Rehabilitating Former Mining Land Produces Better Environmental Outcomes

Rehabilitating Former Mining Land Produces Better Environmental Outcomes

Queensland Minister for Environment Steven Miles

Mine Rehabilitation Case Study Shows The Way Forward

Victor P Taffa

A resource company case study project to rehabilitate former mining land shows that better environmental outcomes can be achieved, Environment Minister Steven Miles said today. 

“Glencore Australia is progressively rehabilitating its Newlands coal mine in central Queensland.” Mr. Miles said.

“So far 73 ha of land at the mine have met the environmental regulator’s ‘progressive rehabilitation’ expectations.”

“Without rehabilitation, land can be permanently alienated from a future economic use, and in some instances, may cause pollution to the environment.”

“Land Glencore has rehabilitated is considered safe, stable and self-sustaining; which are the overarching goals for rehabilitated mining land.” Mr. Miles said.

Glencore Coal’s Queensland Environment & Community Manager, Pieter Swart said the rehabilitation was an important step for Glencore and the wider industry.

“We maintain a very strong focus on progressive rehabilitation across all our coal mining operations, with each site required to achieve annual targets that go beyond regulatory requirements.” Mr. Swart said.

“In the past 5 years (2012-2016), 53 % of land disturbed by Glencore’s coal operations in Queensland over that period has been rehabilitated, with a 2017 target to rehabilitate more land than our mines will disturb.”

Mr. Miles said the land and its certification was part of a Rehabilitation Case Studies project managed by the Environment Department in collaboration with the Queensland Resources Council, and is supported by Glencore and other participating resource companies.

“Case study project aims to increase the uptake of rehabilitation certification by resource companies and improve environmental outcomes when mining operations cease and mines are closed.” Mr. Miles said.

“Glencore’s progressive rehabilitation certification is a welcome milestone. I look forward to other mining companies following suit and applying to EHP for certification of successful rehabilitation.”

Environment Minister Miles said Glencore’s certification was the third area to be certified since 2006, when the progressive rehabilitation framework was introduced to the Environment Protection Act 1994.

“There are now 631 ha of certified progressively rehabilitated mining land in Queensland.” Mr. Miles said.

“In 2012, 507 ha of the Kestrel coal mine operated by Rio Tinto was certified while in 2015 51.5 ha of Great Northern Mining’s sapphire mine was also certified.”

“Ongoing progressive rehabilitation is an important tool in reducing the risk of adverse environmental impacts.” Mr. Miles said.