New research quantifies, for the first time ever, the size of coal mine pits or ‘final voids’ which will remain unfilled in NSW once the coal mining boom ends, which combined form an area greater than Sydney Harbour, with at least 45 voids planned or approved for the state, comprising 6,050 hectares.
Key environment groups are calling on the NSW government to require mining companies backfill the voids and properly rehabilitate land, a policy that has existed in the United States since the 1970s.
The research report, “The Hole Truth: the mess coal companies plan to leave in NSW”
- assesses the toxic legacy of final voids for water, the environment and public safety.
- examines the rationale used by mining companies to justify leaving the voids unfilled.
- explores the failure of the NSW government to properly regulate rehabilitation.
Lock the Gate and the Hunter Central Rivers Alliance have produced a short policy brief with recommendations for the NSW government, to accompany the report. The report was commissioned by the Hunter Communities Network and written by Energy & Resource Insights.
Currently there are some 50,000 abandoned mines across the country. The companies have simply walked away and left the sites un-rehabilitated. Some of the mines that have been abandoned are huge and the cost of repairing the land and water resources will run into billions of dollars.
Currently the NSW and Queensland Governments are approving the most enormous coal mines Australia has ever seen.
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