Western Australia releases standards for mine rehabilitation

Image: Alcoa

Western Australia has introduced a guide for mine site rehabilitation that was backed by funding from mining companies such as BHP, Rio Tinto and Roy Hill.

The guidance outlines agreed environmental standards that indicate the success of rehabilitation.

“While considerable progress has been made in mine closure and rehabilitation planning in Western Australia (last year), there remains a need to build capacity and understanding of how to best measure rehabilitation success and to set practical outcomes and measurable completion criteria,” the report stated.

Mining companies are also advised to prepare sufficient investment in financial and staff resources for rehabilitation and closure right from the start, instead of just towards the end of a mine’s lifetime, according to the report.

“Effective mine closure is critical to ensure the long-term environmental sustainability of the industry,” WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said.

“(The guideline) provides industry with greater clarity and consistency in the development of mine closure plans across different locations and commodities.”

The project, which was developed by the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, also received funding from Iluka Resources, South32, Independence Group, the Western Australian Government and Australia’s leading universities.

The work is the first in Australia to be produced by government agencies, science experts and industry representatives.

“Working together with industry to improve regulation and regulatory practice is a key part of the McGowan Government’s Streamline WA initiative,” Johnston concluded.

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