Derelict mines summit shines spotlight on rehabilitation

The first international summit on derelict mines – Dealing with Derelict Mines – was held in Singleton NSW last week, with delegates exploring the best practice for rehabilitation.

The forum was organised by the University of Newcastle’s Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE) program and featured talks from academics, regulators and industry members on issues ranging from abandoned mine land management to sustainable mine rehabilitation, The Singleton Argus reports.

One of the major topics was the importance of planning rehabilitation before commencing mine operations. Mining environmental engineers said the best outcomes for remediation occurred when mine closure plans were outlined at the same time as operational plans.

CRC CARE managing director Professor Ravi Naidu said derelict mines – which he referred to as legacy sites – were a global problem.

“We have to focus on rehabilitation and remediation of these sites and realise they can never be taken back to their original state,” he said.

He also emphasised the importance of assessing the risks the derelict sites present to nearby residents and the environment.

“We have to find end uses for these sites that are acceptable to the local communities where they exist,” he said.

Naidu added that he would like to see the University of Newcastle become a global hub for mine closure knowledge.

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