The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety's (DMIRS) Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) is a pooled fund to which Western Australian mining operators contribute. The Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012, which provides the framework for the fund, was enacted in 2012.
All tenement holders operating on Mining Act 1978 (Mining Act) tenure (with the exception of tenements covered by State Agreements not listed in the regulations), are required to report disturbance data and contribute annually to the fund. Tenements with a rehabilitation liability estimate (RLE) at or below a threshold of $50,000 must report disturbance data but are not required to pay into the fund.
Money in the fund is available to rehabilitate abandoned mines across the State in circumstances where the tenement holder/operator has failed to meet rehabilitation obligations and efforts to recover funds from the holder/operator have been unsuccessful.
Interest earned on fund contributions is used to fund the administration of the MRF and to undertake rehabilitation work on legacy abandoned mine sites throughout the State.
As the MRF is a special purpose account under the Financial Management Act 2006, funds must be spent in accordance with the purposes set out in the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012. The balance of the Fund and levy contribution rate are monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure that the fund is appropriately managed to meet current and emerging rehabilitation liabilities, as well as administrative costs.
The introduction of the MRF does not absolve tenement holders/operators of their legal obligation to carry out rehabilitation works on a tenement. The MRF Act allows for monies owed for rehabilitation work on abandoned sites to be recovered through the Courts from those responsible.
The fund enhances the State's capacity to manage and rehabilitate abandoned mines, leading to better environmental and community safety outcomes.
The short video provides an overview of the background, implementation and positive results of the MRF.
The Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012 provides for:
- the establishment of the MRF
- the declaration of abandoned mine sites
- a levy payable in respect of mining authorisations
- other related matters.
The Mining Rehabilitation Fund Regulations 2013 deal with matters relating to the practical operation of the MRF Act. Most importantly, these regulations:
- specify how the mining rehabilitation levy is calculated. This includes listing the categories of land disturbance on which the levy is assessed and the unit rates per hectare on which the levy is based.
- deal with administrative matters about reporting and assessment, including the due date for reporting;
- list the matters that the Mining Rehabilitation Advisory Panel can advise upon and set out requirements about the membership and procedure of the Panel; and
- provide for infringement notices to be issued for late assessment information.
MRF Data Release
The MRF data is published on DMIRS's website annually. Released data, which shows ground disturbance as reported by the tenement holder, can be found in the 'MRF documents' section of this webpage.
On 30 June 2018, there were more than 19,000 mining tenements across the State and more than 22,000 tenement holders. As a requirement of the MRF, all tenement holders are required to provide DMIRS with accurate information of the types and areas of ground disturbance for each tenement. This data is used to calculate the annual mining rehabilitation levy.
This data allows DMIRS to understand the type and extent of ground disturbance on Mining Act tenure across the State. It builds on the information collected and monitored by DMIRS when it approves and monitors a project.
The released MRF data is available to the public to filter and search by region, type of disturbance and type of lease. It can be used to gain a detailed picture of mining and exploration activities in a particular area, including the scale of disturbance on tenements that may be the subject of a potential purchase.
Before using the data, please ensure that you refer to the ‘Notes’ sheet contained in each Data Release spreadsheet so that you understand how the data is represented.
DMIRS undertakes audits each year on the data provided by tenement holders to ensure that it provides an accurate representation of the disturbance on tenements.
If you have any queries regarding the data, please email the MRF team.
Rehabilitation Liability Estimate Calculator
The Rehabilitation Liability Estimate (RLE) Calculator assists tenement holders to estimate their rehabilitation liability and the associated MRF levy under a variety of scenarios. The calculator also demonstrates how to reduce the levy through progressive rehabilitation of disturbances on the tenement.
The calculator provides a liability estimate based on the level and type of disturbance and the amount of rehabilitation that has been conducted on a tenement. It allows tenement holders to enter individual activity types, for example roads or tailings storage facilities, or combine multiple activities into a single 'Mine Activity Type' and can assist tenement holders to gauge the potential impact that future rehabilitation work, or expanded operations, may have on the levy calculation. Please be aware that the RLE itself serves only as the basis for calculating the levy and is not intended to represent an estimate of the real cost of rehabilitating any particular site.
Tenement holders who use the calculator must still submit their annual MRF disturbance report, as this is not connected to the MRF reporting system. The estimate is intended to be indicative only and the reliability of its results depends on the accuracy of the disturbance information entered.
The drafting of the amendments to the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Regulations 2013 (WA) is underway.
The amendments will provide additional categories for the unique features of minerals in brine operations and will also define ‘earthworks’ to avoid any inconsistent interpretation of the term.
MRF awarded the Premier's Awards 2015
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett recognised the MRF project for its contribution to economic development within the State by announcing it as a joint winner of the 2015 Western Australia Premier’s Award.
The MRF received the award for excellence in public sector management in the ‘Developing the Economy’ category.
This award recognises projects which stimulate the economy of Western Australia and DMIRS, formerly the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) were awarded as a joint winner in this category along with the Pilbara Ports Authority.
Phone: +61 8 9222 3162
Phone: +61 8 9222 6102
Follow the link to view the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act proclamation.
Follow the link to view the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Regulations 2013
Follow the link to view the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012