It’s becoming more and more obvious that mining rehabilitation bonds are simply not adequate to cover the costs of rehabilitating land.
Mining can cause massive damage to fragile parts of our environment. Toxic pollution in the water risks leeching into the soil. The abandoned Texas Silver Mine is at ongoing risk of discharging poisonous heavy metals into the Murray-Darling river system. In the NT, Glencore’s MacArthur River mine has no plan at all for dealing with radioactive waste rock.
Mines can also harm human health. A Victorian government inquiry found that breathing air pollution from the Hazelwood Mine Fire caused serious illness and deaths in residents of the Latrobe Valley. Special medical clinics and research are now costing the Victorian community tens of millions of dollars.
It will take a Senate inquiry into mining and resource rehabilitation to get the answers we need to questions like these:
- How are rehabilitation costs are calculated?
- Are current laws really working?
- Can companies be trusted to pay the bonds they’ve committed to?
- Does rehabilitation really protect our health and environment?
- What are the true impacts of poor rehabilitation on our environment and our health?
- What benefits, including job creation and a healthier environment, might flow if we get mine rehabilitation right?