Feedback sought on draft Abandoned Mines Policy

New policy establishes framework for rehabilitating legacy sites.
Date: Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Public consultation period closes 11 September. 

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) is seeking feedback on a draft Abandoned Mines Policy, which will support decisions about prioritising, managing and rehabilitating Western Australia's abandoned mine sites.

DMP Executive Director Environment Dr Phil Gorey said that since the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) was introduced in 2014, the State now has a dedicated fund available to address the problems posed by abandoned mines.

"As the value of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund grows, it is important to have a robust framework in place to support decisions regarding the State's many legacy sites," Dr Gorey said.

The MRF replaced the system of Unconditional Performance Bonds that were previously required from mining and exploration companies prior to any work commencing.

The bonds were held by the State as security and could be used to rehabilitate a mine site in the event that rehabilitation was unable to be undertaken by the operator.

"The bonds system wasn't introduced in Western Australia until the 1980s and as a result of more than a century of mining activity prior to its introduction, there are many legacy abandoned mine sites across the State," Dr Gorey said.

"Prior to the MRF the State had no funding source available to rehabilitate legacy sites.

"This new policy establishes a framework that will ensure MRF funds are allocated and prioritised to deliver the best outcomes for Western Australia, taking account of environmental, safety and heritage concerns."

The draft Abandoned Mines Policy is available on the DMP website. Feedback can be made using an online survey which can also be found on the website.

The eight week public consultation period for feedback on the draft policy closes on 11 September.