Western Australia's Government has announced it will create a new fund to replace the current environmental bond system for mine rehabilitation.
Dubbed the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF), it will now require operators to make annual contributions based on a percentage of their total closure liabilities, all of which will go into a single-pooled government run fund.
WA mines and petroleum minister Norman Moore stated that the government acknowledged that the current bond system needed a revamp to ensure enough funding is available for site rehabilitation if miners failed to meet their environmental and remediation obligations.
“I am confident the proposed fund will provide a more flexible and cost effective system for industry, while meeting public expectations for higher standards of rehabilitation and mine closure,” Moore said.
The bonds will reportedly only be retained for high risk operations.
“The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has conducted extensive consultation and research to establish the new fidelity fund which will substantially reduce costs for tax payers and also provide some opportunity to address some historical legacy sites,” he said.
Currently the WA DMPis working towards the rehabilitation of the former Black Diamond coal mine near Collie.
The bill was introduced into state parliament yesterday, and is part of the DMP's Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program.
"The RER program will help deliver greater certainty, confidence and clarity surrounding the environmental regulatory system and strengthen the enforcement capacity of the department," Moore said.
"As part of the reform process a Ministerial Advisory Panel was established, which will be chaired by former State Government Environment Minister Cheryl Edwardes and is made up of representatives from industry, government agencies and non-government organisations. Four working groups will report to the panel."
Queensland took a different tack yesterday, announcing a bill designed to cut greentape and remove some of the double or triple reporting required under current mining and environmental regulations.