The Alpha Coal project test pit in June. The State Government has unveiled its development strategy for the new coal province.
The Alpha Coal project test pit in June. The State Government has unveiled its development strategy for the new coal province. Contributed

Environmentalists complain old mines not fixed up

ENVIRONMENTALISTS say mining companies are dodging their responsibilities when it comes to rehabilitating old mines.

An Environmental Justice Australia report outlines half a dozen things coal mining companies do to "avoid, minimise or delay" fixing the massive holes they leave behind.

EJA spokesman David Barnden said these "tricks" included mothballing mines so they never "officially" closed and running mines at a loss so governments ended up footing rehab bills.

"Coalminers in New South Wales and Queensland are obliged to clean up mines and arrange bank guarantees in case they go bankrupt," he said.

"However, companies take advantage of loopholes to delay cleaning up."

Queensland Resources Council acting chief executive Greg Lane said the industry was aware of its obligations.

"The industry more than recognises the importance of rehabilitation that meets community expectations, and that financial assurance should never be needed to be called in," he said.

"Queensland's environment laws are such that a series of escalating compliance measures would be enforced before financial assurance would even be considered."

The Minerals Council of Australia did not respond to ARM Newsdesk's request for comment.



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