The comments by the Queensland Resources Council in today’s Courier Mail show the industry is still unwilling to pay its fair share for mining rehabilitation, potentially leaving taxpayers to pay the cost for the associated environmental clean-up costs.
“The downturn in the mining industry and its track record with clean-up and rehabilitation means the Queensland Government’s Chain of Responsibilities reforms are a vital protection for communities, their water and their environment,” Mr Humphries said.
“Minister Miles should be commended for taking this step to close a loophole whereby miners and mineral processes can use legally complex company structures to avoid fulfilling their clean-up and rehabilitation obligations.
“There are more than 15,000 abandoned mines in Queensland, including the Texas Silver Mine and Queensland Nickel. The list continues to grow and with the downturn in coal specifically there are warning signs more companies will go under and walk away.
“Linc Energy look set to go into liquidation very soon, which would mean that the costs of dealing with far-reaching damage and contamination from their underground coal gasification project at Hopeland will fall on landholders and taxpayers, unless Chain of Responsibility provisions are utilised.
“This is not a time for the Queensland Government to be bullied by the mining industry. It’s not fair for taxpayer funds to be used on meeting rehabilitation commitments that are the responsibility of the industry when these much-needed funds could be better spent on schools and hospitals.
“The QRC would be better off ensuring their member companies lift their game and deliver world’s best practice mine rehabilitation rather than defending the practice of mining companies defaulting on their clean-up responsibilities.
“The Chain of Responsibility provisions only come into play when companies have not done the right thing and applies to companies who default on their responsibilities and/or go into bankruptcy.
“The QRC’s comments appear to be defending those operators who are actively avoiding their mine rehabilitation responsibilities. The Chain of Responsibility amendments don’t change anything for responsible operators and investors” he said.