Mining can be a high risk game, as where companies like Ellendale Diamonds and Cockatoo Island’s iron ore mines go bust, leaving the environmental cleanup for others.
With an estimated number of 18,000 abandoned mine sites in Western Australia, the state government has switched from a bond system to its new Mine Rehabilitation Fund.
The MRF aims to ease mining companies’ startup costs, encourage ongoing environmental management, and help finance legacy site restoration. Mining companies have appreciated getting their $1.2 billion of bonds back, but will the scheme make it too easy for companies to walk away from unprofitable mines, and their environmental obligations?
Understorey speaks to Dr Marnie Leybourne, director, operations, at the Department of Mines & Petroleum about how the new system has been settling in.
(Photo: Cockatoo Island, by WG Hiley)