Australia has obtained much of it’s wealth, as have the early British and other investors from mining in Australia. The previous owners are long departed. The sizable legacy presents an opportunities to recover many of the sites and return them to useful or sustainable assets.
Research by Monash University engineers has uncovered more than 80,000 inactive and inactive mine sites that have the potential to be transformed into valuable assets for Australia’s future.
Notably rehabilitation of mine sites is an activity that can utilise many of the locally available resources. The work can have a high labour content. There are more than 26,000 inactive and old mine sites in NSW, and a further 18,000 in Victoria.
So lond as it does not involve the stupidity that occured in SEQ years ago when old mine shafts were used to dump toxic wastes.
Mount Morgan Mine in Qld is one of the four case study mines. I was on the Project Team that did the initial rehabilitation, for which we were awarded the Premier’s Award for Environment for that year. I always thought we got that under false pretences, as we simply dumped the contaminated material into the flooded open cut pit (for someone else to clean up in the future) and we wouldn’t know if we had been successful for 2 years - we weren’t - the river was just as acidic as before. Many other rehabilitation and water treatment projects followed, but it will take $billions to make it safe.
The flooded open cut is as acidic as battery acid, so that makes the Dept reluctant to open the Heritage site to the public because of the dangers. The cost to make it safe will far outweigh any visitor revenue. It also makes it difficult for companies wishing to re-process the tailings, slag heaps and spoil to extract gold missed by the 1800’s miners.
They cataloged the old mines and found some might be useful if rehabilitated. They uncovered that the mining industry has been a benefit to the economy but often left a mess behind and most sites are a liability not an asset.
I could have told you that much without getting out of bed. I could not have said where they all are and which might be useful.
Do they provide any information on what it might cost to rehab all the sites at least to the level where they are no longer causing environmental damage or risks to people? What are the ongoing costs due to the damage being caused by non rehabed mines? What might it cost to rehab the ‘good’ ones so that they become assets? What might be the return on such an investment?
This was hard rock mines so if you include coal there is much more to the story.
There always is.
State governments have policies and legislation in place for remediation of existing mining exploration and operational licenses. It was not intended to open debate in this topic re existing commitments.
‘Legacy’ mine sites are those that preceded current legislation and have no ownership or responsible entity for remediation. Each state has a response.
Governments and State and Commonwealth dedicate financial resources to many activities that provide no net financial gain (as a business), EG From sporting change rooms to national parks.
There are always choices. At present all levels of government are concerned with increasing short term economic activity - stimulus. There are opportunities to make better use of the surplus of labour resources. Sooner or later, better sooner the community will need to pay to fix up the mess rather than leave it for future generations. Although leaving it is convenient.
In response to @syncretic concerning the scale of the work and cost or benefits arising. Has anyone realistically put a figure on what is required? There is a cost to keep dangerous sites secure, there is a further cost to make sites environmentally safe and a final cost to complete restoration.
If I understand it correctly, there is also a problem with contemperanious mines in that there isn’t currently a requirement for them to deposit sufficient funds to rehabilitate as they work the mine. Only a relatively small deposit is required. Coming up with the majority of the rehabilitation costs is left until the life of the mine has expired. Unfortunately, many mines go bust and therefore there are no funds for rehabilitation, and no business to sue for recovery of funds which will eventually have to be spent to at least mitigate the dangers. This means that the taxpayers are left to pay.
I wonder if these deferred costs have ever been included in the cost/benefit exercises?
Doing it the hard way?
Ms Gilligan said buying Lees Road and restoring it to nature fitted with Venus Bay’s community values.
“The history of this land and its traditional owners is important to us and the future of this land is important to us because our future is in respectful ecotourism.”
It’s a community lead project. Land can have value other than for farming. Hope the cattle find a new home.
Environmental offsets can work in a number of ways.
A common expectation is that an environment that is sacrificed is replaced. Often with a larger area of land that is converted from agriculture or other use back to a natural environment. This results in a net increase over time of habitat and biodiversity.
An alternative is to permanently reserve an area with equivalent biodiversity. In which instance the total habitat and overall biodiversity decreases. The land lost to the environment is not replaced.
In both versions land holders are paid, either to set aside and rehabilitate or to preserve existing. It’s often an easy way for those with suitable land to make a living or return value.
As The Guardian has revealed, it is not always as we might expect.
The NSW Governments Is not without cause for concern.
Guardian Australia’s investigation revealed that a public reserve promised as an offset for the M7 in Sydney had still not been delivered some 15 years after the motorway opened for traffic.
How NSW values offsets.
Something in the yard must be appealing?
Really just an excuse for Mark to call off rehab activities this afternoon. The garden shed with all the tools is out of sight just to the left of frame.
Maybe these stoners have snacked on something just to the right of frame.
Sleeping it off.
What’s recorded at night on the wildlife cam stays on the cam.
We have plenty of space and connection to the state forest. The following may be of interest to those who are not so familiar with the social behaviours of the mob.
The sidebar to the above provides guides on what to expect of other wildlife that may be encountered around homes - QLD specific, but relevant elsewhere.