The Abandoned Mines Program uses funds generated through the Mining Rehabilitation Fund to rehabilitate abandoned mines in Western Australia.
About the program
Extensive mining has occurred in Western Australia since the mid-1800s resulting in thousands of abandoned mine features across the State, such as shafts, costeans, large pit voids and waste rock landforms.
The Abandoned Mines Program was initiated following the enactment of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012 (MRF Act), which provides a source of funding to address abandoned mine features in WA. The Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) in part replaced the Unconditional Performance Bond system with an annual industry levy that encourages progressive rehabilitation during mining operations and provides funds to rehabilitate abandoned mine features across the State.
Money in the principal fund can be used to rehabilitate abandoned mine sites where tenement holders, who have contributed to the fund, fail to meet their rehabilitation obligations. Interest generated from the fund can be spent on administration of the MRF and the rehabilitation of historically abandoned mine sites that existed prior to the introduction of the MRF Act.
The Abandoned Mines Program is guided by the Abandoned Mines Policy released in January 2016, which provides an overarching framework for the prioritisation and subsequent rehabilitation and/or management of abandoned mine sites. The policy requires that sites are prioritised with consideration to significant risks to the community and the environment, and that the potential value associated with a site is identified and protected.
Stakeholder engagement is a key aspect of the program and stakeholder input is sought for each project to ensure concerns and expectations are identified and addressed.
The Mining Rehabilitation Advisory Panel (MRAP) provides expert and independent advice on project development and expenditure.
The Abandoned Mines Program has developed a Strategic Plan to lay the foundation towards achieving the overarching vision ‘To be the leading practitioner in the management of abandoned mine features’. The plan identifies the key initiatives that will support the program’s execution providing for an outcomes-based and adaptive approach to the management of abandoned mine features.
Strategic thinking and outcome-based objectives combined with the implementation of the project planning framework will enable Abandoned Mines Program projects to deliver long-term sustainable outcomes.
Report an abandoned mine
Search for records of abandoned mines
Searches of known abandoned mine features in Western Australia can be undertaken by selecting the ‘Abandoned Mine Features’ menu item in the publicly available Mines and Mineral Deposits (MINEDEX) database. The location of known abandoned mine features can also be accessed via GeoVIEW.WA or TENGRAPH by selecting the ‘Abandoned Mine Inventory’ map layer. A spatial dataset of the Abandoned Mines Inventory is also available for download from the Data and Software Centre.
Access historic mine plans
Access to historical mine plans can be requested through the DMIRS Safety Regulation Group for a complete history of mine activity that has occurred on a tenement.
Inventory of abandoned mines 1999–2011
The Abandoned Mines Program extends the work previously undertaken by the department's Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA), which commenced development of an inventory of abandoned mine site features in 1999 and published the report Inventory of Abandoned Mine Sites Progress 1999–2011.
Report an abandoned mine
The department encourages industry and the community to report abandoned mine features. Information provided will assist the department to identify risks and prioritise programs in line with the Abandoned Mines Policy.