Western Australia puts up new standards for mine rehabilitation

Image: Alcoa

Western Australia has introduced a guidance to help deliver better rehabilitation of mine sites that received funding support from the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto and South32.

The guidance outlines environmental criteria that mine operators can use to measure and determine the success of their rehabilitation efforts.

The report pointed to several areas of improvement for the sector, demanding that investment in financial and staff resources for rehabilitation and closure must not only be sufficient towards the end of a mine’s life, but right from the start.

Mining companies are also encouraged to invest in improving science-based knowledge of what are achievable rehabilitations standards in Western Australia.

This is the first government and industry collaboration on mine closure criteria, which saw the involvement of industry representatives from Alcoa, Independence Group, Iluka Resources and Roy Hill, as well as Australia’s leading universities.

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

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

The criteria cover all stages of mining such as environmental assessment, construction, operations, decommissioning and post-closure monitoring and maintenance.

While the guidance primarily targets the resources sector, it can be used by other industries when undertaking ecological restoration, according to the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.