Tasmania’s Resources Minister Bryan Green said mining activity has contaminated about 40 Tasmanian rivers.
Green told a committee at a budget estimates’ hearing its government has brought in stricter environmental laws for new and current mines.
“We’ve got a fund, not a huge amount, that allows us to mitigate when we can,” he said.
“We admit that there is a large task to undertake. New mines have a far more stringent arrangement in place with respect to dealing with the sign-off from the EPA, but yes there is a legacy issue in Tasmania.”
The Greens asked the Government about its strategy to rehabilitate mine sites. They also want the Government to deal with severe contamination of rivers and streams, according to the ABC.
Greens MP Paul O’Halloran believes there are economic benefits to be gained from rehabilitation of old mine sites.
An example of this was the Bright Phase Resources proposition to reprocess tailings at Luina on the west coast.
“Acid mine drainage into the Whyte River at Luina has created a massive dead zone, and by using the right mining and processing technology it is possible to clean up the mess and deliver an economic return.”
The Greens were recently allocated $100,000 in the Tasmanian state budget to undertake a feasibility study into establishing a mine remediation and innovation centre of excellence.
The party said the ‘cargo-cult’ approach was not working and emphasised its support for a long-term and efficient mining industry in the state.
Kevin Bonham from the University of Tasmania recently told Australian Mining the Greens seem ‘keen to market themselves as not completely opposed to the resource industries’.
“The Greens are often keen to combat the label that they are anti-everything or perceptions that they are too hardline,” he said.