The Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the far-reaching reforms to mine rehabilitation announced by the Queensland Government today, but said that their effectiveness would hinge on the fine details and implementation over the next 12 months.
“We strongly congratulate the Queensland Government on moving to reform the rehabilitation system with this package, but the ultimate success of the program will hinge on implementation” said Lock the Gate Mine Rehabilitation Reform campaigner Rick Humphries.
“These reforms, if implemented well, are an opportunity to deliver thousands of jobs in regional Queensland in mine rehabilitation and put an end to harmful environmental legacies.
“The announcement today opens up an historic opportunity to deliver better outcomes for Queensland by making sure mining corporations clean up their own mess and ensuring taxpayers don’t end up footing the bill.
“The long-term failure to properly control mine rehabilitation in Queensland in the past has resulted in a legacy of 15,000 abandoned mines across the state, leading to polluted waterways and damaged landscapes.
“One of the key questions with this reform package relates to how the redesigned financial assurance framework would work, and whether it will ensure that the liability lands squarely on the mining industry, not on Queensland taxpayers.
“We’re calling for the government to ensure that key stakeholders and affected regional communities are given plenty of opportunities to contribute directly to the final outcomes” he said.
According to the government announcement today, the reforms will include:
- A redesigned financial assurance framework tailored to operators based on their size and level of risk
- Pooling financial assurance from mining companies into an interest-earning multi-million dollar rehabilitation fund
- More funds to rehabilitate abandoned mines
- Measures to ensure mined land is rehabilitated progressively rather than toward the end of a mine’s life
- Better planning for rehabilitation and regular monitoring and reporting
- More realistic calculation of rehab costs and a phase out of discounts on financial assurances for miners.