure that the taxpayer does not incur financial liabilities in the event of a proponent defaulting on their rehabilitation obligations. Currently there is around $2 billion held as rehabilitation security bonds for this purpose. The NSW Auditor-General is currently undertaking a review of the mine rehabilitation security system in NSW and is expected to table a report in Parliament by July 2017. Our industry has fully participated in this process.
 
Modern mine planning and approvals now require operations to progressively rehabilitate their sites and minimise the impact of any final voids.
 
Every mining operation in NSW is required to regularly update and publish its rehabilitation progress and plans as part of its Mining Operations Plan or Rehabilitation Management Plan.  
 
Some large mines in NSW have been operating for 20 years or more and were approved at a time when attitudes and regulation regarding issues like final voids were different. Our industry is working closely with local communities to plan for possible uses for these final voids once these operations cease well into the future. 
 
Derelict mines, sometimes called abandoned mines, are a legacy from historical operators before modern mining practices and environmental management and mine rehabilitation regulations were in place as they are today. The NSW Government’s Derelict Mines Program improves derelict mines to reduce these safety and environmental risks. The program is fully funded by mines operating in NSW. 

Contact: Brad Emery | bemery@nswmining.com.au | 0450 620 254 | 02 9274 1400

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