Legacy Mines

In Australia, legacy or abandoned mines are broadly defined as: ‘mines where mining leases or titles no longer exist, and responsibility for rehabilitation cannot be allocated to any individual, company or organisation responsible for the original mining activities’.  The size and complexity of sites classified as legacy mines vary significantly, e.g. from an individual shaft to a significant underground or open cut mine and require varying degrees of resources to manage safety and environmental liabilities.

The Australian Government is working with state and territory governments to ensure best practice approaches to managing legacy mines, largely through the Land Access for Resources Working Group (LARWG) under the COAG Energy Council. This work includes a review of the 2010 Strategic Framework for Managing Abandoned Mines which was endorsed by the Resources Minister in 2010.

As part of this review, the LARWG held an “Abandoned Mines and Mine Rehabilitation Workshop” on 10 May 2016, to share lessons on best practice approaches to the dual issues of managing abandoned mines and mine rehabilitation. The Workshop included a range of stakeholders and experts on mine rehabilitation, and also considered international approaches, particularly Canada which has made significant advancements in the management of abandoned mines since the establishment of the National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative (NOAMI).

Building on the success of the Abandoned Mines and Mines Rehabilitation Workshop, LARWG has established a Legacy Mines Leading Practice (LeaP) subgroup comprised of key officials from each state and territory government.  The subgroup will meet for three (non-consecutive) facilitated workshops in 2016-2017 to compare and assess current practices; consider international approaches to the management of legacy mines; and review of leading practice approaches to data collection & management, risk assessment, site prioritisation and risk mitigation plans, in order to advance the implementation of these elements of the Strategic Framework for Managing Abandoned Mines and to enable reporting on these issues at a national level. The Workshops will also involve relevant stakeholders from industry, academia and community groups.

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For more information about the Multiple Land Use Framework email: LAWG@industry.gov.au

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