Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek coal mine. Image: Rio Tinto.
BY CAMERON DRUMMOND
THE QUEENSLAND Government has proposed changes would make sure large mines across the State are properly rehabilitated, protecting the environment and creating more jobs in the resource services industry.
Speaking during a visit to Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek coal mine, south-west of Mackay, QLD environment minister Steven Miles said the changes to financial assurance and rehabilitation would apply to new and existing mine operations.
“These next generation laws will ensure taxpayers are no longer left to foot the bill for failed mines or stranded assets,” Mr Miles said.
“For the first time mines will be expected to progressively rehabilitate as land becomes available for rehab, and their performance will be audited and publicly reported.
“Their financial assurance will also accurately reflect the cost to rehabilitate the amount of disturbance caused.
“The government is responding to recommendations from the financial assurance review and has released a discussion paper for public comment.
“This policy will apply to all new mines and also be progressively applied to large operating mines, such as Hail Creek, to ensure there is a level playing field.
“State-wide there seems to be a growing gap between disturbed land and rehabilitation.
“We need to reverse this trend in order to better protect our communities and our environment.”
The State Government said public comments on the Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland discussion paper would be open until 15 June.