Mine rehab outlined
The Australia Institute says over 60,000 mines have been abandoned across Australia, and there is no solid plan on what to do with them.
A report released to the media allegedly raises some big concerns about land rehabilitation after the mining boom.
The research found there is a lack of reliable statistics on Australia’s empty mines, and that a minority of them have been fully rehabilitated.
Reports say that state government agencies could barely come up with examples of full mine rehabilitation and relinquishment.
Queensland authorities could not find any that had been completely restored, the figures was listed as ‘unknown’ by the WA government, NSW had one, South Australia found 18, zero in the Northern Territory, one in Victoria and one in Tasmania.
The researchers say Australia’s abandoned mines date back to the Gold Rush era, but that their 60,000 figure includes thousands of mine “features” like tailings dams and old mine shafts.
The Australia Institute has told ABC reporters that it is hard to find statistics even for the number of operating mines, which it estimates as between 460 and 2,944.
The Institute said data on mines that had suspended operations or were undergoing rehabilitation was even harder to find.
“What is certain is [mine abandonment] is not a practice limited to distant history,” the report allegedly states.
“As the owners of the largest mines come under financial pressure, close attention needs to be paid to the ongoing phenomenon of mine abandonment in Australia.”
The report comes just a day after the Senate announced an inquiry into mining land rehabilitation.