Australia Institute report on mine rehabilitation is deeply flawed and poorly researched

February 22, 2017



A report from The Australia Institute examining mine rehabilitation by NSW mining companies has been heavily criticised as deeply flawed and poorly researched, with a number of inaccurate claims levelled against the mining industry. The report, featured on ABC’s Lateline, claimed the NSW public stands to incur billions of dollars in rehabilitation costs and that there was a lack of reliable data on rehabilitated sites in NSW.
 
The NSW government refuted the Australia Institute claims by stating that rehabilitation bonds and strict regulations gave it a high degree of confidence that taxpayers would not be lumped with clean-up costs. Further, government was also investigating ways it can better show the public and industry how rehabilitation of historical derelict mine sites was progressing.
 
NSW Department of Industry’s environmental sustainability director, David Blackmore addressed the report’s criticism that a lack of information was available from the government on the number of rehabilitated sites by explaining that rehabilitation of mines occurred at varying stages at each site and that mines were not put in a ‘full rehabilitation state’ until a final decision was made by government. Mr Blackmore also advised that partial rehabilitation could be occurring at one part of a site while mining continued on another, for example, which made the kind of categorisation attempted by The Australia Institute difficult.
 
NSW Minerals Council hit back at the report stating that the industry was proud of its track record on rehabilitation, with every mine operation in NSW required to outline their rehabilitation plans and progress, which are regularly updated and published as part of their Mining Operation Plans on company websites.
 
 
“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.”

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