DMP unveils Abandoned Mine Policy

New policy establishes framework for rehabilitating abandoned mine sites.
Date: Friday, 15 January 2016

A robust framework for managing and rehabilitating Western Australia’s abandoned mine sites has been published by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).

Since 2010 the department has been implementing a number of significant environmental reforms relating to mine closures across the State.

This has included the creation of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF), a dedicated fund used to address the problems posed by abandoned mines, and improvements to the planning arrangements around mine closures.

Executive Director Environment Dr Phil Gorey said the release of DMP’s new Abandoned Mines Policy represented another important milestone towards reforming DMP’s regulatory and policy frameworks for mine closure.

“It is important that there is a robust policy and project framework in place to support any decisions regarding the prioritisation, management and rehabilitation of the State’s abandoned mine sites,” Dr Gorey said.

“DMP’s new Abandoned Mines Policy will ensure decisions are undertaken in a strategic manner that balances the risks, costs, benefit to the environment and the community and the potential value of a site that could be realised”.

“It will also be supported by a number of other initiatives the department will be developing over the coming months to create further efficient, sustainable and innovative solutions to the problems posed by abandoned mines.”

DMP’s new Abandoned Mines Policy was created following extensive consultation and feedback from a broad cross-section of interested parties.

A Response to Submissions document outlining the comments received has also been published and is available to view on the department’s website.

“The reality is that it is neither practical nor desirable to rehabilitate all abandoned mine sites across the State,” Dr Gorey said.

“However, this new innovative and whole-of-government approach will ensure that MRF funds are allocated and prioritised on abandoned mines sites that will deliver the best outcomes for Western Australia.”